ellesmum wrote: ↑
Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:22 am
I can completely empathise. Her story is by no means unique, unfortunately, and a friend is going through something very similar with her ex husband, albeit in Northern Ireland rather than London.
Has your friend been in contact with her MP? That is a good place to start, as they can put complaints into authorities who are failing to do their jobs properly. I have found my MP (Justine Greening) very helpful in relation to some domestic abuse issues I was/am having.
There is also a One Stop Shop on Monday mornings at St Mark's Church on Battersea Rise, where she can speak to a solicitor, police, social workers, and Victim Support workers all under one roof, which is really useful as it doesn't seem that they are seeing the bigger picture at the moment. Again, I found the One Stop Shop very useful.
In relation to the children, it sounds as though it is a case of abusive Parental Alienation. Whilst some parents, like myself, restrict or prevent access of the other parent to their child out of genuine concern for the child's welfare, there are others who use alienation as a way to continue their abuse. My friend has recently had the involvement of a specialist called Dr Spooner to assess her, her ex, and the children to prove this form of abuse. Like your friend, she hasn't seen 3 of her 4 children for 18 months. Only the youngest currently has contact, which has gradually been increasing.
It really seems absurd that the authorities are completely oblivious to this kind of abuse. Coercive control is an absolutely horrific form of abuse. I am "lucky" that money seems to be my ex's primary concern, so he has shown no interest in pursuing contact with his daughter through the courts, just ensuring that I have access to the absolute minimum financial support he can possibly give, but he put me through far worse when he lived under the same roof. To be honest, with that type of abuse, with no physical marks to show as proof, it just makes you sound crazy and neurotic when you try to explain it to the authorities. I found the police, in particular, incredibly unhelpful, as the male police officer who was sent to speak to me (after I had specifically requested a female) was not trained in cases of domestic abuse, and even admitted that he sometimes pressured and coerced his partner into physical relations against her will - "It's just what we do". Hardly a surprise that so few are convicted of coercive control. The effect it has on your mental health is horrific, though, so also get your friend to seek psychological support. If she falls under Wandsworth Council, they have a great group course called HALT which really helps you get your head around what has happened, and provide support.
I am sorry I can't offer more help. The only other thing I can possibly think of is Rights of Women, who are incredibly hard to get hold of (it took me 150 ish redial attempts to get through to them), or possibly contacting local law schools to see whether they have students who work pro bono. Citizens Advice may also be able to offer some advice.
Good luck to your friend. I hope the judge will be sensible enough to see through this abuser, and ultimately tears into those who allowed it to get to court in the first place. It seems a complete travesty that genuine abuse victims rarely get their day in court, yet abusers seem to be able to manipulate them to do their bidding. It is truly awful.