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Breaching court order, safeguarding concerns... and no one helping.
#1
I apologise in advance for this very long post. I'm osting with my partners consent, as he needs help and advice. 

Background information: his daughter is 13 months old. Parents separated during the pregnancy, after a very short relationship. It was a mutual decision, with no issues on either side. The plan was for both parents to be involved fully in the child's life. 

Contact was difficult from the start. Constant cancellations or rearrangements of contact which was supposed to be twice a week for 2 hours. As the months went on, things got worse. Contact never progressed, he wasn't allowed to take their daughter out, feed her, change her, or provide any care for her. He was only allowed to sit in her house and watch their daughter. 

When their daughter was 5 months old, her new boyfriend came on the scene. He would be present at every contact. Mum was becoming increasingly controlling and verbally aggessive. She would constantly cancel contacts or cut them short. This went on for a few more months. By the time his daughter was 8 months old, there had been no progression in contact, and it was not a healthy situation for the child.

At this point, mediation was requested by dad. When she found out, she stopped contact until mediation (2.5 weeks). At mediation all she would offer was 1.5 hours twice a week, in a soft play centre with her present. He asked for 6 hours twice a week with a progression to full days and overnights twice a week.

The first session following mediation was relatively uneventful. She remained trying to control the contact, dictating about how he wasn't allowed to hold her or cuddle her. He was there to play wth her, not to cuddle her...

The second session was cancelled by her. Claiming illness.

The 3rd session was the following week. 30 minutes in to the contact, she started shouting and swearing in the play centre. The little girl was unsettled because she could see her mum sat right next to the play area, and despite dads best efforts, mum would come in to sight every time he got her distracted and settled. She kept shouting at him to put her down, stating she has to learn she can't be picked up every time she cries. It was at this point she started shouting saying that was it, contact was over. Dad said no. Contact was 1.5 hours, and she wasn't ending it. She then physically attacked him, while the baby was in his arms. She clawed him, punched him and pushed him. He has scars on his arms from her nails.

That was it. She refused any further contact. The police and social services became involved at that point. The c100 form was lodged with court for a shared care order. This was October 2017. Luckily the centre has cctv, so despite the police trying hard to get him to drop it, she was eventually put on an offenders course.

The first date was December 2017. At court he was granted once a week in a contact centre unsupervised, as this was all mum would agree to. The section 7 was ordered.

The mum continued to deny contact for as long as possible. The first time he saw his daughter in 4 months was in the presence of the social worker doing the s7. The little girl was hysterical at being separated from mum. After 20 minutes they ended the contact.

The first contact in the centre was 7 weeks after court in December, and just 2 weeks before the next hearing. This was only because she had exhausted all excuses.

The mum cancelled the next social workers contact to see dad and daughter together, meaning all she could base her recommendations on were the 20 minutes of hysterical crying from their daughter.

The positive side is that while she didn't initially recommend shared care due to the lack of existing relationship  (!!!!), she did say that once the relationship had built she would have no objections to it. She recommended contact 3 times a week, short in duration, building up each week. She estimated that overnights could begin in 3 months time. She also recommended mum did not facilitate contact due to the violence perpetrated. Additionally, the section 7 was extremely favourable to him, and had shown the social worker had been able to see right through mum. It mentioned that it could be seen she was using the child as a tool to overt her power and control over the father. 

Mum offered 30 minutes once a week in a contact centre, supervised by her boyfriend, in her position statement. In the end, the section 7 recommendations were followed, apart from one key point. Mum refused to provide a 3rd party to hand over. Therefore it was ordered that the initial 3 weeks of contact would take place at a soft play area, and mum would not be allowed inside. She was to hand the child over in the car park, and wait in her car. On the 4th week when contact was 2 hours, dad was to pick the little one up from her home, and could take her where he wanted. The following weeks would be 3 hours, then 4 hours respectively.

The next court date was set for 6 weeks, which would mean dad was at the 4 hours three times a week stage.

So, he is now 2 weeks away from that next hearing. And once again contact has been denied. This time, it is claimed his daugher is too unwell for contact. This started last Thursday, following a positive contact viewed by the social worker on the Monday. He had contact on Thursday, Sunday and Monday cancelled. It is in the order that any contact missed for ANY reason, should be made up in that same week. Tomorrow is his next contact. It is supposed to be with the social worker present again (she wanted to see 3 contacts so she can write her report on how contact should progress). He hasn't heard whether or not contact will go ahead tomorrow. 

