Mothers Unite UK

Domestic and child abuse in Family Court

Stories from Mothers
The following stories are examples of mothers accounts of what happened to them and their children. They are brief and basic to hide identities. They have all tried to protect their children but could not do so because of the courts inability to recognise, or believe in, abuse. All mothers report having PTSD or CPTSD, some after abuse from ex, many report due to courts actions and treatment during proceedings.

Mother A
Boy age 5 forced into contact with father. Child talks of inappropriate touching and verbal abuse from father. Mother reports to social services who reported concerns. Ignored by family court. Contact ongoing for years, father continuing to abuse mother through child and touching/aggressive towards child.

Mother B
Children refusing to visit father after he became aggressive during contact. Mother forced to self represent. Father represented, solicitors used 'implacable hostility' and father given residenc, mother and children seperated for months then supervised contact. Children over age 11, given no voice and are now suffer trauma and anxiety related problems. Father continued control and abuse of mother through children.

Mother C
Father applied for contact for child he has shown no interest in for years. Child, age 8, forced into contact, father hits and scares her so she refuses to go. Father awarded residence. Mother given supervised contact and accused of being 'hostile'. Child clings to mother and very quiet during contact times.

Mother D
Young children taken from mother and forced to live with abusive father. Supervised contact still ongoing after 2 years, father tries to stop this when possible, obstructs and delays. Children look untidy and missing mother but not heard.

Mother E
Child forced into contact with father. Any reports of distress of child or aggressive behaviour from father not believed. Child showing signs of distress through self harm and not sleeping. Threats of loss of residence given to mother by judge if she continues to 'be hostile' and if contact 'doesn't go well'.

Mother F
Mother left father due to domestic abuse and coercive control. Father applied for contact with child age 9. Child did not want to see father due to his aggressive behaviour. Contact arrangements forced. Child sent to contact for 4 years now and growing to fear weekends with father who has hit and shouted at her on several occasions, and tries to turn her against her mother. Child has mental health issues which mother cannot report for fear it will get back to courts and used against her.

Mother G
Children age 7 and 8 sent to contact as per contact order. Mother expressed concerns of serious abuse from father but ignored. Children reported sexual abuse, not heard, mother accused of 'parental alienation syndrome', residence given to father. Mother allowed small amount of supervised contact. Children reported distressed and upset by school, this is blamed on the mother, even though she has had little contact for nearly a year.

Mother H
Mother left father due to abuse who applied for contact. Mother and children objected, father given residence. Contact between mother and children very limited for years. They left fathers house and went to live with mother near age 16. They had experienced emotional abuse and control from the father for years.

Mother I
Mother lost residence to father when he applied, using past depression and 'hostility' to contact with father due to abuse.  Children unhappy and missing mother who brought them up without concerns for years. Mother not coping well with grief and loss.

Mother J
Mother left father due to serious domestic violence and emotional abuse. Father applied for contact/residence. Mother accused of 'parental alienation', residence reversed to father. Supervised contact for mother broke down due to fathers objections. She has not seen her children for several months.

Mother K
Mother left father due to dometsic violence. DV experts supported her but courts awarded conact, then residence after father threw child across the room and mother reported him to the police. Courts decided she was 'hostile'. Small amount of contact for mother and children allowed, abuse continues.

Mother L
Contact arrangements forced for young child with violent father. Child upset on leaving and coming back, has bruises and looks tired. Mother continues to force child to go to contact due to fears of loss of residence. She suspects but has little evidence of abuse except bruises and behaviour. She feels its pointless in trying to be heard and feels sad she is failing her child.

Mother M
Father given contact with children, mothers concerns not heard. Father refuses to return children, makes up stories about depression and neglect. Mother still fighting in court many months later.

Mother N
Mother left father due to violence and abuse during pregnancy. She has her baby and settles in life raising her child. Two years later father suddenly appeared, applied for contact. Courts state violence 'historical', therefore not relevant. At age 3 child is forced into contact with someone she does not know, becomes very distressed so mother stops contact. Residence is given to father after allegations of 'alienation'. Mother now suffering severe depression and unable to leave house. Contact broke down due to fathers control. Friends report child very withdrawn at school.

Mother O
Children forced to live with father for many years after mother expressed concerns of abuse and tried to protect her children. Children now adults, one is alientated against the mother by the father after telling them she was 'evil' throughout their time with him. One is now living with her mother and refuses to talk about her experiences at any length due to the trauma and abuse from her father while living with him. This included emotional abuse, control, gaslighting, neglect and some physical abuse.

Mother P
Mother and baby flee from domestic abuse to a refuge. Set up home and are free to live away from violence and control from the abuser. Mother reported abuse and has a non molestation order. Father applies for contact two years later. Court eventually says the abuse will not effect the child. She is forced to be taken away from mother with a stranger. Child coming back with bruises and very upset, clingy and tearful for days, waking at night crying when she was previously easy-going and slept well.

Mother Q
Mother leaves due to partners controlling and bullying behaviour towards her and increasingly towards the children. He has an alcohol problem. Children have gone to contact with him but become afraid as he drinks more. Judge asks him not to drink and forces children to contact. Children go until one child is pushed down the stairs by father and sustains serious injuries. Mother has stopped contact. Has not heard from father but fears all the time that he will try again in the future. She is too afraid to go back to court due to the inability of cafcass and judges to show any common sense and protect her children.

Mother R
Children have alternate weekend contact with father. He was coercively abusive during the marriage to their mother. One weekend, father fails to return children from contact. Mother takes it to court expecting them to be returned, to find her ex has made allegations of alcohol abuse and depression against the mother. Cafcass side with father, no contact is ordered until medical records held by court. After several months, Judge rules that the children are now settlled and should stay with the father. Children have told Cafcass they wish to live with their mother. Father has a solicitor, mother has none. Contact is ordered for the mother. After several months, father stops the contact. Mother is too exhausted and has developed illnesses related to stress, and is currently unable to face court again. She secretly keeps in touch with the children through email.

Mother S
Child age 5, autistic, forced to contact with abusive father who shouts, slaps and swears at child, is unable to deal with childs behaviour. Mother not heard, psychologists, teachers and GP all ignored. Childs behaviour becoming unmanageable at school and has changed since contact started. Mother trying to cope, knowing courts will not listen to her.

Mother T
Father is a drug addict and abuses alcohol. He becomes erratic and violent when drunk. Judge awarded him one overnight a week. Child age 6 came back saying his father was falling over and breaking things. Child was injured by father throwing glass. Judge told father not to drink so much during contact but he thought the mother would say anything and exagerate to discredit the father. Child is now learning to keep out of the way of his father when at contact times.

Mother U
Contact awarded to father with convictions for assault. Abusive to mother but no evidence so court assumed it was all lies or 'false beliefs'. Child, age 2 coming back with bruises and upset, habing nightmares, not eating. Father assaults mother when she mentions this during handover. Mother stops contact and goes to court to ask for supervised contact. Police cannot establish enough proof. Father is allowed more contact including overnight. Mother is told she is making up stories. She is devasted and feels she has failed to protect her child even though it was courts decision. She is being treated for PTSD and depression.

Mother V
Serious abuse towards mother during marriage including broken bones, often too afraid to report how injuries occurred. One report with police, injunction applied but had run out. Courts decided abuse is historical and father was sincere in change. Mother ruled 'hostile' after many months in court and 'unable to support contact'. Father awarded contact after contact refused by child. Mother and child have not seen each other for two years due to father obstructing any contact arrangements. Friends and teachers report childs behaviour is considerably changed and very emotional to withdrawn, dissociated and disruptive, when had been previously happy and engaged in life. Social services refused to be involved due to court order and after fathers threatening behaviour towards social worker.