Police unfairly influence SS

DesperateDad
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:51 pm

Police unfairly influence SS

Postby DesperateDad » Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:15 pm

I’ll be as factual as I can as it’s a complicated situation (when isn’t it?), but essentially I need to know what I can to do re-establish the right to unsupervised contact and overnight stays. SS imposed a Working Together Agreement last year, lifted this recently, but now are implementing an even harsher one just because the police ‘complained’ to them because they were unhappy about the SS decision to drop the WTA, despite the fact that all this time (and pain) on, we have done nothing but adhere to the agreements whilst in place, there has been nothing but improvement in our situation, and there are no causes for concern – only the original case evidence.
I live with my partner in one authority – he has been convicted for possession of illegal images and is currently serving a suspended sentence, along with the weekly probation meetings, the VISOR contact/monitoring (and unannounced drop-ins) and he is about to start the counselling course required by his sentence.
I have a 2yr old child with a close friend (I was the donor but have been an active father ever since birth).
At the time of my partner’s arrest (August 2015), my child’s mother and I were obviously contacted and made aware formally of the situation (which he had disclosed previously to us), and restrictions were imposed on his contact with my child. We have always complied without fail.
In March 2017 I was arrested for the same offense (historical), and put on bail, and SS put in place a WTA for me, temporarily stopping me from unsupervised contact or overnight stays – which is a nightmare because I live quite a distance away and have weekly childcare (one/two days a week). By September 2017 the police stood down with no further action but made it clear that they had evidence from my equipment but were unable to charge me due to technical mistakes on their side.
It’s worth saying here that from the point of my partner’s arrest there have been many anomalies in the approach of the police, their treatment of us, and SS’s lack of response to us when seeking to establish paths forward. It’s also important to state that neither my partner nor I were aware of each other’s historic offenses although the police’s behaviour has very unfairly treated us as though there was some collusion. I suspect that this has something to do with their ‘mess up’ when confiscating all of our equipment in the first place and not logging things correctly, who knows?!
Anyway, I have been in counselling for two years, with a STOPSO counsellor on a weekly basis (which began prior to my arrest), and -despite the immense strain and upheaval, my friend and I have managed to maintain as much ‘normality’ for our child as possible, only disclosing the situation as necessary to a select number of friends and family (with all the emotional turmoil and confrontation that this causes too).
When my case was closed, the police in my authority told me that they would notify SS in my child’s authority (who presumably should have reviewed the situation at that point), but we continued to adhere to the WTA whilst trying unsuccessfully and repeatedly to make contact with them to review the situation.
When my partner has wanted to attend a family event or social gathering, he has first had to clear this with his probation officer/VISOR contact, who historically contacted my child’s authority SS. Sometimes they gave permission, other times they didn’t respond to the question (leaving his probation officer no option but to refuse him permission to attend), and sometimes SS denied permission for him to attend – it all depended entirely on whoever might have answered the telephone or responded to the e-mail, with no consistency or logic around the decisions.
In March 2018 I forced contact with SS to ask them to be consistent or to outline their criteria for decisions around his visits, and they acted surprised that his probation officers needed their permission at all, saying that it was now up to my child’s mother to decide (having had disclosure), and that they would notify his probation team that SS no longer needed to be involved in decisions around his contact, as long as he was working within his sentence, notifying his probation team/VISOR, and that my child’s mother was fully aware and had full disclosure – they spoke to her and it was agreed.
Our case was now closed, and the WTA ceased. This was amazing because it meant that my friend and I could now resume ‘normal’ shared parenting, my involvement was no longer hindered, meaning that I could take my child to visit my family, collect from nursery, stay overnight, babysit at weekends if Mum wanted to go out (at her house, and without my partner obviously) etc.
However, my partner’s VISOR officer made it clear (to my partner) that he was horrified that SS were allowing me unsupervised contact with my child, despite the fact that he was not the arresting officer in my case, has nothing to do with my case (only my partner’s), I had never met him (nor my partner’s probation officer), and despite the fact that my visits to my child (agreed by SS in an entirely different local authority) had nothing to do with him. In the meantime, my full, enhanced DBS had been restored to me also – I had to raise a dispute with DBS and police, who agreed to reinstate it?!
The VISOR officer complained to SS, who summoned me to a meeting, then met my toddler and Mum at their home, and said that they need to carry out new investigations, re-instate the original WTA conditions until they can make a new decision, contact my child’s GP, nursery etc (making further disclosure that we have worked so hard to avoid), and they tried to deny having ever lifted the original WTA, eventually saying it was a mistake on their part.
Last week, the social worker had a video conference with EIGHT professionals in my local authority, including my partner’s probation officer (nothing to do with me), his VISOR officer (nothing to do with me, but very unprofessionally vocal about his thoughts on me throughout the last 2.5yrs), and various other professionals. We knew the meeting was taking place because my partner had been told by his probation officer – the social worker was horrified to discover that we knew it was taking place, and WE are the parents!
