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Parental Responsibility for convicted perpetrators?

I am the mother of two daughters who have been sexually abused. My eldest was the abusers step daughter and my youngest is the abusers natural daughter. My eldest was able to give evidence against the abuser in court and he has been convicted on several serious counts under the sexual offences act. Whilst my youngest daughter did disclose sexual abuse to the police and a social worker, she was too afraid and emotionally confused to give formal evidence to the police and no charges have been bought in relation to her.

I understand that it is quite common for more than one child in a family to have been abused but the offender may not be charged (for various reasons) with all of the offences relating to each child. I also understand that many children do not disclose at all.

I have a number of horrors relating to our experiences, which I am currently investigating and may need your help with but for now I would like to know why provisions are not made under the Childrens act 1989/2004 to protect ALL children from a sexual predator.

Currently it seems that the offender in our case will not be able to work with children, adopt or foster (he is on the sexual offenders register indefinitely) but he still has parental responsibility and can exercise his rights with his vulnerable daughter even from his prison cell. Child sexual predators rarely offend once and are one of the highest reoffending categories, that appears to be understood generally, so why does he still have automatic rights with his own child, which are terribly hard to remove? Why do we have to suffer any more stress and upsets in courts?

Having to witness first hand how much damage is caused by sexual abuse (self harm, depression, suicidal thoughts, nightmares, bed wetting, urinal infections, desire to have a baby, low self esteem, drinking problems, poor school performance, promiscuity, isolation, to name but a few my children have actually been through) and having understood the tactics, desires and lack of conscience of this type of offender, I can’t understand why it has not been mentioned or catered for in the Childrens act.

I don’t understand how most children are automatically protected by the sexual offenders register but under family law, carers have to go back to court (suffer the extended stress and invariably pay huge associated costs) to protect children where parental responsibility or access are in place. Offenders tend to make any attempts to protect particularly difficult I understand and there are few guarantees that an application will be successful. Parental responsibility should be automatically removed in cases such as these, as should any access rights. The protection of children from predators should be consistent throughout British law.

I know that this might upset a child but child sex offenders leave very few nice choices for people to make. I would like to point out that if any type of contact, relationship or rights are allowed to continue between my daughter and her father, that he will manipulate anything to his full ability as that is what most child sexual offenders are rather good at, a recognised fact of child sexual abuse. Even if she escapes further sexual abuse in the short term, what damage happens when she is an adult or if she has children of her own? I ask what good, long or short term, can come of any continued relationship (direct or indirect) orparental responsibility with a child sexual offender? Surely any perceived short term benefit to a child is completely negated by the high physical and emotional risks to that child or future children? We know that children can be groomed remotely, as can adults and predators can plan for months and years to get any advantage with people they see as potentially beneficial.

My daughter does miss her dad but she misses her idealised version of what a dad should be, not the reality of what he truly offers her. She is also frightened of him and still very confused by his grooming and lies. He has damaged her understanding of what love is and her estimate of her own self worth. She hopes he will change in prison but he is still denying his guilt. I understand my daughters feelings are common. I can only say that watching my daughter go through this is like being told you have breast cancer. In order to get better you have to make the horrific decision to remove the breast and suffer the emotional and physical pain of it. If you don’t remove the breast, matters will get a lot worse. There are no good, nice options, only tough choices but in seeing the damage the abuse has caused to my children, I know there is only one option. I know that if the confusion he has created in her is allowed to manifest further, she will suffer a lot more. The message needs to be clear, child sexual abuse is absolutely wrong, hugely damaging and no ‘parental relationship’ is worth tolerating the damage for.

Do you have any investigations under way into these matters or are you expecting any changes to the law? If not, how do I go about getting these matters investigated? It seems that criminal and family law are not working together on this hugely dangerous and profoundly unjust matter.

I really appreciate your responses and I apologise if the tone of my email is difficult. As you can understand I am very distressed at present. Any comments can be sent to info@mosac.org.uk and they will be passed onto me.

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