Three children have been taken into care after a Family Court judge ruled they had been abused by their father.
In Lancashire CC v C (Allegations of Abuse), the family lived in Yorkshire until 2013, when the mother left the father and took the children with her.
Shortly after the move to Lancashire, the local authority took the children away from the mother after she was found to be neglecting them. She did not challenge the move and the children were placed into foster care together. However, they soon began to display “sexualised behaviour”, which became such an issue that “it proved necessary to move the children to separate placements”.
The children made allegations of physical and sexual abuse against their father. While the mother claimed to believe the children’s accusations she denied any knowledge of the sexual abuse. She did, however, admit that she was aware of violence against the children. The local authority disagreed, and alleged that she “must have been aware of [the sexual abuse which] was going on”.
Sitting at the Family Court in Preston, His Honour Judge Duggan noted that the mother had “made consistent allegations against the father of physical abuse” alongside those made by her children. He said that he had “no reason to disbelieve” her, as a lot of her accusations were backed up by the children’s interviews with police and social workers.
Overall, the judge found “the children’s account to be compelling” as all three of them told consistent stories. He found that the father “did expose the mother to physical and sexual abuse in front of the children”. He also ruled that the father had assaulted the children, exposed them to inappropriate content online and had engaged in “indecent touching”.
Lastly, Judge Duggan found that the mother was not present for, nor was she aware of, the sexual abuse. Each of his findings was made on the balance of probability, which is the level of certainty required in family law hearings.
The judge ruled that “the emotional and physical safety of the children would be jeopardised to a wholly unacceptable degree” if they were to be placed into the father’s care, so he made care orders in favour of the local authority. He also granted them permission to refuse contact between the father and children.
To read the full judgment, click here.