During the phone call to child services that Monday morning, we arranged a meeting for the next day. All I could think is whats going on? but it went unanswered. “We would rather discuss it in person” I was told. I put the phone down and I remember feeling sheer terror, How serious was this? Why were they so keen to arrange a meeting with me the very next day?. Stumbling through the day a million thoughts were whizzing around my head but there was one I couldn’t shift. Why didn’t child services make contact with me through the school? Surely they have spoken to the children and ascertained there IS a relationship between dad and kids. I felt a million and one different feelings that I was unsure of but one I was certain of. I felt sick to the very pit of my stomach.
Tomorrow I would be sitting in a room at my children’s school. Accompanied by a social worker, the school welfare officer, S***, (Children’s mum) J***, (S*** mum) and my partner H***. I sat down that night and spoke to H*** I remember asking her so many questions and of course, she didn’t have any answers for me. She told me to stay calm no matter what happens. She also kept repeating how helpless she felt. While all the while reassuring me everything would be ok. I saw on her face that she was as scared and confused as I was. I have never felt an emotion like what I did that night.
Standing in a church, Everyone dressed in black. It took me a few seconds to realise that I was at a funeral watching as the service unfolded in front of my eyes. I couldn’t make out who was speaking but he was a young man in his early 30s. His shoulders were slumped back but he was facing away from me as I stood behind the coffins placed delicately on the table. His voice was broken as he fought back tears while explaining to friends and family how his life had been recently shattered. He had lost two people very close to him and he was trying to share memories of his pride, love and joy to all who listened.
As the man turned slowly to face the coffins on the tables behind him I saw red rings under his eyes, his cheeks stained with tears. It took me a second to realise he was me. I was at my children’s funeral. I woke up with a start, realising it had been a very real nightmare. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep another wink that night, Going downstairs I collected my thoughts I was trying to find a positive, anything I could hold on to. All I got was at least the ball was rolling and I now knew about it.
Arriving at the children’s school for the meeting I took stock as to what I already knew. S*** had moved a sex offender into the family house. I was unaware of what he had done or when he had done it. S*** was unaware at the time as to who he was. It suddenly hit me, If S*** was unaware that he was a child sex offender then why was she forcing my children to lie when questioned about him at school? Why wasn’t she working with child services, the school and even me to get through this? Some thing wasn’t right and I smelled a rat.
I took a seat at the big oval table, Looking around the room. Teddy bears and children’s stories in a colourful room, The walls lined with pictures drawn by the pupils. Directly in front of me sat S*** and her mum, To their left was the Social worker and to her left was the school welfare officer. Then it was me and then H***. It all seemed rather horror story. The meeting began and everyone initially introduced themselves before I was asked what I knew.
Finally a truth
I explained that Kieran had told me his secret and that I had phoned S*** and asked for an explanation. I told them how S*** had said she had no idea about what N***(Sex Offender) was and that upon finding out she had kicked him out of the house. “That’s not exactly true is it,” The social worker asked whilst looking directly at S***. I went white and asked whats going on. It was at this point I was informed that S*** had been made aware of N***’s past right at the start of their relationship, a relationship that was already 6 months old and that she had chosen to proceed with it regardless.
Completly winded and overcome with an indescribable anger I saw red. Feeling sheer rage, hate and disgust like I had never felt before. I gripped my hand into H***’s before calmly asking if I could take a moment outside. I remembered her words, “stay calm no matter what happens”. Walking outside I remember biting hard into my arm to prevent me from making a noise in the middle of school. I screamed, a long drawn out pained scream, as loud as my lungs would allow. It was almost primal, as If I was an animal had been wounded by a predator, in a way I guess I was. This child sexual predator had got into my children’s home and had already begun circling around them.
When I returned the room fell deadly quiet. I Turned to S*** and calmly asked how she could move a paedophile into the house with my children. I then got reprimanded by the social worker he wasn’t a paedophile he was a child sex offender she told me. To this day I refuse to accept there is a difference in the two. The rest of the meeting was basically spent ascertaining where the truths were and where the lies had taken over. We also managed to make a child protection plan which by the way isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. I will write about that in part three.
I was told N*** was out of the picture and the children were now safe. However, child services were concerned with the lack of protection offered by the children’s mum. They were also concerned with all the dishonesty. I made the room aware of Kieran’s secret. “We have to lie to the lady who comes into school”. I passed my contact details to the social worker and that was that. Another meeting was arranged for a fortnights time. I still didn’t feel like I knew what was going on and looking back I should have made my concerns known.
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