Q: We have a situation in our house appertaining to our son, Tom… and his [...]
Ask Jackie: How can I protect my grandchildren?Created by Jackie Highe in Ask Jackie
Q: I am a grandmother who has been refused access to her grandson (4 months old). The reason being is because my elder daughter and I reported his father to the police for domestic violence as he had given her sister, my daughter a black eye, whilst she was pregnant with his child.
Our reason for reporting this was that my first grandchild, who has been predominantly raised by me (as my my daughter was living with me at the time) was living with her mother and him. As you can imagine since my grand daughter is not his, we were worried that she would get caught up in the violence. Social services intervened and until they could assess the case my granddaughter was left with me.
Obviously my daughter denied everything and four months later she was back with her daughter and him. She blamed me for ruining her life and relations have been strained since. So when her son was born, she was told by her present boyfriend that I was not allowed to see him unless I wrote a letter stating that my allegations against him were untrue and that whatever occurred in the future would not be his fault. I refused and have therefore forfeited my right to see my grandson. I want to know if there is anything I can do in order to be able to see him.
My granddaughter comes to stay with us every weekend, and sometimes longer, since she is so used to me and I adore her.
I feel so helpless because he has taken my silence as a sign of weakness and has further alienated my daughter, from her whole family. The most recent scenario resulted in her obtaining a broken shoulder, inflicted by him. She however lied and forgot what she had told each one of us, on how the injury was obtained and thus rendering her story a lie.
Social services were given an anonymous call but they too have failed in doing their statutory duty of investigating and was told by my daughter “to stay out of her business”. I want to save my daughter from her violent relationship and just to give you the brief history, her first boyfriend (my granddaughter’s father) was violent too and due to this the child was on the children at risk register for sometime.
I know there is a lot to take on in this email and has many issues but I hope you can assist me by giving me some advice on how to proceed.
A: Social services can’t stay out of her business – they’re bound by law to act in the best interests of the child, and it seems that there are two children at risk here. Speak to them again, stay calm, tell them you want to maintain access – they’re statutorily obliged to promote family closeness and in your case you’ve been the stable influence in the lives of both children. The fact that they left your granddaughter with you during the assessment proves that they think so. They also have a duty to mediate between you and your daughter.
Don’t lose your temper or accuse them of neglecting their duty. Anger won’t help you here. You might need to discuss things with a specialist solicitor. There’s also the number of the Children’s Ombudsman in your local phone book.