Confused by Social Services - and worried!

toby12
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:59 am

Confused by Social Services - and worried!

Postby toby12 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:04 pm

Thanks for letting me register with your site. I have looked through some of the discussions and they have been a great help, but also add to my worry!

My partner and I have been together 2 years. My partner has miscarried once and we now have an amazing 5 month old boy in the family.

My partner is a great girl but pregnancy was difficult for her and she has struggled a lot with post natal depression since the birth. She is pregnant again now and (forgive this comment coming from a guy) her hormones have been all over the place.

Last month she was in a terrible mess and we ended up having a horrible argument. The argument turned very aggressive and she was making physical threats. Our little boy was at her mums that night and so I asked my partner to leave and go to her mums. She refused and became violent. I ended up having to bundle her out the front door. Not proud of it, but I was so concerned that she was pregnant and just wanted the aggression to end for her sake, our unborn's sake and also my sake. She then threatened to smash my car up so I phoned the police. The police attended and told her she had to leave the property or would be arrested. At this point she didn't mention any kind of assault. The police could see that my T-shirt had been torn off, I had a bloody nose and my arms had deep scratches. I didn't mention an assault either, obviously. I just wanted her to leave and calm down. This was at around 8pm.

At 2:30am the police were back at my door. My partner had gone to A&E and had said that she had been assaulted. She had a scratch on her wrist. This happened when I was holding her hands to restrain her and she scratched herself whilst trying to pry my hands off her so she could swing at me again. A&E also noted that her neck was reddened. This generally happens when she is angry or upset, she seems to flush around the lower part of her neck.

Long story short, I was arrested to "protect a vulnerable person and preserve evidence". The police kept me in the cells until the following afternoon before interviewing me. During interview the police officer stated that my partner had mentioned a time when she had thrown hot milk at me. I explained that I had been holding our baby at the time and my partner had slammed a bottle of milk down. The teet had come off and the milk had scolded me. Having interviewed me the police officer asked if felt that I had acted reasonably in restraining and removing my partner, I said yes. I was asked whether I felt it appropriate to do so whilst she was pregnant, I responded that because she was pregnant I specifically thought I had done the right thing. The police officer stated on tape that she agreed with me. I was released with no charge and no further action needed.

After being released I was met by my partner. She was tearful and apologetic. It was then that I found out that Social Services were most probably involved. I was brought up in care and immediately I was scared witless at the thought of having these people back in my life. My partner explained that she had been angry at being removed from the house and that she didn't understand how much trouble she had caused.

Later the same day it turns out that Social Services were ringing relatives of mine and my partners asking if my partner was back with "the domestic abuser, how much they knew about the domestic abuser" etc. Based on the hospital report the domestic abuser was me, of course.

We were visited by SS a few days later. They explained that I had carried out a domestic violence attack on my partner and that they needed to carry out a risk assessment and wanted our permission to assess us. We both refused them permission. They stated they would be following their no access policy and would carry out an investigation.

During this process my mother died. On the day of mums funeral, I was literally watching the funeral cars turn the corner, I received a call from SS saying that they need to see our child that day. I explained that it was mums funeral (they already knew) but they insisted on seeing him anyway. I had to leave the funeral to be met at our house by the police and SS. The police officer commented that it was my fault that they were involved. they checked our boy over and were happy that he was fine.

We were told that they wanted us to undertake domestic violence and conflict resolution training. We both agreed to it but the SW kept telling us to think about it and phone her with our answer. We both reiterated that we agreed to the training.

We heard nothing for a few days and then had a letter informing us that we were required to attend a child protection conference. It was explained that this was due to none-engagement and an unwillingness to undertake suggested training. We had of course agreed to the training already.

The day before the conference we received a report from the s47 investigation. The investigation had been completed that day and was suggesting a CP conference. I was immediately confused about how the conference had been booked a week before the outcome of the report.

The report was a complete work of fiction. In once sentence where I agreed I had pushed my partner away from me, it stated that I had admitted to punching my partner to get her away from me. In other parts where they had contacted my doctor for a report about me it stated that I had kidney problems, but then stated that they weren't relevant to the investigation or the report. So why was that detail in there?

Like most ex foster kids I joined the army. I saw a lot of active service and ended up being treated for PTSD. The final risk assessment focussed on me having had mental health issues, having been in care, having witnessed DV as a child etc. I don't see how any of this stuff is relevant and why it should go against me. I find it really unfair that they are judging me in that way based on a difficult childhood and fighting for my country. I have never been I trouble with the police, have never been violent etc but this wasn't mentioned.

The Independent Review Officer at the CP conference was great. She agreed that I shouldn't be judged on the above things and was less than happy about the accuracy of the report. The SW was pushing for a CP order (I think). Everyone agreed that we should be put on a Child in Need plan to undertake DV training and conflict resolution training and that was the final outcome.