Now, the above is where a number of possibilities and conerns come in to play. Contact had been progressing well. The little girl had been adapting well, was settled through the initial contacts of 30 minutes for the first 2 weeks. The following week was the 1 hour contacts. The first one hour contact was seen by the social worker and was a positive contact. A far cry from the only other contact she saw where the little one cried solidly for 20 minutes. Then, following this, all contact has been cancelled. 

Prior to this, mum had still been breaking the court order. At 4 out of the 7 contacts, she sat in the play area. 2 of the contacts had to be cut short as the little one caught sight of her Mum, and obviously became distressed at this point. 

Mum clearly isn't happy that contacts were going well. She is trying to insist to the social worker that she is distressed throughout. The centre staff have obviously been witness to this, and have informed the social worker that this isn't the case at all. And obviously the social worker has observed this for herself.

Since she stopped contact, dad has asked each day how his daughter is. To be told she is the same. She has reportedly taken her back to the GP twice. Dad has asked her for the GP details. Mum has refused. Dad has contacted local surgeries who have all said he can't have access to her medical information, if she is registered with them. Obviously this isn't true. He is trying to gather the information to show the GPs that they legally need to provide this. Clearly he feels mum is either lying, or stretching the truth. He suspects she will allow contact tomorrow, in the hope that the little girl is distressed as it's been 10 days since the last contact. She is refusing to discuss making up the missed contacts at all, despite it being in the order.

The contact that was cancelled on Monday was the first 2 hour contact. This was the first one where she would have no control over where he was, and what he did with his daughter. He suspects that this is another reason for her denying contact. She simply can not relinquish control, which has been evidenced throughout the child's life.

While all the above has been occurring with the contact denial this week, I have recieved a threatening message from her boyfriend. Unprovoked. I've ever met or spoken to any of them. I've kept myself out of proceedings, despite being in a relationship for the same length of time she has been with her boyfriend. He has attended court with her, been present at contacts etc. 
The message was basically to tell me to keep my nose out or he would turn my world upside down. 

This has been reported to the police. I have no idea why he sent this. My only involvement is as emotional support to my boyfriend.

The social worker and solicitor have both been informed of this message, of the contact denial... And the social worker tells him to speak to his solicitor. The solicitor says tell the social worker of your concerns. So basically, neither are interested.

What the hell does he do from here? How should he proceed? He is concerned about the environment his daughter is in. Her mum is physically and verbally abusive in front of her. And her boyfriend also appears to have the same aggressive tendancies. And no one wants to know.

Any advice would be most gratefully recieved. I'm sorry about the length, but felt that it needed all the background information.
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#2
What a nightmare!

Does your partner have a solicitor/barrister or is he self-representing?

Given that there are proceedings ongoing, you need to keep the court informed of what is happening. Check with your solicitor first if you have one, but I think writing a letter to them detailing this before the next hearing would make sense. Both the behaviour of the boyfriend and her behaviour wants documenting. Well done to your partner for pressing charges, it's disgraceful but not surprising the police didn't want to pursue it.

With regards to the medical records, if your partner has PR, they absolutely have a right to the records, they will need to make a formal Subject Access Request though and pay the statutory fee (only a few quid normally):

https://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/1309.aspx?categoryid=68

He may need to provide a copy birth certificate and some ID to prove that he has parental responsibility.

If you can't find which surgery the child is registered at, you can try contacting the Clinical Commissioning Group to find out.

https://www.england.nhs.uk/resources/ccg-directory/

I wrote to about 20 hospitals for a similar reason and found the records I needed. It's a slog but well worth it!
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#3
Where is it at legally? If she is breaching orders then you can enforce them and apply to vary. It is difficult when they're so young and courts often won't do overnight contact until they're 2 years old.
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#4
Yes, he has a solicitor, and barrister for court.  

His solictor advised him to document it all, for the next hearing. But should he contact court? She said they won't see him before the next hearing, so no point going back to court. 

She's cancelled today as well. This is the final contact the SW can attend. She can now only write her report on one contact.
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#5
The main thing is to make sure the details of it get included in the bundle for the next hearing, because then you can refer to it and question her on it (if it's a contested hearing). You'll want to check with your barrister whether they want it sent in advance or circulated on the day, it depends on their strategy. Make sure you have as details of things like police log numbers for your report as supporting evidence.

Courts don't like their orders being ignored, so with luck you'll get a judge/justices who take a robust view of this and respond with a very clearly defined order that the ex can't sidestep easily. As long as the judge is half reasonable, she's hanging herself with the rope that's been given to her with the interim order at the moment.
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#6
Quite frankly, his solicitor is dreadful. It's been worse since his original one went on maternity leave just before the last court date. He didn't speak to his barrister until the day of court.

