Thank you for your post. My name is Suzy, I am an online adviser for the Family Rights Group and will be responding to you today.
I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you are facing. It must be a worrying and stressful time for you and your family.
You have experienced a sexual assault and domestic abuse. You do not feel listened to by children’s services and that your experiences of domestic abuse have been minimised by the court.
You are concerned about the content of the report(s) made by children’s services and would like some information and guidance about how to address those concerns.
You are right in thinking about making a formal complaint to children’s services. There is a three-stage process to this, and I have added a link HERE
which provides detailed information on the complaints process. On this page you will find:
• What the law says about complaints and who can complain
• What complaints can be about
• Making complaints
• How complaints are dealt with
Once you have completed the complaints process, if you are not satisfied with the outcome you may wish to take this further by contacting the ombudsman. Please find further information and guidance here - Complaining beyond children’s services
In respect of challenging the content of the report(s) – if information is factually incorrect, such as times and dates or information from other professionals which is documented but incorrectly inputted into the report or misleading because it is not included in its entirety you can ask the social worker/team manager to correct this information. In respect of professional opinion, this can be more difficult to challenge because it is just that – an opinion based on professional knowledge and understanding of the situation. However, that does not mean you have to agree with what is written. What you can do in this situation is to ask for a note to be added to the document stating your disagreement and why.
I have added a link HERE
from our website which you may find helpful. It is a working with social workers guide and offers ‘top tips’ for parents when working with social workers and what you can do if that relationship is not going well.
You mention having a solicitor in your post and that they are ‘good.’ I would suggest you keep your solicitor update and include them in correspondence to children’s services.
You do not say whether you have been supported by a domestic abuse organisation therefore I am not sure whether you need the following advice but thought I would add for ease of reference. Rights of Women
provide a telephone advice line and can advise on the following:
• domestic violence and abuse
• divorce, finances and property on relationship breakdown
• cohabitation, finances and property on relationship breakdown
• parental responsibility and arrangements for children
• lesbian parenting
This line is for women in England and Wales who need family law advice - Call: 020 7251 6577. Please check their website for line opening times.
I hope you find this information useful. Should you wish to speak to an adviser please call our free advice line: 0808 801 0366 (Mon to Fri 9.30a.m. – 3.00p.m excluding bank holidays). Or you can of course, post again on here.
Best wishes, Suzie.