How to help two children heal from child abuse?

I know I have written many thread already on my niece and nephew and how they were abused of physically and verbally by their father and step-mom while on visitation two years ago. Well the dad left them alone for two years and as of tomorrow is starting the every other weekend overnight visits. The kids are not doing well. They are now 12 1/2 years old, the girl, and my nephew is 9 1/2 years old. My nephew is is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the child abuse from two year ago still for he sees it as if it happened yesterday. He has been for two weeks now scared to death about going to his dad. My niece was getting sick to her stomach until tonight and got into an anxiety attach and kept repeating to herself and her mother, “I can’t do this! I can’t do this! I can’t do this!” My nephew was talking to his neighbor yesterday about his beating and how his stepmom, a cop, did it. My sister asked my niece her daughter, if it was true, and my niece could not talk about it and said she can still hear the streams and at night when she closes her eyes she sees and hears what that woman did to her brother and her father allowed it. This might explain why she is afraid to sleep by herself. Now at her father, she will be forced to sleep by herself and this is creating anxiety in her.

My questions is how can we get these kids to be healed from the past child abuse they had seen and received? They are seeing counselors and have been for two years now. They are not helping. My nephew has to go to a behavioral school for he was asked to leave two Catholic schools and one public school due to his anger and behavior problems which were from the abuse and anger that came from it. My sister has been told she can not get sole custody of her kids in the state of Florida for it is impossible. WE have gone through the courts and asked for guardian ad liten for the kids and the judge refused and parenting coordinator, the judge refused. The judge was on the dad’s side and we later come to know he is usually on the dad’s side. WE won’t win with this judge and he is still there. He use to be a cop too so he likes cops and both the dad and step mom are cops. The step mom just got a job working for child protective services, so going to court she would be an expert witness. They would believe her over my sister. So our only option is to hope and pray the kids don’t get beaten again at their dad’s and if they do that they would call 911 and not be too afraid to do so, for they said they would be too afraid to do so for what their dad would do to them afterwards, or to help them heal from the past and move on. The problem is that their dad hasn’t changed. How can you help the kids move on when their dad is still very strict and violent?

WE pray and pray. My poor nephew is scared the most for when my niece turns 13 in December, she doens’t have to go anymore to her dad’s and he fears going alone and unprotected. I am so sad over all this. Please pray for their safety this weekend for the dad picks them up tomorrow the 25th after school and brings them home Sunday night at 8 p.m. Today is ST. Padre Pios’ DAy and I ask for his intercession.

If anyone has had experience with kids who have been abused and have helped them in the healing progress, please let me know. I do homeschool my niece. I can help her. I am prove that tonight she told her mom that she was going to need to pray a lot for strength for she is so so very scared. I taught her to trust in Jesus and Mary when she is scared.

Oh wow. There is no way I would let those kids be alone with their dad, especially since they are still so frightened of him. No child should have to fear for their lives or be forced to visit a parent who has abused them and poses a risk of continued abuse. This is a truly abominable situation and my heart breaks for these kids. I think your first priority is to keep the kids from being abused again. Helping them heal will be impossible if the abuse is on-going.

The kids are old enough to voice their opinions. Do you have a child abuse advocacy organization in your city? If you brought the kids there tomorrow and told them what you just told us, they might be able to intervene. The organization I used to work for, CASIE,, would tape interviews with child victims of abuse. These tapes could later be presented in court so the child would not be revictimized or pressured into saying something bad about their parent/abuser in front of them. Then it wouldn’t be your sister’s word against the dad, it would be the child’s word. You might consider calling CASIE or a similar organization and asking to speak with a forensic interviewer. Then tell them what you just told us and ask for advice.

If going through the courts isn’t an option, would it be possible to call the dad and renegotiate something? You could tell him the kids are sick (which they are, and which might buy you more time). Or call the police again (a different precinct?) and explain to them that the kids are sick with fear. I struggle to picture the kind-hearted policeman sending these kids into what they feel is a dangerous situation.

On the other hand, the court feels that the dad and stepmom are now capable of taking care of the kids. I haven’t read all your posts, but could something have changed that make them less likely to abuse? Are they undergoing counseling? Was abuse ever reported and recorded the first time? If not, that would be priority number 1 for me. File a report (even if it happened many years ago).

I have never heard of this group and will check them out. Yes, many reports have been made on this couple, five to be exact and two were by psychologist, but were not for the physical abuse, but for other dangerous situations at the house.