He's rang his solicitor today. She's off sick. Worse still, the social worker is also off sick. She's been signed off for 2 weeks. Court is in 12 days. 

This is an absolute mess. 

He asked the duty social worker if they would do an unannounced welfare check given the contact denial, absuvoe messages etc. They refused and said unless she was in immediate danger, they wouldn't be going. He can't insist any further because he obviously wishes to keep the social workers on side as they have been so far.
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#7
Don't be afraid to fire your solicitor, even fairly close to the hearing. If they aren't doing their job, replace them. Is it possible to speak to your counsel directly and request a telephone conference with them? Also, would be it worth trying to adjourn the hearing if the SW isn't present?
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#8
Some progress! The GP surgery came good...! It was the same one he spoke to yesterday. The one who refused that he was entitled to any information even if he has has PR. We didn't know if it was the GP. It was a wild stab in the dark. There was 7/8 other surgeries it could have been. This was the only one we tried. After their reaction yesterday, I strongly suspected that they were the correct practice.

Anyway, he walked in, gave his child's details and asked to make an appointment to discuss with the GP. They confirmed it straight away. He explained who he was, showed them the relevant documents. He had taken a SAR with him, but they offered one step better. A telephone consultation with her GP for tomorrow. So he will be able to find out if she truly is unwell.

If she is lying, or stretching the truth, he will go for an enforcement of the order. 

Tomorrow will tell I guess!
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#9
I would agree with changing solicitors - we had to do it just before a hearing - although 12 days is a bit tight. We went against our instincts and stck with one we had doubts about and had a very bad first hearing as a result. And changed after that. You need someone who is fighting your corner and not being apathetic or sympathetic to the other side. Is it a first hearing in 12 days? Or a fact finding hearing? Or a final hearing.

No point enforcing if hearing is in 12 days, but he could put in his statement that contact has been witheld on the last 3 occasions. Getting information from the GP will help to find out whether she did take child to the Doctors and whether child has been unwell or not. If it's not a final hearing and he can't submit a statement, he can do a "position statement". Head it "Note" and it can then be handed to the Judge. This is a shorter statement, stating what current situation is and what issues have occurred since last hearing, and what he wants to achieve.

Ok so 12 days to go and Solicitor off sick. Do you have copies of any documents, solicitors letters etc that solicitor may have in their file? If so I would switch solicitors now and they won't have to wait for a file to be sent through, you can just give them any relevant copies of everything, they can read through everything in a couple of hours after a first appointment and be up and running to go.

I posted on here asking for a recommendation in my region and had a few pm's with recommendations of solicitors people had used and were happy with - it helps. Maybe do that. You can usually tell during first phone call if they are going to be ok and on the ball. Barristers sometimes won't deal with you personally if they are instructed through a Solicitor.

If you don't have copies of everything you need then the decision is - should you stick with current one (might be ok if Barrister is doing most of it at court) or should you get someone in their office to agree to post the file out the same day.

The Barrister should write the position statement for you really which would help.

Some tips from my other half re your personal situation in this and the threat from her bf;

1) Change your mobile number - inconvenient but worth it. It protects you.
2) Keep your head down - lots of crossfire
3) Yes of course you are supporting your partner - but stay out of any direct communication with ex
4) Avoid putting anything on social media

Yes if anything happens she doesn't like it will be your fault! I once got accused of telling child to say he hated his Mother. I had done no such thing! But because he said it,it must have been me who told him to. Kids just say things like that sometimes.

A lot of the issues with his ex will be about that he has a partner - they hate it. One rule for them, one rule for the Dad - a female thing probably and she sounds pretty aggressive anyway. Basically she wants the child to herself and can't stand the idea of sharing him by the sound of it plus some won't accept anyone can do anything right for a young child/baby. And she will feel threatened by your presence if he had staying contact as she's the only one who knows about nappies and feeding (not true of course).

Some of these things are time and adjustment and it may settle down if he gets an order. Accepting why she is like this can help not take it personally.

Re the GP - although she will talk on the phone I would suggest sending off a quick letter. Briefly confirming he is the Father of z child and has equal parental responsibility with the Mother, asking that his name, address and phone number be added to child's medical records, and requesting details of any recent illnesses for child. Then sign it and post it. A letter response from the GP can be used in court. If he gets the phone call he can just mention he has sent off a brief letter and would be grateful for a reply by letter for his records. They may charge you for a letter but it' usually only aobut £10.
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