Indirect contact with alienated child deemed ‘grooming’ behaviour by rape counselling service

In a current case where a mother has alleged that father has sexually abused his two children, the elder of the children (a girl aged 7) was referred for trauma therapy. The rape service therapist concluded that the child showed evidence of severe trauma, on the basis that she was angry in play therapy. The child made no allegations to the therapist.

The therapist concluded that the child should have no contact with the father, without meeting him or being provided with the case papers. The social worker halted plans for the reintroduction of direct contact following this advice.

After several months the social worker started planning for indirect contact. The rape counsellor was critical of the social worker for not taking seriously the alleged allegations of the child (these had never been repeated to anyone other than the mother, including the Police, Children’s Services, paediatrician etc) and concluded that the plans for indirect contact were tantamount to grooming behaviour by Children’s Services.

Parental alienation was not considered and there was no evidence that the practitioner was PA-aware. The children did not see their father for 16 months.