Obviously, the social worker hadn’t been involved in my historic case (they have changed many times over the course of time, with some leaving, some temporary staff, each time wanting to re-acquaint themselves with the information they should already have, and re-open discussions). The social worker stated to my child’s mother that “if we find that there is no further action, no new offenses, then we are likely to be able to continue without a WTA and to put this behind us.” This made sense to us – after all, the arrest was for historic evidence dating back, the case was closed with no further action, my DBS had been restored, we had been allowed to resume normal contact, access, unsupervised visits, and there was no evidence to suggest that my child was unhappy, unwell, mistreated, abused, or exposed to any risk (which would have been easily gleaned from my child’s nursery, GP, observation, discussion with Mum, healthworker etc.)
However, during the heavy-handed meeting he had with the eight professionals, they provided him with their reasoning behind why I should NOT be allowed unsupervised access (i.e. details of the evidence they had previously had but couldn’t use for whatever reason, details of images, conversations etc.) He returned with a decision to re-instate the old WTA (possibly with even harsher conditions than the previous one), lasting until my child is TEN (another 8 years away!), with no unsupervised access, overnight visits, and therefore no ability for me to have ‘normal’ family holidays with my child, no babysitting, no opportunities to forge a one-to-one relationship with my child and be the father I had intended to be and have strived to be, and was given the full opportunity to do for the first year of my child’s life, and the last few months. We are horrified and terrified.
My child’s mother has an impossible task in front of her. She knows and believes me to be a great father to our child, posing no risk, and she fully believes that our child is much better off with my uninterrupted involvement as an active father and role-model. She was obviously horrified (at the point of my partner’s arrest and sentencing, and the details of my arrest), and could never condone the behaviour. However, her knowledge of me, our weekly contact and discussions around this, my ongoing counselling, and the way in which we have worked hard through this all mean that she has been an amazing source of support. We have both done our utmost to ensure that our child has so far been unaware of any of the stress and pressure we have been under, and we have been thrilled to be able to get on with life, aware of how fortunate we have been to have a second chance, and we have made leaps of progress.
Understandably, the visit this week and the re-visiting of historic details has re-opened the horror for her (and for me) and put afresh feelings of fear and concern in her mind. Whilst I understand the importance of disclosure in order to ensure a mother can make informed decisions around the safeguarding of her child, I cannot believe that it is healthy or helpful for SS/police to continually interfere unprompted because they are unhappy to know that a long way away there’s a family able to get on with life, disgruntled because the father is ‘the one who got away’.
The 8 people in the meeting were nothing to do with me, I have no probation officer to vouch for me (I wasn’t charged, had no trial with any pre-sentencing report of mitigating circumstances, and was not sentenced). There is nobody amongst the 8 people present (or anyone within the police) with any knowledge of me, my life over the last two years, my counselling, my progress, they have no contact with me, other than the contact they have with my partner and HIS case/sentence/conditions.
We feel so powerless to challenge the SS decision, which is not based upon any real assessment of me, my child’s mother, my child’s health and happiness or ongoing well-being. It is not based on their sensible prior decision to allow us to move on. It is based upon the intervention of police from another borough, providing the social worker with the horrors of historical evidence (that had already been available to previous social workers, and involved no contact offenses). The social worker also stated to my child’s mother that he had been categorically told during the video-conference that my partner & I had colluded or been involved together in our offenses, which is absolutely untrue, and has certainly never been raised with my partner during any of his probation meetings. It was never raised during the case (either case), although we can see various instances of unprofessional conduct by the police/probation over the course of the last 2.5yrs, such as discussing the details of my case with him during his meetings, voicing their views of me during his home-visits, inviting him in to my ‘stand down’ meeting at the police stations, so that they could tell me about the evidence on me that they could not use, in his presence. All very strange.
My child’s mum is now scared to fight on my behalf or to insist that she trusts me because the social worker has made it clear that she must demonstrate fear/mistrust if she herself is to be entrusted with my child’s wellbeing and safety. But if she does the opposite and agrees to state that she does not trust me (aside from being untrue) she provides them with the logical right to impose restrictions on me.
How can we possibly argue against whatever viewpoint SS want to take, when they are governed by the ongoing intervention of the police who do not know me. It seems that if I had been arrested, charged and sentenced all that time ago, then by now they may be looking to relax the WTA on my family because they would know me, know the counselling I have undergone, have access to evidence on me etc. Because there was no further action, I will never have the ability to demonstrate that we have moved on. In a year, two years, five years, ten years, they will never accept that I have suffered sufficiently, suffered an immense amount (if punishment is their aim), nor will they ever accept that I have made great strides to turn my life around (if rehabilitation is their concern). They are set in their minds, and we have no way of ensuring the best outcome for our child, i.e. the most ‘normal’ upbringing we can provide, with two parents who are responsible, adoring, intelligent, self-aware, fallible, remorseful (in my case), and close friends! How can someone put this behind them and move on with life in a healthy way for all concerned (which has to be the aim of the law and the system) if every couple of years the police are going to re-intervene with no prompting, in order to scupper what we have strived hard to build back up. I’m just waiting now to see what else they’re going to try to do to me, perhaps they’ll decide to find away to remove my DBS again and scupper any hope I have of work!
Please, any advice or help would be so greatly appreciated!!!

