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Mother Not Allowed to Make Allegations of Abuse Which She Had Previously Withdrawn

Family and Child Law

In the case of Re W (children) (withdrawal of allegations of abuse) [2012], The Court of Appeal ruled that a judge was correct in not allowing a mother to re-open allegations of abuse after previously withdrawing them.

This case was in respect of the care of two children after the separation of their parents.  The father applied for a residence order for the children.  The mother made serious allegations of abuse against the father.  A fact finding hearing was arranged during which it was noted that if the allegations were found to be true, the father would lose contact with his children.  The mother did not want the children to lose contact with their father and withdrew the allegations.  A consent order was agreed noting that the mother had withdrawn her allegations and these could not be resurrected.  The father’s residence order was dismissed and contact arrangements were made.

The mother subsequently attempted an overdose and the children were taken into the care of their father, who once again applied for a residence order.  The mother then sought to raise the allegations of abuse again and also suggested that there was abuse in the conduct of the father with one of the children.  The mother asserted that she had been bullied into withdrawing the allegations by her previous legal team.

The judge ruled that the children had settled with their father and the fact finding hearing had been used as a platform upon which the interests of the children could be cared for.  Any revival of the allegations would not be in the interests of the children.

The mother appealed citing that the abuse had been so serious that the children would be at risk from emotional harm.

The appeal was dismissed.  A long time had passed between the fact finding hearing at which she withdrew her allegations and the date at which she sought to revive them.

Between the hearing and her overdose the mother had allowed contact between the children and their father and had made no complaints about her legal team in that time.  Re-opening the allegations would be detrimental to the children.  The judge had been entitled to make the ruling in light of the mother’s vague assertions and inconsistencies.

Child Law Solicitors and Lawyers Eastbourne, Hailsham, Polegate, East Sussex

If you would like advice regarding children and divorce please contact our Family Law Department for a free initial interview on Eastbourne 01323 727321 or Hailsham 01323 841481.

Nicholas Dennis
Nicholas Dennis
Alexandra Funnell
Alexandra Funnell
Guy Brown
Guy Brown
Carolyn Richards
Carolyn Richards