Section 7??? Should I be worried

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Section 7??? Should I be worried

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed May 15, 2019 4:21 pm

Dear Runnermum16

Thank you for sharing your posts and updating us on your situation.

I see that your main question relates to a risk assessment being undertaken by the local authority to determine the risk to your children, I understand you want to insist that the assessment is undertaken but and from what you have said the social workers are reluctant to do so. I am not sure whether a change of social worker will aid you but you should ask for one and state your reasons for the request.

From what you said in your earlier post (18 March) your partner’s details will be removed from the SOR by September 2019 and soon after the SOPO will be removed too. I imagine that the social workers currently involved with your family are aware of these timescales and it seems likely that now you are in court for private law proceedings (the Child Arrangements Order) and there is a Prohibited Steps Order in place social workers may not be overly inclined to assess your new partner since both you and he are complying with the PSO. The safeguarding concerns social workers have may be highlighted in the report to the court and should not be surprising to you since you have said that you have been honest throughout your involvement with professionals.

Your solicitor (if you have one) will have discussed with you the court process and how the Welfare Checklist is used when in determining a child’s or children’s future living and contact arrangements. If you do not have legal representation you may be able to get advice from Child Law Advice and Advice Now provides a helpful booklet.

Best wishes

Suzie

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Section 7??? Should I be worried

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:46 pm

DearRunnermum16

Thank you for your further post.

You are asking about a section 7 report which is to be prepared by a social worker from children’s services. This is being done under a direction from the court and the court would have specified when the report should be completed and filed and served with the court and other parties.

Luckily, you do have a solicitor representing you in these proceedings which are private law and not within our remit as we advise where children’s services are actually involved. Your children are living with their father and he has made an application to the court so children’s services involvement relates only to what the court has asked them to do.

It would be best for you to discuss any concerns you have regarding your case with your solicitor who is best placed to advise you since he or she will have all the information relevant to your case.

You are involved in private law proceedings relating to your children which as stated above does not fall within the remit of our service. It is therefore important that you engage fully with your solicitor so that the best case can be presented to the court on your behalf relating to contact with your children and with whom they shousl live long term.

Best wishes

Suzie

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Section 7??? Should I be worried

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:23 pm

Dear Runnermum16

Thank you for your updating post.

You say that a risk assessment has been requested several times but the social worker said it is not needed as your children are safeguarded as they are no living with their father. Whilst that may be the case, if it was your intention to continue your relationship then it would have been important to carry out the risk assessment as your then partner might be around your children. It may be that you could make a formal complaint about the decision not to carry out the risk assessment. Please see our advice sheet Challenging decisions and making complaints.

The social worker has informed you that your former partner’s self-reporting cannot be used by them, was there no other evidence of what happened? Or was the self-reporting part of what he did to help himself deal with his offending behaviour, this is not clear. If the social worker required other evidence and your ex-partner attended any particular courses, then I imagine information could have been obtained from that service. Does your social worker have expertise in dealing with sex offenders? You can ask the social worker on what basis she has reached her conclusions and whether it is the policy of the local authority.

As you say, your partner was charged and sentenced and that is the evidence that is available so I am not able to say why the social worker might have come to her conclusion.

Whether or not you can resume your relationship once your former partner is no longer subject to the sexual harm order, will be a matter for you. However, the fact that he is a sex offender will always be relevant where children safeguarding is concerned, the likelihood is the same concerns will be present and children’s services would still want to carry out a risk assessment.

If you do decide to have a relationship then you may need to do so without him coming in contact with your children who are already living with their father. You will need to show that you can be protective of your children and, if you have not already done so, you may wish to make contact with Parents Protect on 0808 1000 900 and the NSPCC’s Women as Protectors which will provide you with the appropriate advice/tools for the situation you have found yourself in with a sex offending partner.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes
Suzie

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Section 7??? Should I be worried

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:46 pm

Dear Runnermum16,

Here is our FAQ about asking for a change of social worker . You should show why you think it is in the best interests of your children to have a new social worker allocated to the case.

You could ask for a copy of the file under the data protection law. You would need to make your request in writing and then you will be charged a small admin fee and there is a timescale to be followed by which the local authority will give you a copy of the file.
You may not get a full copy of the file. For example, if there had been anonymous referrals from someone like a neighbour or family member, then their details will not be disclosed to you.

Other parents on the forum have suggested it is much better to go directly to the local authority data protection officer for this rather than via the social worker.

See the Informations commissioners website which details the how to go about the process.

Best wishes,
Suzie

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