Where to meet for contact?

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  • #6098 Report



    I had to escape the house with my children in the middle of the night 10 days ago due to my husband’s drunken and aggressive behaviour. This was the last straw following a long long history of on and off drinking, jeckyl and hyde behaviour, lying, downplaying and denials which led me to downplay things myself and believe a lot of it must have been in my mind. My husband is hard working and can be a lovely person when he’s not drinking and to everyone else appears to be a great dad and husband. Only we see the other side of him, usually when he’s been drinking. Come Monday morning it’s like nothing’s happenend. He swears around and shouts at the children and I recently found out from my 9 year old that He leaves them alone at night to go and buy beer when I’m out, walks the streets swigging beer bottles with them trailing behind and drives with them in the car whilst drunk sometimes forgetting to put their seat belts on.

    He came the closest he’s ever been to hitting me 10 days ago, shouted in my face ‘Good!’ when I said he was scaring me,  and then scared my children and myself half to death with his drunken behaviour. We waited for him to pass out on the floor then crept out in our pyjamas and drove to his mums at 1.30am. My oldest son could hardly stand up he was so scared and shaking. Then we had to escape again 36 hours later when his parents told him to come over to their house, told me to leave my children with them, then physically tried to stop me from leaving before he arrived. We fled back to our house to get some things. But whilst there my husband sent me a text telling us to stay at the house and he would stay at his parents’ and he was going to get counselling (after months of me asking him to and him saying there wasn’t a problem). Following the advice of friends and helplines, I did report him to the police due to his threatening behaviour and neglect of the children. His parents are livid but I don’t think he knows I’ve told the police yet. His mum, who originally said I should phone the police 10 days ago and that she was on my side, is now accusing me of making things up and keeping him from seeing the children. She told me I should think myself lucky that he’s letting us stay in our home. His dad has told me I should tell my 9 year old his dad has been ‘a bit naughty ‘ but is better now. I also have asked the GP for emotional support for my kids which has triggered a referral to social services.

    I haven’t even half covered the things he’s done, especially things to put the children’s safety and welfare at risk. Sorry to say but he also has sex compulsions which the children would have been exposed to if I hadn’t intervened, including finding and throwing away half empty bottles of poppers he had been using before the children found them (after begging him countless times to keep the stuff out of the house). Sorry for the long introduction to my question but I think the background is important.

    Anyway, currently, despite the recent events, myself and my sons (9 years and 5 years) are living quite happily and peacefully back at the house without my husband. We aren’t constantly on edge like usual and I feel I have more energy and clarity than I have done in years. However I know this can’t last. Even though the children have said they don’t want to see their dad i know I’ve got to let him see them soon, Probably this weekend. I’m 99.9% sure it’s the end of the road for us and I want to separate permanently – when do I tell him? I certainly can’t trust him on his own with the children again, or even with his parents. So what happens when he has them and I’m not there to intervene and keep them safe. He can stay off alcohol for months and months but if he has one drink due to stress or partying, it all starts again and there is no off switch. I was originally planning to stay with him for another 5 to 10 years until they are old enough to take care of themselves. I can’t get legal aid but have had 30 mins free legal advice. I don’t know whether to get something in place legally regarding contact or even if I can afford it. Do I/can I wait and do this? Do I agree to let him see the children this weekend? If so, where? At home? Somewhere in public?

    Has anyone been in a similar situation? If so, could you offer some advice please? Thank you.

    #6113 Report


    Hi there Butterfly47,

    Thank you for your post and sharing your situation on the forum – welcome to our community.

    It sounds like you’re going through a really challenging time and it’s so important you look after yourself and put you and your family first. Just to let you know, we have a Single Parent Helpline 0808 802 0925, where you can talk to one of our expert advisers on a number of areas including your rights, housing and benefits. Our online advice and information may be useful too – here is a factsheet on looking after your emotional health.

    It sounds like you’re worried about the impact your children’s dad are having on them. We’ve sent you some additional information that we hope you find useful.

    Please continue to use the forum if you find it useful and take care.

    Best wishes,

    Poppy at Gingerbread


    #6149 Report


    I preface this with: I am not a lawyer, I’m just experiencing the system from a similar-ish situation… so this advice just from my own experience.  Always take advice from a lawyer!

    My advice is: keep a record of EVERYTHING.  If the past events are not written down, do it now while you can remember everything.  Dates, times, description of behaviour, list of all the times you’ve contacted social services or the police, incident numbers, all professionals involved with your family.  Keep contemporaneous accounts of all future interactions, written the day they happen.  Negotiate the contact over e-mail so there is a written record of your interactions.  If you have a serious concern, log it with the police so that if you have to call them in an emergency then you can refer to an incident number and save time in the heat of the moment.
    Most importantly, do what is needed to keep your children and you safe.

    It’s possible if there is serious danger you could just stop allowing the contact and he’d have to apply to court to see the children and hence he’d bare the majority of the cost.  However, if there is a serious concern he’ll remove the children from your care (as he legally can) and pose a risk then you’d have to apply urgently for an order that the children live with you and a prohibited steps order.  If you believe there is a serious risk he may do this then it may harm your case by waiting.  However if you can prove you’re taking reasonable steps to keep the children safe in the meantime then you can probably put it off and see how it all plays out.

    Try to think dispassionately about exactly what the risks you are worried about are – perhaps make a table of each risk and list the evidence you have to prove your concern is a reasonable one based on past events.  (Physical and emotional risks both count.)  This will help you decide on what the best option is regarding contact, and enable you to clearly give objective reasons for your decision.

    Think about how you see the contact in the longer term – it’s clear you are worried about the long term cycle of his behaviour.  How do you think the children should manage safe contact in the longer term?  Thinking about this now will help you to present your concerns clearly to him (if appropriate) and also in a court if you end there.

    I don’t know if mediation is appropriate for you or not – if it is then it can work out cheaper.  You can end with a written parenting agreement that you stick to or even have this made into a court order by consent via a solicitor.  The full court route can be slow and incredibly expensive.  You can cut costs if you represent yourself and do all paperwork yourself.  In the worst case, you can end up with up to 3 hearings on the children, and a further 3 on the finances if you can’t agree out of court.  Court process is highly unpleasant and you will be forced to re-live all the worst bits of the last few years and pay through the nose for the privilege.  However, it may be unavoidable.

    Wishing you all the best for a good resolution for you.  So sorry you have had such an awful time.

    #6154 Report


    Good luck to you.

    I just wanted to respond about him saying he’ll go to counselling: if he goes, and you try to make things work, make sure the therapy is appropriate i.e. aimed at abusers who want to become better people, not relationship counselling aimed at couples having relationship difficulties.

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