The Family Division of the High Court has dismissed a father’s application for contact in a case involving domestic violence.
AB v BB and C, D, E and F concerned a former couple with four children aged between two and six. They had had a “volatile” relationship and the father had been convicted of domestic violence. The father applied for direct or indirect contact and an additional assessment of the risk he might pose if the court felt it did not have sufficient information. The mother opposed his application, with help from Cafcass, and also applied for permission to change the children’s surnames.
Mrs Justice Theis ruled that the welfare of the children must be the paramount consideration and they needed the security and stability provided by their mother. The evidence suggested that the mother’s fears of further violence were genuine and the father’s attitude betrayed a failure to grasp the impact of his behaviour on his wife and children.
There judge also ruled against an an additional risk assessment as the father had shown little evidence of change and the court had take into account the mother’s fear of her former partner, and the impact of her emotional state on her children.
Mrs Justice Theis granted permission for the mother to change her children’s names. Safety was a critical issue and the father had expressed a desire to discover where his former family lived.