When the solution becomes a problem

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Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:13 pm

When the solution becomes a problem

Post by KLGE77 » Thu Sep 16, 2021 3:15 pm

Hello. Seven years ago, my sons and I were subject to DV at the hands of my ex (father of the youngest). I was exemplary in keeping us safe from him. He was convicted of assault against the then 13 year old and is subject to an indefinite restraining order - impossed by the court - in respect of all of us.

My boys are now 20 and 13 respectively.

The eldest is thriving at university and the youngest is an absolute free thinking dynamo who is doing well at school.

Three months ago, my husband (married three years ago) suffered a diabetic coma. He was diagnosed with type 1, 12 years ago.

I had not experienced this before and neither had my son.

During this episode, my son was frightened and called the police.

Two very unpleasant officers arrived and arrested me on suspicion of domestic abuse.

This did not happen. I took legal advice and was released once an investigation had taken place.

I have complained to the police about:

Being arrested in the presence of my child

My child being left with someone experiencing a medical emergency

The conduct of some (not all) officers and civilian custody personnel.

I have not received a response from the police.

In accordance with proper procedure, CSC were informed.

A review took place.

I have received an assessment and have had to go back and ask for correction on a number of significant errors.

Mostly from the previous local authority who offered us no support as victims and - instead - were in cahoots with the perpetrator (evidenced). The individual practitioner left the profession soon after.

My main cut and thrust is that, had we not been victims, our experience would have been different. The authorities would not have known us at all. As a victim it feels:

Never report DV. You will always be blamed for it.

You can never get away from what happened to you and are watched like a hawk.

Even though you're not the perpetrator, being a victim casts doubt on your credibility as a person.

I had excellent service from the police during the successful prosecution of my ex.

Unfortunately, this cannot be said of the police where we live now. They have continually referred to the restraining order (which does carry the power of arrest) as an 'harassment order' and have stated - a lot - that it is a civil matter.

The only support I have received has been from Women's Aid.

My ex seems to have finally moved on and I am no longer frightened of my sons being murdered by him (his actions included accessing my bank account, stealing garden ornaments, following the eldest to school. The police did nothing).

I engaged with the MASH assessment fully.

It was littered with victim blaming and verifiable untruths.

It concludes that the youngest might need some support in getting over the impact of domestic violence and recommended involvement from a children and famillies practitioner.

There is no suggestion of neglect, harm or poor outcomes with regard to education or welfare.

However, he really doesn't want to engage with them.

He called the police because he wanted a situation to just stop.

He is very nervous about the whole process and needs my support. But I feel unable to discuss it with him for fear of it escalating further.

We have a good relationship and have fun together.

I have suggested he gives it a fair go. But he really doesn't want this.

What if he refuses? Will this be held against me too?

Happily, he has felt able to talk to friends at school about it. I am really happy he is so open with me.

My eldest is extraodinarly cross about the whole thing too. Particularly in relation to the inaccuracies in the assessment and his lived experience. Can he have his data removed as an adult?

It just feels that the system still upholds the idea that victims always do something to bring violence against themselves.

What should we do?

We haven't actually hear from children and famillies practitioners yet.

The MASH referral was on June 6.

We got the assessment last Monday.

Radio silence since.

There was a distinct and notable sea change in how we were treated, as victims, seven years ago.

What started as sympathy ended up as no support at all.

I am actually very proud of what I've achieved as a parent.

My boys are amazing, opinionated, enthralling and beautiful little people.

But when will that monster's legacy end?

I just wish we'd got out, gone very far away and never told a soul, basically.

Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:13 pm

Re: When the solution becomes a problem

Post by KLGE77 » Fri Oct 01, 2021 10:20 am

Hi. I haven't had any responses so thought a TLDR summary might be useful:

Can you challenge an assessment which contains numerous (verifiable) innacuracies?

I am still engaging with the findings but don't feel it is helpful for these findings to be based on obvious untruths and/or laziness.

I have raised my concerns but they haven't been reviewed or addressed.

I feel we are just part of a quota fulfilling exercise.

How best can we report verifiable untruths?

I haven't even been told what the intended outcome is.

Thank you.

