End of my rope
I’m a father with an 11 year old daughter. It’s now been 17 months since I’ve seen or heard from her.
Apologies for the length of this email.
In the summer of 2021 my existing court order from 2017 that gave me weekend access every other week plus half the school holidays was broken on numerous occasions. It eventually reached a point in Dec 21 that I felt the need to take action against my ex in the form of a C79 for breaching our existing child arrangements order.
My ex has a very controlling / bullying manner with our daughter. ( and anybody else for that matter ) This manifested into an unhealthy obsession with our daughters education. It would take too long to list the many examples that were of serious concern, but it was enough for me to contact the NSPCC and several mental health organisations, I also began recording conversations between mother and daughter that took place when she was staying with me.
On the occasions I was denied weekend / school holiday access, on many it would be my daughter that was made to call or message with the excuse to cancel her visit. October 2021 proved to be the last time I saw / heard from my daughter to date.
In Dec 21 I applied to the family courts for a C79 in which I stated the reasons : refusing access, refusing calls, not doing any of her half of the journey to bring / return our daughter on her visits, all part of the original court order ( we live 80 miles apart ) I also mentioned in my summary that my daughter was often coerced into lying with bullying tactics from her mother in the reasons / excuses for not visiting.
On the 19th Jan 22 I received my letter from the court with documents and hearing date enclosed. My ex received her copy on the same afternoon, I know this because she sent me a text saying “ I shouldn’t have done this “ on the same day.
I now know, on the very same day ( Jan 19th ) she took our daughter to her local GP where allegations of a sexual nature where made against me toward our daughter. The following day my daughter was visited in school by the police and again 2 days later she was formally interviewed at the police station.
Fast forward to mid March 22, at which point I’m still unaware of these allegations, I get a hand delivered letter asking me to contact a detective at my local police station, it only states it’s regarding my daughter on the letter. I call and talk to this detective who still doesn’t divulge what it’s about and arranges for me to come in for a voluntary interview the following Thursday.
My C79 court hearing is due to take place 2 days before this, on the Tuesday. On the Monday I get a package in the post. It’s from my ex’s solicitors. Inside this package is a 100 page plus booklet with all the details of the allegations along with her own counter to my C79 ( sorry I forget the document number ) basically asking the court to sever all my ties with my daughter. So now I know why I’m being interviewed by the police and have all this information from her solicitor to process as the next morning is my court appearance. ( via zoom due to Covid ) I email the court explaining all this, and request we postpone the hearing. I get a reply saying I should still attend the zoom hearing and that the judge has been made aware of my request.
The next morning the court video zoom takes place. As well as the judge there is a woman from childrens services. They proceed to discuss matters, though never once mentioning I’m the one that initiated court proceedings. It’s decided, due to the childrens services representative that our existing child arrangements order from 2017 be amended denying me any access in person or by telephone until we reconvene.
I should mention that I’m representing myself, I’ve not the funds to afford a solicitor for my court proceedings and likewise for the police interview. I turned down there offer of a duty solicitor too as I felt it was unnecessary as I’d done nothing. After 2 cancellations by the detective due to his workload, my interview took place the following week. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but having never stepped foot inside a police station prior to this, I can tell you it was both horrifying and terrifying. The room was tiny, it’s all very intimidating and the first 15 minutes I felt almost incapacitated with fear. The interview lasted an hour and thankfully I was able to play some recordings I’d made between mother and daughter that showed the control she has over our daughter and how scared she is of her mother. I’d also had enough time to read several times all the info sent from her legal representative which showed the allegations were made the very same day she learnt I was taking her to court.
The police contacted me later to say no charges were being made against me. I’ve tried every Avenue to get some legal assistance as I’ve learnt that I’m out of my depth. I’m terrified that the court will rule against me. I sent a memory stick to the court, with recordings clearly showing the controlling / bullying taking place, they returned the usb stick with a letter stating they can’t accept them.
I’ve written long detailed letters to 2 detectives, the one that interviewed me ( he’s no longer working for the police ) and to the female detective that interviewed my daughter on 2 occasions, she replied saying as the case was closed she couldn’t help.
To say this has taken a toll on me is an understatement. I have days where I just want to give up, I am angry at everyone all the time, I have road rage, the way I act with my partner at times makes me ashamed. But I’m a grown up, it’s the damage to my daughter that’s of great concern. She has a network of aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents whom have all been severed from her life. Her mother has remarried but neither have any extended family in the UK.
I don’t doubt that my ex suffers with some form of mental illness / personality disorder, her irrational and controlling behaviour alongside raging tantrums are all hallmarks of such conditions.
I’ve just obtained a copy of my police investigation via the freedom of information act, I’ve proof via recordings of her controlling / bullying tactics and documented evidence I’ve contacted the NSPCC and several mental well-being charities on behalf of my daughter, I just need help to present this in the courtroom.
My ex whom I will describe as a control freak and a bully to our daughter
I can't help with the legal side of things I'm afraid, hopefully others will do that, but I would suggest that you see your GP about getting counselling for your anger, it's perectly understandable the way you feel, but counselling will help you to manage that so you don't hurt those who matter to you.
Sorry to hear about the problems your facing. I have sent you a private message to get better idea about your court situation.
Thats a very sad story and its not surprising you feel as you do. Have you spoken to the school. If you are on your daughter's birth certificate you are entitled to receive school reports etc. You could also contact a domestic abuse charity. There could be a small one local to you which you can find by googling. If not, then ManKind might be able to help or you could call the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men.