What I utterly fail to understand about the media being unwilling to take on these stories is that, as far as I understand it, they can be reported in quite a detailed manner, providing they are anonymised.
I listened very carefully to the judge expounding details of the injunctions relating to a case and it was all about simply not identifying the protagonists. There is no actual ban on telling the story as long as different names are used and there is nothing to directly identify various people.
Now, I know the media are obsessed with producing people’s names. I was taught as a local newspaper reporter the idea was to encourage people to read the paper to look for their names in it. That is what local papers do. While it is also generally important to identify people in any story, when it is impossible to identify them, it doesn’t mean the story is automatically worthless and should be killed.
It is just because of the draconian totalitarian secrecy of the family courts that many of those stories should and could be told in quite significant detail because many are so incredibly shocking.
Until I had my own little brush with the evils of Social Workers and their abuse in the family courts I wouldn’t have been able to believe there was such a widescale abuse of justice going on in this country, the like of which we all normally associate with the worst of totalitarian regimes, like Hitler’s mass extermination programme or Stalin’s Russia, or Romania’s recent dictatorshiop which seemed to particularly specialise in abusing children.
What I learnt from my own experiences of social workers and their representations to the family court is that the half baked opinion of some incredibly ignorant, often inadequate person, most often than not with a psychological problem making them want to be a ‘control freak’ and sanctimoniously tell others what to do to the nth degree, is all that removes children from their parents – not the inadequacy of parents.
I experienced exactly that from just about every social worker I dealt with. Take the time to read this thumbnail of my case.
THE EVIL INCOMPETENCE OF SOCIAL WORKERS
My partner is a faultless Mother (apart from the consequences of her mental illness) and I am a pretty competent type of Father. When my partner started falling ill with schizophrenia and became consequentially wildly erratic, I called social services asking them to fulfill their statutory duty to provide the medical help my partner is legally entitled to and the assistance three very small children were entitled to by virtue of being in danger etc because of psychosis and my partner abducting the children from the family home and living in damaging, very overcrowded circumstances.
Social Services first flatly refuse to do anything at all, then paid a visit with a psychiatrist to where my partner and the children were and tell me they agreed my partner is thoroughly insane but as the children ‘seem to be OK at the moment, there is nothing they can do until things get worse and something really bad happens’.
When I take private law action seeking custody my partner immediately tells the court she wishes me to have custody because she recognises the dangers of her illness. This results in an interim order that my baby son resides with me. Bizarrely, the judge makes the first big mistake in the very first hearing by arbitrarily ordering my two step children to reside with their Father, who had expressly said he wanted me to have custody ( and I had agreed) as he would be unable to look after them. This order eventually leads to the breakup of that Father’s family and severe damage to the two step kids of mine over the long period of time the saga goes on for. The Judge was a moron.
So, my baby son was resident with me, and his Mum came too because she always had a good relationship with me and being with me invariably encouraged her to become better from her attacks of psychosis. Social workers now come to my house to make out their report to the court relating to my custody action. They lied in their report, saying ‘I hadn’t bonded with my son and ignored him on their first visit’. My son was asleep during that entire visit so not much bonding was likely to go on. I certainly didn’t ignore him, as I checked him every ten minutes to make sure he hadn’t rolled off the sofa. They also lied in their report saying my house was ‘unsuitable’ and my bedroom, where my son slept with me, was ‘dangerous’. That was incredible nonsense as it was a normal, recently brand new room in every way.
Their apotheosis of incompetent nastiness came when they told my partner, in front of me, that she should employ a lawyer ‘to fight me for custody of her child, otherwise she may never see him again’. She had only just come out of a period of being sectioned in a secure mental ward. She was better, pretty normal. She instantly had a breakdown as a result of what that idiot social worker said and abducted my son, fleeing to her aged Mother’s one bedroom council pensioner accommodation 200 miles away in North Wales.
The police, sent by me to retrieve my son under the terms of the interim court order he reside with me, were told to get lost by social services and instructed to inform me I would have to go back to court if I wanted to retrieve my son. Their contradiction of the existing court order was an illegal contempt of court as they did not have or even bother to state any reason for this.