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2088
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Police unfairly influence SS

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:38 pm

Dear Desperate dad,

Welcome to the Parents Forum.
I can see that there have been various assessments and interventions by children services into your contact with your son. Currently, they have stated that you can only have supervised contact with your son and no over-night visits. Mum has been assessed as being protective enough to be the supervisor. Is there any type of plan (child in need or child protection) in place to monitor and support this arrangement? Or has the case been closed?

Because there were no criminal case pursued against you, it is likely that you have missed out on some of the support that might be offered to alleged sex offenders via this route. Such assessments and support can be used by children services in their assessments and may have resulted in your risk level being reduced.
However, you have been engaging with counselling. Was this taken into account by children services when they assessed you?

I think the most important thing you can do is to see what forensic assessments of you could be done and what support other support could you engage with, to reduce any risk you pose.
If you can, have a look at the Parents Protect website and speak to the Just stop it now helpline about your situation.
Have all the appropriate (specialist) assessments of you been completed or have children services only completed their own assessment and left your contact supervised?

I suggest you ask the social worker, in writing, to provide copies of any assessments completed of you.
You could also request a copy of your son’s file via the Data Protection Act process. See the information commissioner’s advice on how best to do this.

I just wanted to flag up with you about police involvement with assessments.
For there to be a criminal conviction the police would need to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that an offence had been committed.
However, children services have a different balance of proof. They only need to show that on the “balance of probabilities”, so 51% compared to 49%, that you might be a sexual risk to children. This is because of the vulnerability of children compared to adults. So there may be some adults who may be innocent but who have limits on their right to a full family life, in order to protect children against assessed risks.
So the key for you would be to reduce any risks that have been highlighted. The starting point is seeing what the assessments of you and mum say and what you can do to address the risks identified.

