Question: Which is worst? Being punched between the legs. Being elbowed between the legs. Being kneed between the legs. Being kicked between the legs.

pexels-photo-221164.jpegAll of these are very painful experiences regardless of who the assailant is. The same can be said for having a relationship with one’s children severed. It does not matter who cuts the ties: whether it is the state or an ex. It still hurts like hell but sadly some people just do not appear to be able to grasp this.

Cafcass produce a Concerns and complaints factsheet and a complaints and compliments procedure. Both are available here:

https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/contact-us/feedback-complaints-adults/

Cafcass (Cymru) produce ‘A guide to complaints’. This can be accessed here:

http://gov.wales/docs/cafcass/publications/161216AguidetoComplaintsen.pdf

Cafcass tell us that:

‘If you are unhappy or want to make a complaint, it is very important that you let us know as soon as possible and before the court makes its decision. It can be very difficult to put things right after the court has made its decision and your case has been closed.’

We wonder whether Cafcass prefer to tell people about their wonderful sense of gallows humour rather than behave in a humane and caring way which is not degrading towards their tax paying clientele. The people who pay their wages and fund their pensions. I know that many of you will find Cafcass’s quoted statement very upsetting indeed and for very good reasons. Let me explain why.

It tells  us a great deal about the ethos of Cafcass and its apparent lack of empathy for its service users when they print such glib and derisory tripe.  I say this because, we are not taken in by slick marketing, PR and the smell of wet gloss paint so we have asked service users to tell us exactly how much time Cafcass have actually been allowed by the organisation that, the above quote would have us believe, actually cares. Bear in mind that receiving your Cafcass report is just the start. The next steps take a lot of  time and effort. Once arrived, one must read them then process frequently very upsetting and emotional contents, get advice, iron out any discrepancies with Cafcass and attempt to do exactly as Cafcass advise. i.e  ‘… put things right’ before ‘the court has made its decision and your case has been closed.’

Here’s where the plan comes unstuck. 58% of the 33 service users that responded to our mini-survey received their reports  from Cafcass literally within one working day of the hearing and 15% of them did not receive their reports until the actual day of the hearing itself !!

Apart from being extremely shoddy, insulting and offensive, when Cafcass print such hollow and insensitive nonsense (using an infantile pre-school font) it creates an impression of a cold and cynical organisation that literally could not give a monkey’s and enjoys making fun of vulnerable people by kicking them when they are down and struggling. Whether the Cafcass hierarchy are aware of this and turn a blind eye to it or whether it happens away from view. It does not really matter. It is scandalous that it happens on their watch.

Well, just in case any Cafcass workers read this, this is what your colleagues in other departments of the Ministry of Justice have said about the severance of a relationship between a parent and a child. Sir James Munby seems to understand exactly how impactful this life event can be and he had this to say about the severance of a parent’s relationship with their children.

‘…it must never be forgotten that, with the State’s abandonment of the right to impose capital sentences, orders of the kind which judges of this Division are typically invited to make in public law proceedings are amongst the most drastic that any judge in any jurisdiction is ever empowered to make.’

It simply does not matter who commits such a draconian and harmful act. It is just as painful and devastating whether this is done by the state or an ex-partner. As when being struck between the legs: it hurts like hell regardless of who does the striking.

When natural parents or foster parents loose children in public law there is a great deal of social working research that documents and appreciates the trauma and pain involved. For some unknown reason there seems to be a paucity of research and understanding when this occurs in private law. It is simply unacceptable for one human to treat another human so abysmally. Anyone doing this should be ashamed and any so called ‘professional’ that does not want to get rid of those bad apples to stop themselves and others being contaminated should also hang their heads in shame.

P.s How many organisations and bodies will have also noticed this but chose to say absolute zero? For shame on you.