Recent "Allegations" of Child Abuse

by Pierrette
(Canada)

I am the mother of two young boys. I cannot disclose more than that as this is currently going through the legal process and I don't want to jeopardize my chances of them staying with me.


I recently took my boys away from their father. He had primary care of the children with me having access to them every second weekend and two weeks in the summer with alternating holidays throughout the school year. In 2002, he moved in with a woman who he claims was taking care of the children as a child care provider. Of course I knew that this was not true and eventually found out that she was his girlfriend. For four years he and his girlfriend conspired to cut me out of the children's lives. They made it impossible for me to see or speak to my children. Last night I found out that they never once told the boys that I called, nor did they tell them where I lived, even though their father knew the whole time.

Approximately 2 years ago, she contacted me and indicated that the children needed to have me back in their lives. This is when I aggressively began to "legally" gain access to the children and we got the ball rolling with visitation and custody issues. I wasn't going to lose the opportunity of "cooperation" with respect to the boys and their father. (The reason I did things this way is the fear that he would leave/move away and I would never see them again—he did this for about a week 6 years ago, until he was found with the kids and was ORDERED to bring them back.)

Anyway, approximately 1 week ago, I received a call from his girlfriend, telling me some really horrible stuff with respect to the kids. There were allegations lodged against both of them regarding neglect, emotional and verbal abuse, physical abuse, disharmony in the home, and "addiction issues". There were 4 family enhancement agreements with Child Protection Services, 8 screenings, and 5 investigations launched for allegations of abuse. Needless to say, I have taken the kids from the home, with the encouragement of my attorney, enrolled them into school and have no plans on returning them. I will be FOIPing the Social Services files on the investigations and going through the court process. I will fight tooth and nail to keep them with me.

I'm having problems with the boys at home. Both of them want to go back to their dad. They are denying everything. They are saying that C.P.S has been trying to take them away from their dad since 2003, and have indicated that they believe that it's the job of C.P.S to take kids away from their parents. She (the girlfriend) has left the family home with her infant daughter, but he (the boys' father) has told me that they are "working" on things and that she could possibly be coming back home. Most of the allegations are against her, and he has acknowledged that he knew what was happening but didn't make much of an effort to stop it.

Both boys and I had a discussion this morning about the importance of going to school and getting to a regular routine, as they both told me that they don't want to go to school. They tried to argue with me over it. Basically, I need advise.

How do I get the kids to understand that I'm doing this for them and that it's not being done to hurt them? I've told them this repeatedly. I've told each of them that they've done nothing wrong. They both get told on a regular basis that I love them and I offer hugs whenever I can. They don't seem to understand it, still. I am willing to be stubborn and stick to my guns. I have told both of them that they have done nothing wrong.

How likely, seeing that things are only being alleged, that I will be ordered to take them back? All parties that made the claims are now denying the claims. How many times does C.P.S have to investigate things before they believe that something is going on? Understand that up until this point, nobody has been actually charged with an offense. Nor did I know of any of the allegations, as C.P.S had not once called to discuss any of this with me, even though I am their biological mother and share joint custody with the father. I am aware that it's possible they did not know of my existence, as his girlfriend would proudly proclaim to everyone that they were her children. She even went so far as to write it down on their school registration forms.

I believe that since he (the boys' father) has admitted abuse in the home, and that he was aware of it, that he is just as guilty for it because he has not done anything to stop it. He also admitted to abusive behavior and alcohol addiction.

How do I as the mother to these two wonderful boys, cope with this and help them to cope with it, especially when they refuse to acknowledge abuse in the home? They think that this is how every family lives.

Comments for Recent "Allegations" of Child Abuse

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Oct 04, 2007
Impossible position
by: Darlene Barriere

Pierrette, I want to say that you have a duty to protect your boys; and you are doing exactly that. I'm very glad to hear that you are adhering to the advice of a lawyer.

It is such a dilemma to be aware of abuse, yet know that your boys will not disclose. Children and youth do not tell for a variety of reasons. Based on what you've written, one of the reasons your boys won't tell is because they want to continue to see their father; very understandable—they love him and have a relationship with him that they don't want to let go of. I will tell you that it is not uncommon for children to protect their abusers. They blame themselves, no matter how many times they are told otherwise. It comes with the territory of being a child; they internalize what is going on around them. They carry shame and guilt, and they feel responsible when the people they love are troubled in any way. Not to mention that you have no way of knowing exactly what was told to them when they were with their father and his girlfriend.

When children do not disclose when CPS are involved and doing an investigation on allegations of abuse, there really isn't much that CPS can do, especially when there are no outward signs that abuse has taken place. Of course, this leaves parents frantic, as they are desperate to protect their children.