I hope this advice helps but if I have missed anything or you have further questions or need further advice, please post again or call our confidential advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes

Suzie

DesperateDad
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:51 pm

Re: Police unfairly influence SS

Postby DesperateDad » Thu May 03, 2018 12:54 pm

Hi Suzie,
Thanks for getting back to us. In response to your questions:
- There is currently only the Working Together Agreement in place (the original one which was dropped and then reinstated), so no CIN or CP plan (as of yet)
- The counselling I have engaged with has not been taken into account as far as I am aware, as they only know about it because I happened to mention it in our last meeting.
- I don't know what 'specialist' assessments of me could be completed, are you able to elaborate? All that has been done as far as I am aware are the assessments completed by CS, leaving my contact supervised.

I believe that the social worker has finally made contact with the mother this morning, saying that the original WTA is likely to remain in place (until the children are 10) but that he'll need to meet with her and me (individually) first, to get us to sign, and then 'close'....

Thanks
DD

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2088
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Police unfairly influence SS

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri May 11, 2018 11:43 am

Hi DD,

Mum is complying with children services request that you only have supervised contact. Mum is quite right to follow what children services says until there is a further assessment of you. If she didn’t and allowed you unsupervised contact, then there would be a real chance this would have been escalated to child protection level.

Your complaint is that you have been wrongly assessed as being dangerous to your son-that you might sexually abuse him. I questioned whether the social workers assessment of you was fair.
The social worker is saying this arrangement is to stay in place until your son is 10 years old.
How did he reach this decision?
In these circumstances, I would expect you to have a risk assessment by someone who specialises in internet offences and risk of sexual abuse.
Ask the social worker whether he is an expert in risk assessing alleged sex offenders?
Or, as I recommended in my last post, contact the Lucy Faithfull Foundation- Just Stop It Now helpline and ask about forensic risk assessments and support such as counselling that might be available to you and your family.
If you are not getting the right assessment and support as advised by Lucy Faithfull Foundation, ask the social worker why.
Ultimately you can challenge any decisions or failure to assess, by way of complaint. Here are tips for working with children services.

Let the social worker know about the counselling and other support you have completed and ask for copy of the social work assessment to see how you have been assessed. Also ask him to outline what you can do to reduce any risk you pose and for him to recommend any courses for you to do.

The other way to have your contact looked at, to see whether it is fair, is the private law route for a child arrangements order for contact.
The private law route would allow a judge to make a decision based on what is in the best interests of your son-looking at the welfare checklist. However, the judge would ask for a section 7 report which may be completed by children’s services. I expect the court would want a forensic risk assessment of you but who I am not sure who would pay for this as private law children act proceedings are not within FRG’s remit. You could contact Families Need Fathers or the Child Law advice line who should be able to help or seek advice from a solicitor.
I hope this advice helps.

Best wishes,

Suzie

DesperateDad
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:51 pm

Re: Police unfairly influence SS

Postby DesperateDad » Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:04 pm

Hi again,
Thank you for your previous replies. I'm afraid to say that things only seem to get worse. Despite the fact that we have complied all along - and for 9 weeks the mother and I agreed for me to not have any parental contact, the mother was literally threatened with escalation to CP and bullied into signing the Working Together Agreement that we felt was unfairly written...a day later she was told they were escalating it to CP anyway. This may have something to do with the fact that I lodged a complaint about the way in which information was being shared and the way in which we were being unfairly treated...
I had to battle to find out how to submit a report for the Initial CP Conference, and it was only the day before that social services said they had forwarded this on to the chair for circulation of those present. Ten minutes before the conference we were told that they hadn't shared the mother's report because she had not specifically asked them to do so, and that they had not shared mine because I made reference in it to MAPPA meetings and they feared I might be breeching some confidentiality. The social worker's report for the meeting wasn't sent to us until 2 days before, and then re-worded the day before. The meeting itself was horrendous and carefully staged so that we barely had a chance to get a word in, along with the sharing of various alarmist and misinterpreted information. When I raised my counselling and my partner's rehabilitation via a probation programme as STRENGTHS, they disagreed and said these were COMPLICATING FACTORS because they couldn't ever be sure of the effectiveness, content, outcomes etc. The outcome was obvious before we'd even started and they agreed on a CP Plan.
In our first meeting after that (with a new social worker and her manager) it was even more horrendous. She spoke of the fact that many who undertake such 'rehabilitation' don't find it effective and request "chemical castration", she made explicit judgements about the nature of my relationship with my partner and our sex life, and my complaint goes on...
In the CP meeting the social worker tried to tell everyone present that I had told him I was tutoring youngsters (an absolute untruth), which I contested and told him that I had recordings of all conversations between us. Never-the-less, they must have decided to mete out their own punishments as this week I received a letter from the DBS out of the blue. Fortunately, they decided that they do not have cause to bar me from any work. Now, social services have said they want/need to disclose the information to all significant adults, citing my father and sister. I have made it clear that I do not want them to be involved or have disclosure, but they are pressing ahead. My father does not supervise me (I am now only allowed access outside the home and supervised by specific people - the mother and some friends), nor does he have unsupervised access himself anyway. Never-the-less, they want to carry out a police check on him and say that in order to do so they need to disclose to him about the Child Protection order. I can't help feeling that they are merely looking for ways to halt the complaints procedure and cause trouble - it really doesn't feel proportionate or helpful, has no beneficial effect on safeguarding my children, merely on upsetting family life, their upbringing and our attempts to move forwards positively.
What is your advice in terms of preventing them from disclosing to my father and sister? We've gone 3 years without this needing to be a part of their lives, why should social services now deem it necessary when it doesn't make any positive impact? I'm worried that the longer I stand up for our rights, the more they try to deal out more punishment, and that they're going to use the next Child Protection conference in September as a way to escalate things further or continue with us on CP until we allow them to ride rough-shod over our lives?! HELP!

