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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34885
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My 8 year old grandson has been mentally and emotionally

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My 8 year old grandson has been mentally and emotionally abused by his father, Mark, since he was born. My daughter, Grace, split up with him when William was 1 year old and there has been a court order in place since then, allowing Mark to have William for 5 nights/fortnight. He has joint parental responsibility. Mark's partner also abuses William. Grace has been trying to overturn the court order for years without success.
Grace saw her solicitor today, with view to a prosecution under the Cinderella Law. She also needed advice because Mark has refused for William to have assessments for autism, something which has taken 3 years to come to fruition. Mark and his partner smack William, but the solicitor said this is not illegal. The solicitor told her to get advice from the hospital's legal team re: the autism assessment and that there was no evidence to present re: the abuse, despite 8 years of diary recordings.
My question: how does she get evidence when the abuse occurs behind closed doors? William tells her what happens to him, but the solicitor says this is not enough.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first.

What does his father do to the child?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, thank you for responding.
Here are a few examples of what Mark ( William's father) does:
Smacks his bare bottom, it hurts him, then he is sent to his room.
Has told him his Mummy doesn't love him.
Makes William call his partner Mummy, despite agreeing not to with solicitors.
Promises William treats, then withdraws them because William doesn't deserve them.
Assaulted his own mother in front of William and his cousin. William thought Daddy was going to kill Grandma.
Has William's head shaved to a number 3 cut, despite agreeing not to with solicitors.( William's half brother is allowed long curly hair)
Will not bath William or apply prescribed creams for his excema, as recommended by the GP.
Will not give William antibiotics when they've been prescribed.
Grace leaves food at school for William, because he is usually hungry when Mark drops him off.
Will not help William to dress, so he sometimes has his clothes on wrong.
Refused to allow William to have counselling with Relate. The Judge endorsed this because Grace had made a unilateral decision. To date, no professional has spoken with William.
Quotes from William:
"Why would anyone love me, l'm an idiot"
" l try to be good, but l forget".
"I don't want anyone to kill Daddy, but l wish he was dead".
This is a very short list, taken from 8 years of diaries and are the most recent examples.
( to date we have spent approx £20,000 on solicitors advice and court appearances)
Many thanks for your attention.

What is the actual pattern of contact?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
William goes to Mark's every Wednesday and every other weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. William is sometimes told that Mark and his partner never want to see him again, but then Mark insists. Confusing for any child, but harder with autism.

When was the last time this was in court?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Autumn 2014. A specific order because Mark refused to allow William to have counselling. The Judge agreed with him because Grace had made a unilateral decision. The Judge said no child should have such a large court bundle and told Mark to stop bullying Grace. She told them she didn't expect to see them in court again.

Where did the idea that the so called "cinderella" law could be used come form?

May I ask why a diary has been kept?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello. I kept a diary because my daughter Grace suffered emotional abuse from Mark during their relationship and up until William's first birthday, when they split up, he was abusing them both. I suspected further problems to come, so recorded every incident which Grace told me about and also what William tells her or me. Mark knows he is a psychopath: one day when he tried to have me arrested ( l was challenging him as to why we couldn't take William to Lapland which we'd booked and paid for, after he'd agreed to this at a round table meeting), he reeled off some points in the Haire PCL-K checklist for psychopathy. Our solicitor said if we wanted a psychological report on him it would cost us £5,000 and Mark would have to agree to it. Most of the things he does or says are not witnessed, although some evidence has been recorded by the Police and various GP's and teachers over the years. Sadly no one has really reviewed the full picture and Grace therefore is caught on a merry-go-round of persuing what professionals advise. No one seems willing to take the responsibility of dealing with William's suffering. Because Mark has joint parental responsibility he uses it to his own ends, leaving Grace with no ability to protect William from him.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Your other question: it was my idea to suggest using the Cinderella Law because William's case seemed to fit the criteria exactly, as though it was written for him. As you may realise, after 8 years of trying to protect my family, l have accrued as much knowledge as l possibly can.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
To return to my first message to you, regarding Mark not allowing the assessment for autism/ADHD to proceed:
The hospital does not have a precedent for William's situation, as a parent has never refused for their child to have this assessment, so won't proceed. Grace's solicitor told her on Friday ( 17th June) that Mark's parental responsibility doesn't give him veto and that she needs to talk with the hospital about this. What can Grace provide the hospital with to prove that Mark doesn't have veto? Thank you.

