LEGAL EAGLE: Concerns for daughter when she’s with her ‘violent’ father

My husband and I have been separated for two years and we have a five year old daughter together.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 12:00 am
My daughter has returned from contact this weekend saying she does not want to go anymore as she is scared and that her dad had pulled her arm and hurt her.

He was very physically violent towards me and he would always insult and swear at me.

I felt controlled in the relationship and was too scared to report anything to the police who were eventually called due to an incident at a supermarket where he pushed me whilst I was holding our daughter and I fell.

The police arrested him and helped me obtain a restraining order against him.

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There is now a Child Arrangements Order where my husband was granted contact twice a month over the weekend. My daughter has returned from contact this weekend saying she does not want to go anymore as she is scared and that her dad had pulled her arm and hurt her.

I am very concerned about my daughter’s wellbeing and safety but I don’t know if I can stop the contact when there is a court order in place. What can I do?

I am sorry to hear about your situation. Breach of a court order is very serious as this is a contempt of court and you may be fined, imprisoned, ordered to undertake unpaid work or pay compensation.

If you have not already done so, you need to contact the police and social services so they can look into the situation and assess if there are any safeguarding concerns and speak to your daughter.

You should also notify your husband and see if an alternative solution can be agreed for him to have contact with your daughter.

If an agreement cannot be reached before he is due to have contact and you are concerned for your daughter’s safety, then you need to make an urgent application to court to vary your existing Child Arrangements Order otherwise you will be in breach of that order and your husband can make an application to court to enforce it and you may be held in contempt of court.

The court’s primary consideration is your daughter’s welfare and it has the power to vary the existing order or keep it in place if it is in your daughter’s best interests. You will need to explain to the court your safeguarding concerns.

You may also be eligible for legal aid if you have been the victim of domestic abuse.