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Mother banned from contact with daughter after abuse claims

A mother who repeatedly accused her ex-partner of sexual abusing their daughter has been banned from further contact with her.

Sitting at the High Court, Ms Justice Russell noted that due to her “persistent and unsubstantiated” allegations, her four year-old daughter had had to endure multiple “intimate examinations” by doctors. The repeated claims had damaged her relationship with her father she added.

‘B’ lived with her mother following her parents’ separation and the latter had hired a nanny to help with the childcare. The mother had unspecified links to Israel.

Two years ago, after a court concluded that abuse allegations made by the mother had no basis in reality, a family court judge ordered a rare change of residence, sending her to live with her father instead. The courts were then asked to rule on how much contact the mother should have with her daughter.

The father appealed after a judge ruled last year that she should be allowed some contact. Ms Justice Russell has now overturned that decision, saying the woman’s behaviour had caused her daughter clear emotional harm.

The Judge declared:

“When viewed as a whole the harm caused to this child by her mother was significant. Not only was she found to have repeatedly subjected to intimate examinations, solely at the behest of her mother, she was prevented from having  uninhibited relationship (sic) with her father as an infant. On any view, the repeated invasive intimate examinations … were in themselves abusive.”

She continued:

“B is a young and vulnerable child whose first few years of life were blighted by her mother’s irrational, abusive and harmful behaviour.”

The family courts should not hesitate to prohibit contact to protect a child’s welfare or safety the Judge concluded.

You can read the full ruling here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Peter Davies says:

    Most of the reports of this case gloss over or merely sweep a great deal of the substance to this case under the carpet.

    Firstly, after reversing residence, the original judge left the door open CONDITIONALLY for a mother, who had abducted the child and subjected her to a litany of abuse, to renew contact. The conditions are explained in para 41.

    41 This is a case in which there are and have been exceptional circumstances which had, rightly, led the judge, who has conducted the case throughout, to decide that contact should be suspended unless and until there had been an independent assessment of the 1st Respondent and professional intervention to ensure that she did not continue or repeat patterns of behaviour which were harmful to this child. Contact has not been terminated, but should the court ultimately decide that the 1st Respondent is unable or unwilling to behave appropriately and that B would be more likely than not to be subjected to the kind of abusive behaviour she had suffered before the court may conclude that there had to be a termination of direct contact.

    Secondly, THE SAME JUDGE, based upon the recommendations of a new guardian, offering advise that was completely outside her sphere of expertise and competence and who was unfamiliar with the history to the case, altered her earlier decision and in so doing placed a child who had already suffered immensely at an even further risk of harm. The guardian’s advise was in turn based upon a worthless report from a new psychiatrist.

    Thirdly, none of the legal representatives or the judge appear to have noted that the court was being advised by someone that was simply unqualified to do so and had not even read the court files.

    At a time when CAFCASS appear to be unilaterally expanding their area of influence this judgment provides a timely reminder of the limits to the competence of some guardians and family court advisors.

    The mistakes made in this case are simply unacceptable by any standards. A number of people should be collecting their P45’s after such a debacle on a truly grand scale. Our children deserve far better protection.

  2. John Taylor says:

    At last! Some courage and common sense coming into a family law court!

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