Jackie* (not her real name) had been in a physically, emotionally and verbally abusive relationship with her ex-partner and was still being subjected to controlling and verbally abusive behaviour, mainly focused around the handover of, and contact with, the couple’s two children.
Jackie remained afraid of her former partner. He exerted control over her by choosing when he wanted child contact, as well as abusing her over the phone when he was ostensibly calling to talk to the children.
We first met Jackie when we helped her to obtain a Non-Molestation Order against the same partner who subsequently made an application for contact with the children.
Earlier this year, CAFCASS filed a Section 7 Report recommending that the children’s father have supervised contact with them at a Contact Centre. Jackie agreed to this, and the children were happy to meet and build a relationship with him.
Meanwhile, he denied the allegations of abuse. However, during the Fact-Finding Hearing, five of the six allegations made by Jackie were found to be proven and it was ordered that the father have only indirect contact with the children via FaceTime, once a week for 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, this did not stop the verbal abuse during the calls and, with the client’s safety in mind, the Contact Centre began to assist with supervision.
Shortly afterwards, the court made a final Child Arrangements Order for the father to have contact with the children, in which the handover was supervised by the Contact Centre so that the need for him and Jackie to communicate was removed.
Should the need to discuss the children arise, there is a handover book for Jackie and the children’s father to use in which they can leave comments, further limiting any contact between the two parties and enabling Jackie to move on with her life free of the fear of abuse.