In this series, we are exploring the way the new and extended definition of Domestic Violence is being used in its early stages. This case study follows the story of Mina and Mohammed and their three children, as social services follows their processes to investigate possible emotional abuse as defined by the new legislation.
Mina is still trying to find a solicitor. The Local Authority have given her the name of a solicitor today, but she is not local and Mina, already distrusting of the Local Authority, decides it would be more impartial for her to find her own. She has managed to get an appointment with a local solicitor who can see her in the next 48 hours. She is concerned that a hearing may be taking place soon, but no one has furnished her with any information. She is worried she will not be able to prepare in time if there is and wonders whether she will get a fair hearing.
The support worker has now moved into the family home, after initially only being there part time. Mina is told by the support worker that some paperwork needs to be filled out and that she will have them sent over this evening. The paperwork doesn’t arrive. Mina asks the support worker why the paperwork hasn’t been delivered yet. She doesn’t explain but says she will be given it in the morning. A little while later, the support worker tells Mina that she will now have to go to the Local Authority offices to collect the paperwork herself in the morning.
Mina and Mohammed have a history of domestic violence. Mohammed has carried out acts of domestic violence in the past against Mina and the children have been affected by this, too. There have been no recorded incidents of physical violence since 2011. The Local Authority are now seeking an interim care order, with a view to placing the children in foster care. Mina says the abuse in the home diminished from physical violence to emotional abuse and says that now, there is no abuse at all. Mina does not agree with the most recent interpretation of her communication with Mohammed, by the Local Authority.
The Local Authority take the view that the recent disagreement, which is what they have based their care order on, between Mina and Mohammed is a sign of emotional abuse. The Local Authority also perceive deficiencies in Mina’s parenting. Mina disagrees. There are contrasting views as between Mina and the Local Authority about the interpretation of certain events which are alleged to have happened. Mina says the Local Authority has misunderstood or fabricated certain events. Her view is that Mohammed has improved and is no longer abusive. The Local Authority disagrees. They feel Mohammed is still controlling the family home and Mina through emotional abuse and they perceive a risk of physical violence.
Mina has been placed on antidepressants.