National Legal Service helps mother secure amicable child arrangements following domestic assaults

National Legal Service helps mother secure amicable child arrangements following domestic assaults

Last year we met Emma* (name has been changed) through the work we do with the National Centre for Domestic Violence.

Emma had faced sustained domestic abuse from her ex-partner, he was also the father of her young daughter. Emma needed our help to get orders from the court for their protection.

A non-molestation order (NMO) had previously been granted for a period of 6 months however abuse including alcohol abuse continued. In the summer of 2019, Emma’s ex-partner assaulted her in front of their child.

The Police attended and charged Emma’s ex-partner, they also changed the locks at Emma’s home however, at this point Emma took no further action.

Unfortunately, a couple of months later he attempted to break into Emma’s property to take the child from Emma’s care, her daughter was thankfully not at the property at the time of the altercation and so he failed. Again, at this point Emma did not press charges not realising she had the grounds to do so.

Just days later Emma was assaulted by her ex, her daughter also suffered injuries in the attack.

This time he was arrested, placed on bail on the condition he did not contact Emma or their daughter.

This is when the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) were contacted and the team at National Legal Service received the referral to help Emma.

Because the ex-partner had previously made threats to remove their daughter and she was also deemed at risk of harm in his care due to the previous assault, an ex-parte prohibited steps order was secured.

The Court directed a section 7 report. In their report CAFCASS recommended that Emma’s ex-partner initially only have supervised contact with their daughter. CAFCASS also recommended that for him to have unsupervised contact he would need to engage in therapeutic work in respect of his alcohol use then unsupervised contact could be arranged on a stepped basis.

CAFCASS recommended the following schedule: –

Initially supervised once per week for 3 hours until the NMO expired.

Following this period, Emma to supervise contact three days a week for a maximum of three hours for four weeks, days to be arranged between the parents

After four weeks the mother to support contact as arranged between the parents

Only once the father had engaged in therapeutic work for a minimum period off 3 months should unsupervised contact be considered.

In this case Emma and her ex-partner were able to agree a schedule of contact based on the CAFCASS recommendations without having to go to a final hearing.

The consent order was agreed and filed with the court, the court approved and sealed the order. During the process we also helped Emma secure a Child Arrangement Order for the child to live with Emma, giving further stability.

We’re happy to report that contact is going well, and the child is able to see both parents amicably.

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