Public Domain:

Public Domain:

Failures in Social Services and Family Court fail to assess perpetrators of domestic violence and fail to respond to allegations of abuse, putting the lives of vulnerable children at risk (this article does not specify if the victims are even believed when they speak out).

A recent report by the Family Rights Group (FRG) and the Parenting Fund found that: “..88% of the men surveyed continued to have contact with their children despite often long histories of domestic violence..” Further, men who have found to have a history of abuse not getting needed help or intervention services.

As a result, Cathy Ashley of FRG reports that “Really scary, violent fathers are routinely falling through the gaps in children’s services, putting children who have already been raised in homes where domestic violence was present, at risk of further physical and emotional harm.”  Similarly, divorced fathers who report concerns with the new spouse or boyfriend of the ex have faced challenges with the system failing to protect their children from abuse by the new partner when allegations or warning signs arise.

What is happening? The report concludes the following:

* Social services often ignores or minimizes allegations of abuse. As a result, alleged perpetrators often are not assessed so their parenting ability remains unknown, and children’s lives are put at serious risk of harm.

* Assessments often fail to include important details, or information is missing-suggesting the method of assessment is faulty or the person conducting the assessment is not properly trained. Which also means the results can’t be trusted.This report suggests that female assessors may be intimidated by the abusers. Alternately, I have heard stories of family court staff flirting with abusers or using their sexuality to yield power in the court.

* Programs to help perpetrators of domestic violence are few, and identified perpetrators rarely get help. To be fair, treatment for abusers is highly controversial as so many abusers go to divorce classes, anger management, parenting classes or similar supports and often return to violent or threatening behavior. Very few abusers are actually “cured”.

This is an excellent article that provides valuable information about the failures in the system to protect children but also compels us to look at why this is happening, and what we can do about it.

Source: The Guardian, Thursday 3, February 2011

Title: Children in danger from violent fathers ‘due to social services failures’

Author: Amelia Hill