Trying to remain calm

Eris
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:58 am

Trying to remain calm

Postby Eris » Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:01 am

Hi, I have social services involved with my family due to concerns about DV.

This may be rambling - I've not had a lot of sleep.

This may seem a little off topic to start with , but the background is that I have 2 sons on the autism spectrum (I have 4 children in total 23 , 20, 6 and 4)and I wondered if I might be on the spectrum too as I've always felt different . I just wanted to know , that was all. The assessment concluded that I was not autistic but had some kind of mood disorder and referred me for counselling. The counsellor was lovely and although we did some work on my self esteem she said my biggest problem was my partner and she thought his behaviour amounted to emotional /verbal abuse. I agree with this assessment and had wondered about it myself. There's no physical abuse towards me ,nor has he threatened it, though he did once pin my son (then 18) up against the wall, before removing himself from the situation.

The story will get too long if I go into all the ins and outs , but the upshot is that this has resulted in Children's services becoming involved and telling me that I need to leave my partner or lose my children. They have told me I am failing to protect my children and my children are not safe. This was relayed to me within minutes of my first meeting with the social worker - before she had even met my children. I was shocked at how rude and aggressive she was. I am used to being verbally abused so I recognise it when it happens! I've been given no timescale for this, but I do know that a MARAC is scheduled for 6 September and that my youngest 2 kids will be assessed at school. I feel the social worker has already decided what the outcome will be. I didn't actually score enough points for a MARAC referral but I was referred anyway on the recommendation of a social worker who had not yet met me or my children.

The social work visit was about 2 weeks ago I think. I'm still reeling from it and wanting to say things I didn't get across at the time. I feel some things I said when I was opening up to various professionals and ranting about my partner have been taken out of context and everything has just spiralled out of control. I am also aware that now social services is involved , we are under the microscope. I have this horrible feeling that anything and everything I do will now be interpreted in a certain way.

The abuse is of me, not of the children - although I do accept it is really not good for them to see how he speaks to me. I have got much better at standing up for myself with help from my counsellor (I always did try to do this but it wasn't very effective ) . I also disagree with his parenting style. Broadly speaking I guess it's authoritarian style. But according to my counsellor authoritarian parenting is emotionally abusive by definition? I didn't know that.

In particular there is a situation with my 6 yr old who has non verbal autism. To try and get him to do new things my partner will shout at him repeatedly. I don't agree with it at all and I say so. However, it is done with good intentions, it is the method that is seriously misguided. I know that on my notes is says that my son will cry and shout nononono while this is happening. This is true - but what I didn't say at the time is that he will also cry and shout nononono to a simple gentle request as well. Distress and meltdowns are part and parcel of the day no matter what. Of course that doesn't make it right but we need to look at the context.

In short, I'm so scared. I Can't eat or sleep properly which is affecting my ability to think straight. I have read through the advice sheet on child protection which was helpful but also scary as I can see how it could lead to me being forced to leave my partner before I'm ready and ending up making things worse. There are lots of reasons why this is the case. I do want to leave , but I need more time to put myself in a better position.

Obviously the situation is not an optimal one for my kids , seeing their mother talked down to is not going to be good for them. but I honestly believe they are safe. I work hard to ensure that, but the social worker was so dismissive about my attempts. Is there anything I can do to show how I help them to be safe? I feel everything I say goes against me.

I have called the family rights helpline and that provided a little anchor in the storm. I just wanted to post on here too.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Trying to remain calm

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:08 pm

Dear Eris,

Welcome to the Parents forum.
I am so sorry to hear about the abuse you have been suffering. I can understand how scared and worried you are about children services sleepless nights.

But clearly there is no immediate worry from children services, as the next meeting is in September and children’s service’s want to speak to the school and other professionals involved. (This is the normal part of the assessment).

If they thought your children were in imminent danger, then they could have asked that your partner leave the family home-temporarily-while they carry out the assessment or offer you and your children emergency housing or a place in a refuge. This is to keep you and your children together instead of removing them.

Your children cannot be removed from you without either your agreement or a court order giving them legal authority. A court will only grant an urgent order if your children were in imminent danger or at serious risk.

To help you, I strongly advise you get a domestic violence advocate (IDVA) or support worker via a domestic violence organisation such as Women’s aid or your local resource.
An advocate can help you access support that you might be entitled to (such as the freedom programme and counselling for you and your children). An advocate will also be able to help you communicate with the social worker. The advocate can also put forward your views at the MARAC meeting, if it takes place and support you at any children services meeting such as child in need or a child protection conference. She will be able to explain how your children might be suffering now.
Here is our leaflet- with links to support such as an advocate.

It is important that you continue to work with the social worker. She will also run things past her manager-this may be the person who referred your case to MARAC.
This is also an opportunity to request more support for your non-verbal son.
I can see that your partner is struggling to parent your non- verbal son and children services may be worried that he is being emotionally abused as well, though it may not be intentional.
The social worker as part of her assessment should also be looking to see what support might be available.
When was the last time your son was assessed? You and your partner as carers for him could also be assessed to see what support you might need. Please look at advice sheet 4 family support.
Or you could contact National Autistic Society or Young Minds about support available in your area.

The abuse is of me, not of the children - although I do accept it is really not good for them to see how he speaks to me


The law has been strengthened against domestic violence over the last decade- so I want to address this here.

The law says children services should become involved, when there are concerns about possible domestic violence and children are in the household.
This is because:
• research has shown domestic violence is abusive to children. Children witnessing domestic violence can be emotionally abused leaving them feeling scared and anxious. Research has shown that children who have experienced this, can go on to have long term mental health problems. Children can get caught in the cross fire, suffering injuries and death themselves. So children may need specialist support to recover from what they have witnessed.
• Because it is very difficult, sometimes impossible, for victims (survivors) to get out of the relationship on their own. Not only that, research shows that domestic violence can escalate and become more severe and more dangerous when a person tries to leave.
• Domestic abusers are more likely to physically abuse children.
• Domestic violence also impacts the mental health of those that suffer it, which in turn can affect parenting skills. It can much more difficult to parent a child when you are depressed, for example.

I hope this post helps but if you have any questions please post again or call our advice line.

Best wishes,

Suzie

Eris
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:58 am

Re: Trying to remain calm

Postby Eris » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:22 am

Thanks for replying.
I do know that abuse of me is abuse of my children also. I don't think I expressed myself very well. I just wanted to draw a distinction between direct abuse of them and abuse that occurs through me. I also do a lot of hard work to counteract that as best I can. It will never be enough I know.
I know they are not going to take my children away imminently, no. But i am being forced into a corner, and I will have to leave at some point down the line. It will be disastrous financially as I won't be able to afford to buy a house yet will have too much money to receive benefits afterthe house sale. Yes, I know there are other permuatations but that is the most likely.
I will have to leave and maybe it will turn out to be for the good, I'm as bad as him I guess for staying and letting the abuse happen.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 1721
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Trying to remain calm

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:04 am

Hi Eris,

Thank you for posting back. I can see that you do have good insight into the effects of domestic abuse. I just wanted to re-iterate why children services become involved when there are concerns about possible domestic violence.

I forgot to mention that there are also courses/ support that your partner can do to reduce his risk, so he may not have to move out, or the family could stay together long term.
Respect offer advice and support to alleged perpetrators. They can signpost to courses locally to where you live.

Here is information for fathers on our young parent's website.

if you have any questions, please post back.

Best wishes,

Suzie


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