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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35275
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Background story: my son's (17) girlfriend (17) is from a

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Background story: my son's (17) girlfriend (17) is from a Muslim background. We are technically white, sort of. She planned to run away last year and had support from police & Social Services. Some physical violence occurred a few days before the planned removal and she was taken into foster care under section 20 for the summer (2017). Started school there (year 12) and after 2 weeks her father turned up at the school gates. Promised many things, she felt sorry for parents and wanted to give them a second chance, but also felt pressured by authorities to return. She returned in October, initially to flat with father (claimed he was separated from mother), then all reunited in family home before Christmas. I was in touch with her a lot Oct-Dec by SMS and Whatsapp, trying to prop her up on the basis that Social Services had returned her on an agreement that things would be expected to improve. Two things I didn't know: her phone was monitored daily by father behind her back and the girl not even once in those two months reported to SS that the problems were just as before. The problems are: she is not allowed to see boyfriend, not allowed out alone (except to school), once a month allowed out with Muslim girlfriends, expected to marry man from their culture, no privacy, emotional abuse, often kept from studying for school, not allowed contraception, not allowed to cut her hair. Before she ran away in 2017, the mother had arranged plastic surgery for her.
SS managed to insist that she is allowed to go to Uni, but parents want to force girl to apply to the two Unis in our city. She had a massive crisis when she moved back into family home and realised that the parents had set her up to return to Square One. The father turned up on my doorstep at Xmas (mistakenly thinking I had written to police & SS about them), hurled racial abuse at me and said I had poisoned his daughter's mind. Said that a restraining order won't be anything to him because he can hire people to get me. That same morning there was a meeting with SS and police for which the father provided 'evidence' (harvested from his daughter's phone) that I was a psychopath and they are innocent. That meeting didn't go as he wanted and then he turned up at my door. The effect was that I stopped communicating with her, and she stopped coming to our house (which she had always done in secret, although it is likely that she is tracked). I have not seen her since 1st Jan. SS tried to meet with girl and me (separately), but then changed their mind without reason and cancelled meetings, then met with girl in late January, but only on her request. The problem is that she is so frightened that she doesn't tell them anything and even lies to cover for her parents. She realises that authorities have a professional obligation to intervene which means she cannot ask anyone any questions. She had a word with a teacher about Uni application (student loan etc) and decided to run away after A Levels in 2019 and disappear for a year. She would then qualify for maintenance loan without parents' input, as long as she has had no contact for 12 months. SS are still on the scene, although they said in January they would wrap up the case, but the Uni concern, plus a mysterious request (from the girl) to have the block on her passport removed, have raised a few red flags recently. SS are now saying that they want to monitor that she goes to a Uni she chooses. They think they can persuade the parents somehow but there is no way. The girl is silent and says nothing. Doesn't even ask questions because she fears that would reveal her problems. But fears that SS interfering makes her situation worse, as usual. The parents have now announced that they want her to have absolutely no contact with my son. Not in school (haha) and not by messaging.
So, my son and her want to run away next year. Obviously I'm worried. This puts three people in danger.
I feel I can't go to SS or police. SS would enter something in case notes which can be obtained by parents via FOI. Police dislike What If questions.
The questions: (i) she will be 18 when she runs away. It's likely there is no physical violence beforehand. If she reports emotional abuse and coercive & controlling behaviour to police at the point of running away, what are they likely to do, how can they protect people. Is the bot***** *****ne the usual 'call 999 if you are in danger' or can there be more. Would they keep her phone and sim card and monitor it? (unlike last summer - big fail in my mind: much psychological damage done!)
(ii) Will have sticking it out for almost two years weakened her case?
(iii) If what she tells them amounts to a crime, and they ask the usual 'do you want to prosecute?', what does that actually mean? What does this look like, would she need to show evidence (she has zero privacy), does it go to court (who pays?), who protects them (and me) in the meantime, what is the likely outcome. There is a smaller brother, age 9. Problem is that there are two people: mother is the emotional abuser. The father enforces stuff outside, gets information, plans and schemes, checks her phone, has 'clever friends who can find her anywhere' or who can track her movements/monitor phone etc (may be real, or may be hollow threats). Still unclear how he found her in foster care. Initially he claimed he paid someone. Then retracted once SS needed a reason.
(iv) Would attack be the best defense and prosecute, because otherwise we are three sitting ducks?
(v) I have considered myself to take these people to court, but have no finances to do so. And little evidence. A lot of verbal information, but lots of written messages from her too. And lots of second hand info through my son. The two of them have a habit of doing voice calls when it gets bad, so that hides a lot of information.
(vi) do SS actually have any power to intervene with Uni choice if girl says it's all fine but they suspect she is being silenced, as she has had conversation with teacher?
(vii) would Police support escape preparation or is there nothing to be expected once you are 18?
She cannot be persuaded to go to foster care this summer.
Feeling very angry and powerless.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
She will be 18 in december

My name is Clare

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

Is there any reason why she will not just leave home now?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
She has two reasons. One is that she is afraid of putting too many people in danger and she somehow thinks that would be better in a year's time. The other is that she knows she will be accuses of having destroyed her family. In my opinion neither of these reasons is going to go away but she thinks that after having finished school that is a more natural point of leaving and she can justify it to herself at least. Also, she hated foster care and she risks a different school syllabus if she leaves now

Ok

What makes you fear that SS would include your details in an FOI request?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I can probably request that it is not disclosed. But they will not discuss the case with me. I was thinking that I could write to them anonymously in general terms about handling cases where victims are afraid to talk.
I have only had contact with children's services twice, very briefly. The first time the social worker said the exact opposite of another social worker and the police. The second time the social worker was uncooperative ans patronising. That doesn't do a lot for trust.
I don't think they have a clear idea of the danger of the situation and therefore would perhaps not take the necessary steps to keep people's identities secret.

I can understand your concerns.

assuming that this young lady is certain she will not be forced abroad in the interim then the replies to your queries are as follows:-

i. To be honest if she is already safe then it is unlikely that the police will take any action against her parents

ii. See above

iii. It is essentially asking if she wants to take it further

1v. Once she is 18 her parents have no further rights (indeed they have none now) and any harassment can be reported to the police wh can then prosecute

v. Unless they are harassing you then there is no action that you can take I am afraid

vi. Social Services will only offer her the chance to leave. Her only real option is simply to apply to the universities she prefers using your address to do so

vii. As an adult she can simply leave so the police will not have any reason to be inovlved

The best way forward is to contact the Charity karma nirvana

https://www.karmanirvana.org.uk/

who are skilled in this area

I hope that this is of assistance

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you. She is too scared to leave because she is told every day that she would be killed if she did. Is this something the police would not take seriously? Would they not put some safeguarding in place on that basis?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Re university. She could apply elsewhere and live through hell during her A levels but there is little point as the parents will simply refuse to sign the maintenance loan agreement in summer. The only way to get around that is if she has had no contact with them for 12 months or if their relationship has irretrievably broken down. Given that she got out and returned and stayed for 20 months she would have a weak case for the latter

The threats to Kill will indeed be taken seriously and she will be helped to leave - Karma Nirvana can help her organise this.

The threats to Kill will show that the relationship has broken down completely

Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you