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2088
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Police unfairly influence SS

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:40 pm

Dear Desperate dad

Welcome back to the Parents Board and I am sorry to hear that children services have escalated matters and there is a child protection plan.
You were both very cooperative it seems from your posts but the child protection conference came to the conclusion that they “suspected that your son had suffered significant harm or was at risk of significant harm”, which I assume is on the basis of (risk of) sexual abuse.
The report will have highlighted what they were worried about, but you do not say what this is in your post. You think it is because you complained. Did the report say that?
Why were you and mum not allowed to be in touch with each other for 9 weeks? Was mum being assessed on her ability to protect or offered support about how to protect against the risks from you and your partner? Could that assessment have been negative?
Your risk-does it still remain unassessed? I assume that your risk would need to be properly assessed as well but doesn’t appear to have happened as I advised in my last few posts. Can you protect against your partner? Has his risk been assessed?

Here is information about child protection plans .
Are you clear about the plan being compulsory-in that children services could become more interventionist if there were breaches that placed your son at risk of suffering significant harm?

It is important for me to also point out that child protection is quite a high level of state intervention into your family life which is justified to protect a child from significant harm while avoiding him being removed form a parent. So it is not a normal situation.

There will be a balancing exercise. What do children services need to do to protect a child who is under their watch on a child protection plan. How many monitoring visits need to take place, for example? Is it proportionate? Some families might be visited every day. Others every 2 weeks.
It is within this child protection environment that they are considering sharing information about you to your family which are oppose.
You question is -what can you do to prevent disclosing your personal information to your father and sister?
As your son has significant adults in his life-granddad and aunt who he sees and who are looking out for him, they should be assessed to check that they are safe and also to finds out what support they can give for example, how they could help to protect your son. But to be protective, they would need to know what the risk is.
So it makes sense that that you agree to this information being disclosed to them.
It is also common that a child on a child protection plan would not be allowed to go to a relative’s home unless the relative was aware of the issues. It is not unusual.
The alternative might be that your son does not have contact with them. That might be a way to prevent children service disclosing the information. But this may not be fair on your son.