For clarity is this an NHS assessment?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it's NHS. To reiterate (sorry!), Mark agreed to this in a round table meeting with solicitors, but refused when the assessment team contacted him 2 weeks ago. It has taken over 3 years to get to the point if an assessment. He has agreed to many things at these meetings, then disregards ***** ***** because he's not legally bound to comply. Without the assessment, William can't have funding to help him through his education and day-to-day living needs.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Question: is there a legal definition of smacking?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Re: William's autism: A paediatrician couldn't diagnose between autism or ADHD, hence William's referral to a specialist team. William's GP witnessed one of William's 'meltdown's' and also advised an assessment. His GP contacted the Child Protection service last week and the NSPCC contacted them 3 weeks ago. Grace rang them last week and they have received the referrals, but no one is available as yet to deal with this.

is it part of the assessment process that both parents have to be involved - OR did they specifically say they could not act without the father's agreement?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Letters were sent to both Grace and Mark to say the assessment was pending. When they spoke to Grace on the phone they said they would invite Mark to be involved. They did not specifically say that they couldn't act without his agreement. To clarify, the GP referred William to the NHS hospital paediatrician, who then referred him to the autism team.

Strange question I know but how blunt are you prepared for me to be in my response?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Very blunt! We need help, especially in the light of Ellie Butler's death at the hands of her father, because of professionals' unwillingness to act. Go for it Clare, l won't be offended.

Yes Ellie's case should make everyone pause for thought (it wont but it should)

In this case I have to be honest - your daughters needs to change her approach massively to ensure that the next time it goes back to court - which it will - she has a better chance of success.

Stop keeping the detailed diary - in fact its existence is causing more harm than good as it suggests that there is a witch hunt in place - and give her ex much more sympathy that he deservesI am aware that this is not the case - but perception is important I am afraid

One of the problems the court has is working out the difference between what is different parenting approaches and what is abuse.

Equally she needs to stop allowing her ex to push her buttons - if she does not react to some of the issues her ex will stop doing them - they are about upsetting her and nothing else

Your grandson will not starve if he is hungry at school and neither the haircut nor the wrong clothes will actually hurt him - so your daughter should not take food in and not raise the dressing issues nor the haircut.

I understand that what he calls the step mother is an issue - but Mummy is just a word - he only has one real mummy and that is all that is important. Simply smile and suggest that he calls her "mummy ann /jane/whatever"

Concentrate only on the medical issues at this stage

The hospital is wrong - they do not need the father's permission to move forward - only if there was a Prohibited steps order would there be a problem.

The failure to give him prescribed medication and use prescribed creams is a real issue

Your daughter shoudl instigate a communications book for medical issues only.

In that she shoudl record any medication that is required to be used whilst he is with his father - by photocopying the prescription and sticking it in -and simply using the words - for your information, I last gave/ used the medication at xxxx please confirm when you have done so.

In dealing with her son and the unkindness he has suffered she shoudl let him speak then simply say "never mind you are home now" and move on

With regard to the Autism assessment again she should deal with this in the communication book

A simple statement such as

"medical professionals suspect that w has either ADHD or ASD. The school need to know in order to give him the help he needs.

Please confirm that you will co-operate with the assessment."

Nothing more nothing less.

Help your daughter and grandson build a life where his father is no longer the core around which they function and that what happens at Dad's is simply a minor distraction form an otherwise happy life.

In just three years time the wishes of your grandson will be of greater importance to the court.

there is much you and your daughter can do to minimise the distress caused by the child's father - starting with stopping the diary.

Please ask if you need further details

Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** why l contacted you, to get a fresh brain to review things. I appreciate your detailed, useful response and it is extremely helpful. (FYI, keep the diaries for myself, they're not seen by anyone's a way for me to deal with the situation).
Many thanks again, what you've said is great!
With best wishes,

Then by all means still keep them - but do NOT tell your daughter and grandson - and do not ask questions.

Foster a position where what has happened snot the first thing that is asked !

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
PS: the emojis were a round of applause and a thumbs up!