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

Re: When the solution becomes a problem

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Oct 04, 2021 5:15 pm

Dear KLGE77

Welcome to the parents’ discussion board and thank you for your post. Please accept our apologies for the delayed response.

I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you and your family are experiencing. Also, that you feel the responses you have received from some professionals has resulted in you wishing you had not disclosed your situation to them in the first place. All victims of domestic abuse should be safely encouraged to report their experiences and to receive appropriate support. You should not be made to feel defined by your experiences or blamed for them. Should you need specialised support following your recent involvement with Children’s Services please follow this link to Women's Aid . I would advise you to consider raising a formal complaint to children’s social care if you feel the assessment has been discriminatory to you. Please follow the link HERE on how to make a formal complaint.

It is positive that you have made a complaint to the Police to address your concerns regarding their behaviours and addressed the inaccuracies in the assessment from Children’s Services.

If an assessment has factual information that is incorrect you can ask for the information to be corrected. You should, in the first instance, raise this with the allocated social worker. If the information is not corrected, you can make a formal complaint as discussed above. In respect of your eldest’s son and his feelings regarding the content of the assessment. He cannot apply to have the information removed from the system, but he can write to children’s services to address factual inaccuracies within the assessment. He can also ask for a note to be added to the assessment expressing his views regarding his lived experiences. Please advise him to initially write to the social worker and team manager for them to address. If he is not satisfied with their response, he can raise a formal complaint (as discussed above). He may also find the link to this website HERE useful. Domestic abuse in childhood is child abuse.

The assessment started on 6th June and you received a copy on 13th September. This is a child and family assessment and should take up to 45 working days. You may wish to address this with the department and include in a formal complaint if you decide to raise one. No concerns around education and welfare have been noted in the assessment but it did recommend your youngest son may benefit from some support to address his experiences of domestic abuse. You have encouraged him to give it a go which is positive. Children who experience domestic abuse can often hold deep seated anxiety and distress even when on the surface they seem to be managing well. However, your son is not keen and does not wish to engage and you are worried about the possible implications of this. I am not clear whether the local authority is suggesting a Child in Need plan or an Early Help intervention but both are voluntary. There is no legal requirement for you or your son to take up the offer of support and there should be no negative implications to you both if you decide not to so.

You say your son called the police because he wanted things to stop. There is a possibility that seeing your husband in a distressed state triggered your son’s previous experiences and he is worried that accepting support will add more stress to the family. You do not say in your post what the suggested support is, hopefully the LA have provided this information to you – if not, please ask for it as it may be that the worry of not knowing what is expected of your son that is putting him off.

Your sons sound a delight, and it is positive that your youngest can talk to friends at school about his situation and that you have a good relationship and fun together. You do have some concerns about discussing things with him for fear of ‘it escalating further.’ I am not sure whether you are referring to the incident with your husband, your son’s experiences of domestic abuse and injury or the process of the children’s services assessment. In the first instance you might find this link useful Diabetics . They offer information and support services to families who are living with diabetes. In respect of the domestic abuse, as discussed, you need to find out what the children and families practitioner is recommending and the wait times for any support offered. In respect of the assessment process, you could consider contacting the school to ascertain whether they have an ‘in house’ counselling service that can initially explore this with him. If he views school as a place of safety, he may feel more comfortable in this setting.

I hope this information has been helpful to you.

Best wishes, Suzie

Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:13 pm

Re: When the solution becomes a problem

Post by KLGE77 » Fri Oct 15, 2021 2:31 am

Thank you.

A really very good woman attended and spoke to my son.

She was pleasant to me, also.

However, as a family we feel that the initial intervention from the police and the subsequent social worker was appalling.

The children and famillies practitioner was good. My child can be extremely opinionated. She asked him some questions and he felt comfortable enough to show her a book he likes.

Complaining about poor practice takes a lot of time.

Especially if the person you are complaining about has a lot.of annual leave.

I have 25 days.

And I'm a single.mother.

The most interesting thing here is the very notion that people can tell extraordinary lies about people.

And then say they can't do anything to address those lies.if somebody else put those on record.

I don't think that is true.

Because it isn't.

Thank you for your help.

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