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Stepfather hits son- can we withhold Mothers access if he is present?

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  • Stepfather hits son- can we withhold Mothers access if he is present?

    My partner and I have just found out the his son, 4 years old, is being hit with a shoe repeatedly by his stepfather when he is at his Mothers house. The current arrangement is 50/50, but there has never been a court order deciding this.

    So my partner sent the SF messages telling him politely but firmly to stop hitting his Son, and the SF admitted to it and said he will not stop and that he should hit him as well because he deserves it. Gave us plenty of written evidence of the abuse and seems proud of it.

    We are calling CAS on Monday because he is currently with us so is not in any imminent order, I am wondering if in the mean time we can withhold access. We do not want him to return when his stepfather is there, his stepfather lives with his mother. Can we order the daycare not to allow them to pick him up and withhold unsupervised access until a court order is in place? There is no formal order in place at all determining custody and access.

    Also we are unsure of the jurisdictional issues, his mother and SF live in Quebec and his father and I live in Ontario. Would we need to call the police to report this right away, or do we wait til Monday to call CAS? Do we call Ottawa or Gatineau police or CAS?

  • #2
    If your doctor is working today, get your son in there now...

    I haven't gone through this...but I'd be freaking out and probably going 'over the top' if it was my child (not sure if that is good or bad...) I'd get into hospital emergency now (say he is sore-worried about broken bone/injuries) and they will call the police who will take a report at the hospital.

    Wait for other opinions, but can't you show up at a family court house first thing Monday morning and file an emergency motion to keep your son...and then it can be reviewed in court months later. (My ex and I do 50/'50 and we don't have anything official yet as far as paperwork and I wouldn't hesitate to do this if there was violence against our kids).


    • #3
      Whether you like it or not, you need to pursue this as a criminal act and file charges. Who cares if the charges go anywhere, it needs to be reported so that those reports can be referenced in the future.

      May May is correct, go to the hospital or to your family doctor, have the child examined for bruises and interviewed by the doctor and require the doctor to follow up with the authorities.

      Call CAS, this is just one of your steps.

      Any emails or text messages, you print them out. If you can't print out text messages from your phone, take photographs of the phone with the text displayed, as well as saving the texts, for 6 months or a year if need be.

      It doesn't matter if any of these steps leads nowhere, you take them. Cover every possibility.


      • #4
        if it was me I would call the police right away. This is serious, spanking with a bare hand done by a bio-parent is one thing, a step-parent hitting a child with a shoe is over the top and should be dealt with ASAP. By waiting it sort of shows that you do not think that there was a danger to the child.

        as for the daycare, there is no way you can ask them not to let the child go with his mother. There is no court order in place so she has the same rights as you do.


        • #5
          Get to the nearest medi-centre or hospital and if there are visible marks have the hopsital/medi-centre call the police. Police will want to know how the abuse came to your attention and they will interview the person that informed you.

          I am relieved to know your partner took the initiative to contact the SF. The written documentation should also be shown to the police.

          Good luck and hope everything turns out and cool heads prevail.


          • #6
            If you honestly believe the child is in danger, I not only suggest you can withhold access, I encourage you to.

            Be carefull, however. This is a huge 'can of worms' to open.

            What kind of shoe is it? A flip-flop or a steal-toed boot?

            Where is he hitting the child? A rap on the knuckles kind of thing, or a full fledged whack across the face?

            Why did you allow the child to return to what you now claim was an abusive environment, if you felt the child was in danger?

            Those are the sort of questions and reasoning you may face come trial.

            If you're going to act - be prepared for questions like - "why did you wait to report the incident? Even if the child was in your care - do you not believe it was actionable/severe enough to warrent a call to the authorities immediately?

            If you didn't contact them immediately, does that show you aren't sure of it happening in the first place? Or that it was really not as severe as you are making it out to be now?"

            First and foremost is the childs health and safety. I would do everything and anything to ensure my child was safe. No half-assed measures allowed.

            Chid-care.... if you put the child in there, you cannot stop the other side from picking the child up from there without a court order stipulating.

            If it's really that much of a concern to you - you will need to make alternate arrangements in order to ensure the child cannot end up back in the same environment. You may need to book some time off work to care for the child as a result.