When I got to court a few weeks later, social services were in court and had brought my partner with them and produced a legal team. Social services had now taken it upon themselves to manipulate my highly suggestible partner, taking over her until now passive by our mutual agreement, case and persuade her to fight me for custody and somehow made my partner believe we were a couple splitting up and living apart. This was not the case and had never been the case. My partner and I had always ‘got on well’, excepting the difficulties psychosis sometimes produced.
Social services then proceeded to advise the court my son would be better off staying with his mum 200 miles from me on the grounds ‘it would be disruptive’ for him to return to his London home with me as he had now been away for about four weeks.
The judge said plainly that it was clearly quite unsafe for mum to look after the two year old child as she had a recent history of severe mental illness and dangerous behaviour and an obvious inability to look after a child or even herself. Social services insisted that was their advice. My lawyers hadn’t thought of the need for me to have an opposing witness. In fairness, were were completely ambushed by social services, but with hindsight I now realise my lawyers should have seen it coming and employed my own social worker witness.
The judge made a huge song and dance about it, and said she was being forced by social services to do something that was not appropriate. The judge then said she would only agree to placing the child with mum if social services visited mum every day and made sure mum attended her doctor on a weekly basis etc, etc. The judge made a point of saying that I was a good father and that I should be able to have completely unrestricted access to my son for two days a week and that social services should pay my expenses travelling 200 miles to see my son two days a week.
Social services did not pay my expenses and restricted my access to my son for two hours on each of the two days I visited him. They insisted I was supervised and I was not allowed to be alone with my son or take him with me overnight as explicitly ordered by the judge. This was on the entirely imaginary grounds that I was somehow ‘violent’ towards social services staff. There had been absolutely no incident of me being anything other than well mannered and polite at all times to social services and there had been no incident of anything remotely resembling violence. Being brought up in an exceptionally well mannered family and attending a private school which was positively obsessed with good manners and politeness, random violence is just not on my agenda.
Predictably, even social services had to eventually agree mum was far too dangerous to look after a two year old and my son was removed from mum after a few months. Instead of returning him to me, they put him in foster care where he was viciously abused, being constantly poked by the foster parents with a walking stick. This produced numerous identical round bruises all over my son’s torso and he still remembers it all now at the age of ten – over seven years later.
Social services then told me, in front of my solicitor, that they were considering putting my son up for adoption and they explicitly threatened me that ‘if I didn’t co-operative with them my son would be adopted’.
At this point I would remind you that at no time had anyone suggested I was an inadequate parent in any way whatever. Social services had not made any suggestion like this themselves. But you will notice a continuum of spiteful, arrogant disregard of law, any shred of competence, human rights or any sense of human decency whatever from social services so far.
I took social services to court and won custody of my son, but still had to suffer their menacing presence for another year of weekly visits as though I had been accused of inadequate parenting of some kind, which I never had been. They even forced me to go to parenting classes !
Their last effort at spiteful destructiveness was to announce (at one of their care plan meetings) to my partner in front of me that I had had an affair, a relationship, with another woman while my partner had been living away from me. This resided entirely in their imaginations and was completely untrue and they had no meaningful reason to say something like that at all. They’re just plain weird, nasty people.
Unfortunately, the whole debacle had only made my son’s mother even more mentally ill through the stress of social services completely wrecking her family and being the agent for her losing her two older children to a their father who she knew neither wanted them or was capable of looking after them properly. And so it turned out to be the case.
Our previously close knit family had been completely blown apart by the activities of social services and the two elder children lost, becoming severely emotionally damaged by virtue of living with their father.
Although my partner continued to live with me for quite a long time after our son was returned to me, she descended into alchoholism and eventually abandoned her son and me as a product of her illness. Despite this we have always maintained a good and very friendly relationship and still do to this day.
Meanwhile all our lives have been comprehensively wrecked in a manner which has been entirely orchestrated by the activities of Social Services.
This sort of behaviour by social services seems to happen time and time again in virtually all cases they deal with. I have heard endless stories of social services being worse than useless, spiteful, destructive and nasty. The damage they cause children and the parents of those children is breathtaking.