Another way would be to ask children services to set out in writing how they reached the decision to share this information. It might help you understand why this is necessary or if you think they are not doing things correctly you might be able to challenge what is being shared or seek further advice from the Information Commissioner’s Office .
Did they follow the data protection laws and human rights law?
To do this they should explain fully why and with who they want to share the information. Will you consent to some or all of the information being shared?
If not, they need to consider the facts of your case and whether it is necessary to share the information, is it proportionate, accurate and have they kept a record of what was shared stating, with whom and why.
Look at the 2018 Information Sharing guidance

I hope this helps but if you have any questions or need further advice, please post again or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.
Best wishes,
Suzie

DesperateDad
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:51 pm

Re: Police unfairly influence SS

Postby DesperateDad » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:37 pm

Hi there,
In terms of an assessment being carried out, apparently the SW is in the process of lining someone up to carry this out. They also want to assess the Mum in terms of her ability to safeguard my child from the risk (which has been highlighted as sexual abuse). With regards to my partner, he has no access (supervised or unsupervised) so safeguarding is no longer an issue there in real terms. Even when he was allowed access, it was supervised only and visits were few and far between.
The SW visits Mum every two weeks and emailed me today (after a silence of over a month) to say the visits are going well, all fine.
The mother and I weren't prevented from contact for 9 weeks (sorry if what I wrote was misleading), but there were 9 weeks when I wasn't permitted contact with my child- a decision that Mum felt she needed to take in order to look protective as they have been labelling her as having put my child at risk by allowing contact. They applauded her for this (although she's obviously been beating herself up over it, and I'm still trying to recover from the damage that has done!). Once the CP Plan was put in place then we were allowed to resume visits (supervised by Mum).
As for my father and sister (grandfather and aunt), they don't supervise the children and wouldn't look after them independently anyway. They pop in to visit the kids at Mum's house (i.e. when Mum is there) or Mum takes the kids occasionally over to see them. In other words, Mum is always present now. If I visit the children Mum has to be present, so if I were to take them to see their grandfather or aunt, it would be with Mum there. We're exactly three years into this entire nightmare kicking off, and we've managed to juggle our family throughout, keeping the stress and anxiety to a minimum for those who don't need to know, and also protecting our extended family and relationships. Disclosure would be heart-breaking, and potentially permanently damaging to our relationships and our ability to sustain happy relationships in the longer term. Why after 3 years would this be deemed necessary, when we've managed so well without, when we've always complied and when we have done nothing over the past 3 years to warrant such escalation.
I do feel that this is SS trying to mete out their own punishment, and linked to my ongoing complaint about the way this has been handled. It feels very counter-intuitive to drop a complaint, roll over and allow them to throw my extended family into chaos when we've built everything up over the last 3 years.
I've just had another email from the SW today, saying that "We are going to have to do a police check <on my father>...I understand that this creates a predicament for you but these are standard procedures for children on a CP plan. Please let me know your thoughts." I've made my thoughts clear, but don't know what to do next...

DesperateDad
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:51 pm

Re: Police unfairly influence SS

Postby DesperateDad » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:41 am

Hi again,
I've been reading up about Human Rights, Disclosure regs etc. Whilst it appears that there are some limits on what social services can request or do in terms of disclosure, it would seem (as ever) that as long as they can claim that they are sufficiently worried about the child's safeguarding (even if they're not!) that they can make a sufficient case.
My thinking is this: I don't believe that my father or sister need disclosure in the best interests of my child. We've had 3 years with no problems, they do not supervise me with my children and nor do they have the children on their own anyway. It's not sufficient to argue that just because someone is genetically close to a child that that person has to have disclosure or police checks. Similarly, there are plenty of people they see far more regularly who won't have checks done on them.
They claim that they would not disclose information to my father or sister when asking to carry out a police check, but let's be honest...how would my father/sister NOT know that something was going on - and if they were told my children were on a CP plan they'd definitely want to know why. So I'd be forced to either disclose or to lie - neither of which I feel are necessary, proportionate, nor beneficial to the safeguarding of the family.
I'm wondering whether their motivation is a genuine belief that they need to carry out the police checks, or is it that they want to force disclosure. In any case, if they genuinely believed they needed to carry out a police check on my father/sister, then could they not just apply to the police for this without asking their permission and informing them? I know that the police prefer the person to have been notified and permission given before they disclose anything about police records (even though my father and sister wouldn't have a record!), but if SS are that concerned, genuinely, then they surely could make an argument to the police that they felt it was in the best interests of the family to carry out the check...?