The only I disagreed with the IRO on was when we clarified the point that I had pushed my partner. At that point she became quite forceful and said that is never OK to push a pregnant woman. If she had seen the injuries that the police photographed on me she may disagree but the general concensus seems to be that I am domestic abuser because my partner said so whilst she was extremely upset and angry.

The SW has been in touch to say that she was the first Child in Need meeting in a couple of weeks. I was under the impression that it was purely to undertake domestic violence impact training and conflict management training. The meeting is to be attended by Barnados, our health visitor, my partners midwife and the SW. I feel like we are being set up and really just want to tell them to forget it. We will do the agreed training but I am not up for inviting all these people into our lives to pry and try to find another reason to justify their involvement.

On a happier not, my partner seems to have calmed down. She is now being treated for post natal depression and is back to her normal amazing self. She hates how this has turned out and is mortified with the things she said to the police. Our little boy is doing great. The health visitor thinks he is developing extremely well and everyone sees him as a happy and healthy child.

I desperately want to tell these people to get out of our lives and leave us alone. The amount of stress they are causing my partner is unbelievable and I will never forgive them for taking me out of my mums funeral. I see no benefit in dealing with them. That said I am extremely worried that if I tell them to bugger off we will end up back at a CP conference or they will simply take our child. They seem to have so much power it is scary.

Has anyone been in this position, told them to go away and had a good outcome? I really don't know what to do with this anymore.

Thanks in advance of any advice :)

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 1737
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Confused by Social Services - and worried!

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:11 pm

Dear toby12

Welcome to the Family Rights Group Parents’ Forum.

My name is Suzie and I am an Adviser at Family Rights Group.

I am sorry that you and your partner find yourself in what is for you both a distressing situation following the incident which led to Children Services being involved with your family.

You have given a very detailed post of how you came to be in your current situation. It is very good that your son was not placed on a Child Protection Plan. There is a Child in Need plan which is to provide you and your partner with support to ensure that matters do not escalate out of hand again. A copy of our advice sheet about Children Services involvement is here for further information as it will help you to under their role a bit better.

I would suggest very strongly that you cooperate with the plan which is in place at the moment. Whilst a Child in Need plan is voluntary and Child Protection Plan is not and if you do not engage with the plan, this could lead Children Services to take the case back to a Child Protection Conference which would be more likely to agree to a Child Protection Plan.

The role of Children Services is to ensure that children are brought up in a safe environment and not put at risk of harm. This harm can be physical, emotional or psychological. The guide fact that there was a domestic incident which led to the police being called will be very concerning for to Children Services because of the effect domestic abuse/domestic violence has on a child’s well being.

Whilst you have explained why the situation occurred, the fact is that it did and the professionals have listened to your partner. You will no doubt understand that sometimes women suffer abuse and do not get the help they need. Both you and your partner have agreed to engage with domestic violence services which should help you both learn better way of resolving conflicts and an understanding of your individual behaviour pattern.

In your post you say that you expected that you would only have to do the training suggested but now there is to be a meeting. This meeting is for the professionals involved to meet with and discuss with you how the plan will go forward. I do not think you are being set up as this is the usual procedure where a Child in Need Plan is in place. I would strongly suggest that you do not tell them to go away as this will not help your situation at all. I have included here a copy of our advice sheet about child protection procedures. A copy of our advice sheet about family supportis also included here.

The government guideline is for early intervention to prevent things getting to the point where Children Services have to take court proceedings to remove a child from his or her family.

My advice would be for you both to try and see the professionals as providing support and in this way you will feel less like you are in a ‘battle’. Children Services are to work with you in an open and transparent way to ensure your child’s safety. As your partner is pregnant, this is another reason to continue engaging and cooperating with the process as they will have concerns for the baby if things do not change.

Whilst I can understand why as someone who was involved in the care system as a child you do not want Children Services involved now, you need to accept that they have become involved as a result of what happened between you and your partner. Domestic abuse is taken very seriously because research shows that children are adversely affected whether they witness domestic violence or not.

I would suggest you visit our website for further information, please look at our frequently asked questions and A-Z of terms for more information.

Regarding the issue of the social worker insisting that you leave your mother's funeral, this seems to be very unfair and not good practice on her part since it would have been more appropriate to arrange an alternative appointment with you. If you wish you could make a complaint about her behaviour towards you at what was a very difficult time for you. It seems she could have acted in a more professional manner towards you. If you do not want to make a formal complaint at this stage, you could write to the social worker and her team manager. You can explain that are not making a formal complaint and wish to work with them but state what you are upset about and ask for a written response. I have included our advice sheet about complaints here

Should you wish to speak to an Adviser, please do telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.

I hope you will find this information helpful.

Best wishes,

Suzie


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