In a judgement issued recently from Dumfries Sheriff court the sheriff concluded that a mother had made a false allegation of rape against a father in connection with a contact dispute (para 76).
Comment by FNF Scotland national manager, Ian Maxwell:
“This is a thorough analysis over 61 pages by Sheriff Mohan of the facts and circumstances of the events which led to the relationship between a father and his children being abruptly severed and fundamentally damaged.
While we understand that the mother in this case was suffering from severe depression, it is regrettable that her own family, friends and professional agencies saw their role as supporting “her plan to leave with the children” and adding to it, rather than finding ways in which both parents and children could be supported to deal with her depression and other material stresses.
However, in the context of the current Scottish Government review of family law, this case illustrates the importance of early findings of fact where serious allegations are made by one parent against the other. It also stresses the importance of objectively assessing the authenticity of the expressed views of children about contact with their parents after separation, especially where extremely hostile views have replaced a previously comfortable and affectionate relationship overnight. Sheriff Mohan questioned the credibility of the letters written by the children in this case.
This is not the first case where the intervention of a support agency has been found by a sheriff to have added to the sort of psychological and emotional damage on children that it was purporting to protect them from.
Sheriff Mohan has ordered that contact between the father and his extended family and his children be restored and we wish all of those involved well in recovering from the damage they have suffered.1 like