DesperateDad
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:51 pm

Re: Police unfairly influence SS

Postby DesperateDad » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:25 am

Hi there,
We are really desperate for a response to this. The history you can read above. We have our CP Conference tomorrow and since the time of the Initial Conference where the plan was agreed (3 months ago) we have complied with absolutely everything - as we always had in the 2/3 years leading up to this.
Since the Initial Conference, there were meant to be independent assessments carried out on the mother and myself. Hers was delayed and delayed, but eventually took place last week. Mine, needless-to-say, hasn't taken place, and only yesterday did the 'independent' chap get in touch - presumably so that we can enter the CP conference tomorrow and social services can claim that we must remain on CP because it's not yet been done.
They tried to push on further disclosure to other family members (which so far we've managed to fend off). They tried to get my children's mother to request further details of the original offence from the police (which the police actually declined as being unnecessary). So, instead, they shared with the mother the original transcript of an online conversation that I was alleged to have had in 2013, claiming this was new and a shock to her (which she has disputed with them - she knew of it's existence at the time of my arrest - it was the cause of my arrest, even though we hadn't seen it and it hadn't been read out to her).
We have been operating under the initial Working Together Agreement, complied with all restrictions, and subsequently the CP Plan, and we have been proceeding with an assumption of probability/possibility of risk (I was never convicted and charges were dropped). I have never denied (or admitted) alleged offences, but have operated in as transparent a way as possible throughout. The social worker tried to get me to admit that the online conversation was mine and got angry with me when I explained that any solicitor in the country would advise against such an admission as it could be used to re-arrest as new evidence. I explained that what was not important were words coming out of my mouth (i.e. a fixation on an admission) but on my conduct and behaviour throughout and ever since, the StopSO counselling I have been in since Feb 2016 (he even wrote to her to say he had no concerns about the safety of any children in relation to me).
In the assessment of my children's mother (recorded) the man asked her outright whether she had ever had any admission of guilt from me, and she said yes, which has left her feeling devastated (and now attacked by the social worker, who is treating this as somehow revelatory and the reason to recommend tomorrow that we remain on CP, when it is not news). In any case, I would never have admitted any specific guilt to the mother because I didn't want to put her in a compromising position, and the assumptions we have been working under have spoken for themselves.
We have the conference tomorrow, and are aware that the social worker (and/or 'Independent' chairpersons) plan to raise this issue, probably putting the mother and then me on the spot to try to achieve an admission on record (which will be minuted and doubtlessly shared with police), so they know we cannot respond. I have tried to explain to the social worker that they should be concentrating on the well-being of my children, the impeccable conduct and cooperation of both parents all along, the fact that there have never been any concerns (GP/Nursery/Healthworkers) around my children, the fact that they are observed to be happy, well and safe, instead of concentrating on trying to extract a confession for something historic for which we have been cooperating ever since they first became involved in 2015.
What are my rights in terms of the conference tomorrow - I believe I have a right to silence, but it's not helpful when actually I believe that social services know that I cannot respond and are merely using this as an excuse to perpetuate their claims of ongoing complicating factors. Is it more important to hear a confession and see rehabilitation than it is to understand why a confession cannot be given whilst still seeing all the rehabilitation - all evidence points towards the fact that we do safeguard our children and they are unharmed...

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2088
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Police unfairly influence SS

