This is probably not going to be what you think. Yes I am criticising Cafcass, but not in a way you would expect. This is the reality of their failure to protect my daughter’s interests.
After my daughter was taken from me, my ex refused to allow me to see her until she was ‘settled’ but what she actually meant was ‘never’ and my daughter will be forced to forget I ever existed. The problem with her plan was I had custody of her two brothers and although the eldest did as his mother told him at contacts at his maternal grandparents house, my youngest was less influenced by her and continued to mention me and to let my daughter know of my existence however small it may have seemed. I want you to know I tried everything I could to get to see my daughter but my ex had disappeared and the solicitor said it could take years and thousands to employ the services of a Private Detective and to go through court. The best he could advise was to wait and hope she saw sense. She never did! I knew the lads had a right to see their mother and grandparents and it was important to try to facilitate these contacts. I would arrange through the grandmother for them to visit them and their mother and sister would arrive an hour later so as I could not see my daughter. Each time I would ask my ex mother in law to try to get her to allow me to see my daughter until one day she said I cannot keep asking as she is threatening to not allow us to see her if we do. There are many events during this time and Cafcass but I will focus on those later in this blog. For now this about Cafcass.
One day when the lads were having contact at the grandmother’s house my youngest was talking to me on MSN, he knew how hard it was for me to be alone during these visits and wanted to know I was okay. He was chatting away and all of a sudden he said “Dad ******* wants to talk to you” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. My daughter started to type saying “Hello” and as I was typing and asking her how she was tears were flooding my face like a waterfall flowing. She was replying and asking me questions. Then it went dead. My son said “Mom has just caught us and is shouting at ******* and me and shut the door with me inside.
At this point in time I had met my Fiancee and she had already got me to read about parental alienation and the damage a child will face if I never tried to see her. I always thought it was me who was suffering so it didn’t matter. But reading the materials I realised I had to do something. My daughter had shown me she wanted to know me. I put the application into the court for a contact order and enclosed a disclosure of whereabouts too.
This took months and many failed court appearances by my ex. She knew about it and told my eldest she would never comply and I would never dare to apply with the file of evidence she had against me! This was puzzling as the only one with evidence would be me and eventually to cut a long story short my Fiancee found where she was living and gave the information to the Judge. After many failed attempts at a hearing we had to get a Process Server to serve the papers on her at her address. She turned up to court with a solicitor in tow spouting domestic violence! Laughable at the time but I did not know the extent of her lies and allegations at this point. There had already been two Cafcass reports where she had failed to turn up. Both stating I should have contact. We had tried indirect at the grandmother’s house to start and my ex put them into the bin without my daughter seeing the letters and cards. Then the school had to give the letters to my daughter and they did not facilitate this well. Then she turned up to court so a new Cafcass report was done. Still saying contact should go ahead as my daughter wanted to see me. Her mother tried to force my daughter to talk to Cafcass on the phone to tell them she did not want to see me. Cafcass had to inform her this was very inappropriate and would not be speaking to my daughter over the telephone! She failed to turn up to Cafcass with my daughter and we had to go back to court for an enforcement order and she took her once again and once again she said she wanted to see me against her mother’s wishes. Her mother told the court my daughter was lying and just saying what she thought they wanted to hear. Cafcass said they were sure she wanted to see me and maybe she was lying to her mother.
I met my daughter for 20 minutes at Cafcass and she whispered sweetly as I hugged her “I remember your hair” we sat together, had many hugs and she opened her presents, cards, letters and we chatted away happily. She got to see her brother for the first time since the day his mother had shouted at them as he refused to go to his grandparents after that occasion for a while. They were so very happy to be reunited.
This is where Cafcass started to fail. My daughter was going against her mother’s wishes and they were telling her mother how she was betraying her and expecting her to be able to deal with such an abusive mother and come out unscathed!! Yet she stuck to her guns and Cafcass after a further report said indirect contact of telephone contact and then direct contact to start at a contact centre just for my daughter to be supported as she did not know me and would feel a little scared and then back to court for a full order once she had seen me with her brothers for a few times.
Telephone contact started and she was happily chatting away about when she would come to see us and what colour she would like her bedroom to be here, what we would do and what she would like for her 9th birthday. She also chatted to her brothers and was giggling with delight. Her mother was at work on this occasion. The second telephone contact a week later she was chatting away about school and the dog and general conversation and she even asked me to say hello to her younger sister. Which I did. Her mother was in bed ill on this occasion. Then the third contact two weeks before Direct Contact was to start she was reluctant to talk and I could tell her mother was right next to her. Then the last time I tried she eventually answered the telephone and said in a nasty voice “I don’t want to talk to you!” I went to court the next day for an enforcement order and it went on from there! There will be more to follow but how did Cafcass fail my daughter?
My daughter had the courage to stand up against her mother on many occasions and then Cafcass told her mother in the reports she had stood up against her mother’s wishes and then expected her to be in the same house as this abusive mother and survive the barrage of abuse she would be subjected to and the parental alienation that followed to convince her to not see me. Have they served my daughter well? No! they have not, they have allowed the parental alienation abuse to happen with someone who the Judge had already decided had implacable hostility! It had already been proven in court the entire time her mother had blatantly lied to the court. Lies all proven with evidence, actual physical evidence. Which included two letters from her parents to the Judge about her ‘continuing to tell lies’ and how ‘she had morally and financially let them down’. Yet Cafcass expected my little girl to be able to deal with this abusive, lying, dangerous mother all alone. We were lied to continually she was getting support in the form of counselling and again this was a lie. My daughter was left alone to deal with this and to be brain washed by the most disgusting lies of domestic violence and rape from a woman who had abused me in this way for 13 years. I have never, ever behaved in a negative way towards any woman in my entire life. I grew up with high moral values and have always been a gentle character.
We do know with the balance of probabilities, this is what my daughter has been told because my ex-wife tried to get my eldest to turn against me and she had told him at just 10 years of age about these lies and allegations as if they were truths. My son knew the truth, he was a witness to most of it and wanted to live with me out of fear of his mother. He loves her deeply, they both do, but mostly they can see the negatives but I have taught them to accept them and not to let it get in the way of them having a relationship with her.
Cafcass not only failed my daughter but failed to protect my sons from the continual abuse she had inflicted upon them over the 3 years of this court case. They failed because they failed to control her behaviour. The fact is my daughter should maybe have had her residence changed the moment they suspected my daughter was being abused in this way, even if it was to her grandparents. The courts failed to give her any consequences to her non compliance. Instead they buried their heads in the sand in the hope of an implacable hostile mother doing the right thing for her children. Something she had proven over and over again she was not capable of.
There will be so much more to this and as time goes on I will write about it. This I am told will help me heal and it will help me come to terms with a system designed to fail children and their alienated parent from mothers with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a true alienator in every sense of the word.