            Corperal pumishment (i don't believe - i may be wrong) is not yet illegal in Canada. So your version of what is to harsh could possibly be challanged in court.

            If you are going to act, call the police, CAS, and the other side YESTERDAY to state your position and intentions.
            Last edited by wretchedotis; 06-23-2012, 11:30 PM.


            • #7
              I agree with the others, take all the emails and correspondance and go to the police right away. If there is a police report and emails and doctors letters, then CAS has no choice but to open a case and follow through. If he is in daycare and you are worried about the mother trying to pick him up, maybe get a restraining order against the both of them. Your number one job as a parent is keeping your child safe. Most police officers have kids and this will make them angry and they will probably go the extra mile for you


              • #8
                i would be very carefully about withholding access without first reporting it to the police. How can it be important enough to not return the child to the mother but not important enough to call authorities? Waiting till monday to call CAS is a time delay. You should have reported it to the police and CAS as soon as you found out.


                • #9
                  Thanks for the advice everyone, we have called the police and they have viewed the evidence. We are going to the Courthouse to file an emergency order and he will be staying with his Grandparents until we have a court order that he cannot go back.

                  To those who said "why did we ever let him go back there", we haven't since finding out. Thanks but we DO care a lot about him and are doing everything in our power to stop this. I mainly had the question of Jurisdiction, which I now realize I should've just called the police to ask them, instead of asking here- I thought I may get qualified legal advice here.

                  To those who said corporal punishment is not illegal in Canada, it is. Hitting your child with anything other than an open hand for reasons deemed to prevent more harm then it causes. So if you spank him for running into the road and almost being hit by a car it is legal. If he is beaten with a shoe for being bad at school, this is illegal.

                  Thanks anyhow, I'll keep posted on how it turns out.


                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=MsJessimica;97716]Thanks for the advice everyone, we have called the police and they have viewed the evidence. We are going to the Courthouse to file an emergency order and he will be staying with his Grandparents until we have a court order that he cannot go back.

                    why would he stay with grandparents?? Are the grandparents the exs parents? Why would he not stay with you?
                    Be prepared for the ex to say that you kidnapped the child or something. This will escalate now.

                    Good job going to the police. It seems like the step father is a loose cannon. I just hope that he doesnt take all the police, cas and court stuff out on the kid. Keep your eyes open and instruct the child that if SF hits him again to call 911 ASAP.


                    • #11
                      To those who said corporal punishment is not illegal in Canada, it is
                      No it's not. Go read up on Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

                      Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.
                      The words ‚Äúreasonable under the circumstances‚ÄĚ in s. 43 mean that the force must be transitory and trifling, must not harm or degrade the child, and must not be based on the gravity of the wrongdoing. Reasonableness further implies that force may not be administered to teenagers, as it can induce aggressive or antisocial behaviour, may not involve objects such as rulers or belts, and may not be applied to the head. While corporal punishment itself is not reasonable in the school context, a majority of the Supreme Court concluded that teachers may use force to remove children from classrooms or secure compliance with instructions.
                      What YOU described is not corporal punishment, it's out and out assault. Section 43 doesn't apply in your situation as it involved an object.

                      A parent, or someone acting in place of a parent, CAN use corporal punishment for the purpose of discipline/correction as long as it's with an open hand, not excessive, and not above the shoulders.

                      For anyone who ever needs the info, the CORRECT course of action is to call the police immediately. THEIR process is to gather as much info as possible, contact the local CAS emergency line (if it's after hours), give them the information/evidence, and let CAS make the call on whether the child returns.

                      YOU as the parent cannot willingly violate the custody order and "keep" the child. Worse case scenario, after 48 hours it's technically kidnapping. Extremely grey area, and the authorities will be hesitant to get involved, but it if the other sides pushes it, that's a possibility. At minimum you are in contempt of a binding court order, and if the other side plays things properly, you can face a number of sanctions.

                      The POLICE cannot make the decision on whether you keep the child...doing so is professional misconduct and THEY can face disciplinary action over it.

                      CAS CAN tell you to keep the child, they are about the ONLY ones who can.

                      The police may tell you to take the child to a doctor to be examined as part of their information gathering, but the correct course of action for abuse allegations is always to contact the local police first and foremost.


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