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:55 pm

DesperateDad wrote:Hi there,
We are really desperate for a response to this. The history you can read above. We have our CP Conference tomorrow and since the time of the Initial Conference where the plan was agreed (3 months ago) we have complied with absolutely everything - as we always had in the 2/3 years leading up to this.
Since the Initial Conference, there were meant to be independent assessments carried out on the mother and myself. Hers was delayed and delayed, but eventually took place last week. Mine, needless-to-say, hasn't taken place, and only yesterday did the 'independent' chap get in touch - presumably so that we can enter the CP conference tomorrow and social services can claim that we must remain on CP because it's not yet been done.
They tried to push on further disclosure to other family members (which so far we've managed to fend off). They tried to get my children's mother to request further details of the original offence from the police (which the police actually declined as being unnecessary). So, instead, they shared with the mother the original transcript of an online conversation that I was alleged to have had in 2013, claiming this was new and a shock to her (which she has disputed with them - she knew of it's existence at the time of my arrest - it was the cause of my arrest, even though we hadn't seen it and it hadn't been read out to her).
We have been operating under the initial Working Together Agreement, complied with all restrictions, and subsequently the CP Plan, and we have been proceeding with an assumption of probability/possibility of risk (I was never convicted and charges were dropped). I have never denied (or admitted) alleged offences, but have operated in as transparent a way as possible throughout. The social worker tried to get me to admit that the online conversation was mine and got angry with me when I explained that any solicitor in the country would advise against such an admission as it could be used to re-arrest as new evidence. I explained that what was not important were words coming out of my mouth (i.e. a fixation on an admission) but on my conduct and behaviour throughout and ever since, the StopSO counselling I have been in since Feb 2016 (he even wrote to her to say he had no concerns about the safety of any children in relation to me).
In the assessment of my children's mother (recorded) the man asked her outright whether she had ever had any admission of guilt from me, and she said yes, which has left her feeling devastated (and now attacked by the social worker, who is treating this as somehow revelatory and the reason to recommend tomorrow that we remain on CP, when it is not news). In any case, I would never have admitted any specific guilt to the mother because I didn't want to put her in a compromising position, and the assumptions we have been working under have spoken for themselves.
We have the conference tomorrow, and are aware that the social worker (and/or 'Independent' chairpersons) plan to raise this issue, probably putting the mother and then me on the spot to try to achieve an admission on record (which will be minuted and doubtlessly shared with police), so they know we cannot respond. I have tried to explain to the social worker that they should be concentrating on the well-being of my children, the impeccable conduct and cooperation of both parents all along, the fact that there have never been any concerns (GP/Nursery/Healthworkers) around my children, the fact that they are observed to be happy, well and safe, instead of concentrating on trying to extract a confession for something historic for which we have been cooperating ever since they first became involved in 2015.
What are my rights in terms of the conference tomorrow - I believe I have a right to silence, but it's not helpful when actually I believe that social services know that I cannot respond and are merely using this as an excuse to perpetuate their claims of ongoing complicating factors. Is it more important to hear a confession and see rehabilitation than it is to understand why a confession cannot be given whilst still seeing all the rehabilitation - all evidence points towards the fact that we do safeguard our children and they are unharmed...


Dear DesperateDad

Thank you for your further post and I am sorry that you did not receive a response prior to the review child protection conference.

You mentioned in your post that you are concerned that your children will remain on the child protection plan because assessments have not been done. Unfortunately, this is likely to be the case since children’s services have to satisfy themselves by completing the assessment to inform themselves about the concerns they have regarding risk and whether it is safe for the plan to be stepped down.

Regarding disclosure, you raised these queries back in August when you received a full response about disclosure where a child is on a child protection plan. May I suggest that you have another look at this post in relation to disclosure?

It may be that the social worker is concerned that a failure to accept the fact that something happen will mean that there is a likelihood that one is unable to protect or prevent the same thing occurring again or have a heightened awareness of the risk.

The fact that other professionals may be happy with the children does not detract from the concerns that children’s services has in relation to risk. Although you were not convicted of an offence which, in the criminal test, requires ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ does not mean to children’s services on the civil test ‘balance of probabilities’ that the particular incident did not happen. The police require evidence for a successful prosecution but this is not what is necessary for children's services who may well take the view that lack of sufficient evidence does not mean an incident did not happen.

You wanted to know if you have the right to silence, I would say that everyone can keep quiet if they choose to but I am not sure it would be helpful the a child protection setting.

I am not sure that what is being sought is a confession but it may be that children’s services are concerned that being in denial may not as stated above help them to be sure that children will be safe.

I you feel strongly about this issue then I suggest you discuss it with a family solicitor who specialises in children’s case and a member of the Law Society’s children panel. Alternatively, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office in respect of the disclosure issue.
Sorry that this response is after the conference but hope it might be useful for you now or a future review conference.

You have already been referred to our advice sheet relating to Child protection procedures but I am including again for ease of reference.

Please telephone our free confidential advice line if you wish to speak to an adviser. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

Hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie


Return to “Welcome and rules of use”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest