Protecting a child from a potential abuser

Michael is acting for a Mother in care proceedings regarding her daughter, a young teenager, where the Mother’s husband is the child’s stepfather.

The case is concerned with recent allegations made against him by the husband’s own children (now adult) of historical sexual and physical abuse when they were children and young adults. He denies all allegations.

In this case, the husband, as stepfather without Parental Responsibility, is a not a party to the proceedings, but he has been granted permission to intervene.

The Mother has separated from her husband, but remains in a relationship with him until the outcome of the Fact Finding Hearing. The Local Authority is worried that she does not accept their concerns or the alleged risks her husband may pose to her daughter.

The matter is listed for a Fact Finding Hearing to deal with the historical allegations against the mother’s husband. In the meantime, the child is in foster care and both the mother and the step father are having supervised contact. The mother seeks the return of her daughter to her care as soon as possible, and this is also the child’s wish.

The mother is a foreign national who has lived in this country for many years and, although jurisdiction is not an issue, the authorities in the country of her birth are involved to the extent that, if the alternative is foster care in this country, there is the possibility of the child being placed with relatives there. This would be strongly opposed by the mother as the child has never lived in that country, and does not speak the language. The matter is ongoing, awaiting the outcome of the Fact Finding Hearing.