A temporary interlude during which it is once more business as usual, and help is needed in respect of a domestic violence case.
This one is a friend of a friend, and someone who seems in need of a helping hand through the family courts. Probably a legal expert with experience of custody, domestic violence and non-white community issues.
So here’s the story. I can do no more than relate it here. Anyone who makes contact and is eventually introduced to the individual must make up their own mind about the appropriate help to give.
It begins, as it so often so wearily does, with domestic violence, separation and not much help. Apparently, when dv goes on “within certain communities”, this is not something the police get too involved in. Or at least not five or six years back.
The individual has a son, not quite 9 now. She left with him and then, in an initial court hearing, a judge agreed that her ex-partner should obtain supervised access to the boy. Her address would not be disclosed.
Then another judge got involved. He clearly is no fan of the concept of domestic violence, has little understanding of how it can disable and paralyse perfectly rational individuals. And there is the usual mix of characters in the plot. Some who believe her and her concerns. Others – including one individual in a position of some power at CAFCASS – who just don’t.
Between that individual and the judge she has, she tells me, endured abuse in court (from the judge), had her address disclosed and expert evidence disbelieved: she is also trying to cope with the fact that on one recent unsupervised visit (yes, the judge decided supervision was no longer necessary), her ex hit her son.
Reported to police and social services: nonetheless, the judge reckons she may be making it all up. As one does.. .
What I think is needed here is someone who understands the law and legal systems involved to provide a helping hand pro bono. Drop me a line (just go google for my e-mail address) and I’ll pass on details/make the introductions.
I can do no more in this instance than relay information given me by the victim. But I am working on two principles: she clearly sounds as though she is close to breaking (and has received no help from other agencies); and when a woman speaks of domestic abuse, I think the first duty of the legal system is to listen and support.