If the children do not disclose, there is a chance that they will have to go back to their father; but please understand that I am not a lawyer, I am not a caseworker, nor am I in a position to completely understand all the dynamics of your situation. What I will say is that you mustn't ask your boys probing questions, or you will jeopardize the CPS investigation, and possibly risk what you fear the most. I strongly urge you to seek legal counsel.

As for how to convince your boys that what you are doing is in their best interest; keep showing your love for them. Don't discredit or in any way defile their father—much as you might want to—otherwise, you will alienate them. Love and understanding is the best thing you can offer them, Pierrette. I sincerely wish you all the best in your plight to protect your boys from harm.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Oct 04, 2007
What to do?
by: Steph

Have you and your children gone to counseling? A therapist may be helpful. Have you explained to your children what abuse is? Do they know that hitting, getting hit with objects, being called nasty names etc is abuse? Maybe you could find a support group of some type for you and a kids group for the boys. How about some age appropriate books for the boys? Just some ideas. I know what you are going through and the system can be very screwed up.

Oct 09, 2007
Advice
by: Elaine

I'm a qualified Social Worker living in the UK, and came across your scenario whilst using this website.

You are facing two tricky issues-that of dealing with the abuse allegations which have surfaced in respect of your "ex" and his partner (and your resulting fight for custody of your children); but also a difficult relationship with your kids now they are home.

You are correct in suspecting that your children may have been brought up believing that their abusive home circumstances were normal. It may have been that case that your "ex" deliberately manipulated the children-it certainly sounds like he has prevented them from having an ongoing relationship with you; and may, behind your back, also have tried to undermine you. Many parents, when they separate or divorce go through this issue-using their children as a weapon against their "ex". You may have heard of "tug of love children", where one parent is "played off" against the other. What your kids now may have is divided loyalty. Their father is still their father-he is their birth parent, and as such, they still love him. That does not mean they do not love you-you are just "unfamiliar territory". You are trying to establish a stable, caring routine at home, the likes of which your kids are not used to. Your kids may be confused, angry and upset. They may harbour resentment towards their father and his partner, but feel that it is "wrong or telling tales" to talk of this. They may be too young, or unready, to yet discuss and understand the implications of abuse.

I'd advise that you continue to act via your Attorney, and maybe request a further meeting with this person, to discuss the matters outlined in your article. They are the best contact for Legal advice. I'd also advise that you contact Social Services. Most Child Protection proceedings are intended as confidential, and the involvement of family members is not of paramount importance-they can actually be excluded if conflict is envisaged-the emphasis is on the child. Given that the children did not live with you when the abuse happened, you would not have been invited to any hearings. Most hearings are predominantly professional to professional discussions. However, the UK Children Act ('89) does say that an uninvited parent should be offered the chance to communicate their views to the conference by another means.

I'd also suggest that Social Services may be able to help rebuild your own relationship with your kids. Again, another alternative is to look for support groups and voluntary organisations in your area that can help. If your children's school is supportive, I'd suggest you arrange a meeting with the Head to outline a brief background to your problems in terms of getting the kids to attend, they may again be a valuable source of advice and assistance. Above all, talk to your Attorney. Don't quit-arm yourself with as much information as you can-and keep showering your kids with love.

Oct 13, 2007
Thank You's
by: Pierrette

I just wanted to say thank you to those of you that have offered encouragement and sometimes hard truth surrounding the situation my sons and I find ourselves in.

I am still shocked and amazed by the fathers reaction to all of this and cannot believe that despite the fact that we are no longer together he still has the ability to reach through the phone line and continue his abuse towards me. I can only imagine what my poor sons have gone through. I know that in order to stop this I need to show the kids that he can't hurt me with his words, because I won't let him, but some day's its just frustrating and an almost impossible situation. I am learning though that in order for all of this to stop I must be the one to say "you can't do this to me any more!"

In case your wondering, yes he's being inappropriate with the children on the phone. He's making promises, telling them to drop out of school and telling them that they are going to go hunting, camping and fishing for a very long time when this is all done. (Like I don't know what that means) My favorite was the no rules at home promise he made them last night. (I'm being sarcastic)

Some interesting questions have popped up. In Canada you must have both parents consent to therapy in order for a Dr. to proceed. I'm still waiting for his consent. I do have very good legal council and am confident that she will fight for the children to stay with me as passionately as I will require. She's a really good lawyer and since this latest situation has really stepped up to the plate. I'll keep all of you posted on what happens. Once again Thank you

Feb 26, 2009
child proceedings
by: Anonymous

I have been in court for six years now and Iknow that my ex partner is mentally and physically hurting my child, the courts are still making him go to see and he dosent wnat to go so much. I am terrified for him because the man abused me, I am at my wits end, court never seems to end and they never listen. I know there is no solution but I do have wonderful support. If anyone has any wild ideas I would be grateful

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