My sister has consulted with three attorneys and so many counselors and they all say the same that she has to give the kids to the dad. She has to wait and see if he will harm them again unfortunately, the anxiety level and harm emotionally is being done to them before the visit is even occurred. They went with their dad today. Yesterday, they saw their psychologist and she told them what to do if they were in a unsafe situation and how to pick up the phone and dial 911 but immediately that night, my niece who is the oldest, 12 1/2 years old had a panic attack and kept repeating to mom, “I can’t do it! I know I won’t be able to call 911. I won’t be able to and I can’t!” Her mom said she had to if there was an emergency, but to be honest I think neither kid would call out of excessive fear of these two adults. My niece spent the day with me today and she was so nervous all day today. She noticed when it was noon and told me that it was noon and her dad would be by soon. Then she said she had a sore throat and could not go sick to her dads. I asked why and she said, “Because they are both immature and irresponsible and I would die if I needed medical attention.” She said this because one time her brother had Chinese food for the first time while on visitation with his dad and had a reaction to some ingredient to the food. Her dad and stepmom did as they usually do and that is go into the their bedroom and the kids know not to disturb them for nothing while they are in their. But on this day, her brother’s face first turned red and than he had hives all over it. She went and knocked on the door with fear and said she knew she was going to get yelled out, but was concerned for her brother. Her stepmom came to the door and asked what did she want. She asked for her dad and she said her dad was in the shower. She told her stepmom what was going on with her brother’s face and this woman didn’t care and didn’t even go check him out. She told her that he will be fine and to tell him to go to sleep. My niece went back to her brother and he said he was having a hard time swallowing. That is when she worried and knew about Benedryl. She looked for a bottle of it in the medicine cabinet and was doubtful to find any for her stepmom doens’t believe in medications, but found some. She gave him two teaspoon and he looked better after a half an hour. She told me this story. She said she doesn’t trust them to take care of them when they are sick and said she had more stories like that. I believe her. How horrible not to be able to trust an adult to take care of you!

We had mentioned these stories to the lawyers but they say it is hearsay. The kids did mention them to the psychologist and that is why two of them testified that the dad needed supervised visitation. The judge ignored our lawyers request. WE asked for guardian ad litem and it was denied.

We have been told that a good psychological evaluation from forensic doctor would help so much, but at the time it was so very expensive. At this point, we are not ready to pay for it if it means taking away custody from this dad. When our nephew comes back on Monday and he reports anything to the school he goes too that is bad like if they laid a hand on him, they have told my sister they will file a report to child protective services and my sister will file for an injunction on behalf of her kids, but we did that once and the judge made fun of my sister. You have to understand, the couple we are talking about are two cops. They know the law and how to work it. They are good, in fact excellent liars. If I didn’t know my sister well and my niece and nephew, I would believe my ex-BIL in court, he is very convincing.

I will check out this group you said, I really hope there is one like that here in our area to help the kids. They really need someone on their side. I am sick to my stomach just thinking of how they could be treated this weekend. I pray for their safety, but you are right, they can’t start to heal until the abuse stops.

As far as talking to the dad, forget it. He is unreasonable and listens to his wife who is so jealous of my sister. His wife is a very revengeful, insecure, mentally ill person. She is mean to the kids and has mood swings that confuses them. Her own eldest told my niece that she feels her mom is mental “crazy.” This woman tells my ex-BIL what to do and how to do it and how to raise his kids and he listens to it. That is the whole problem here. He can’t think for himself. It is a sad situation and angers us at the same time.:mad:

I have to ask one question. I read all through the post and I didn’t see the word priest in there. Did I miss it? You obviously aren’t having legal success, hard to judge what kind of counseling he’s getting and from whom, but he has spiritual needs also. Don’t ignore them.

If the counseling is only behavioral (i.e.- just for the anger management issues) he’ll need more than that. Have you considered finding a therapist for him on your own, a different one than the one he has now?

Don’t look for solutions in family court. They have historically, at least in FL, swung back and forth like a pendulum because of parents abusing the system to take revenge on their spouse. Both sides have made so many exaggerated claims that these courts favor one parent one year, the other the next year. Also, state laws have restricted what they can do because of this kind of system abuse. If you don’t think your attorney is representing you adequately, then call another one and ask for a consultation. Tell him what’s going on and see if he has something different to say. If so, hire him.

The suggestion to get an outside psychological exam is a good one. That carries weight in court, while all of your stories, not matter how true, will not be accepted. The court is not going to just take your word for it. That’s why you need the impartial doctor’s report.

We have had the boy seen by a healing priest and he prayed over him and talked to him. At first, we didn’t even know that he has a mild case of autism, so that too is a problem. The dad also denies this. So he did get spiritual healing, but it was interesting that before he saw this priest, this boy went crazy with anger and didn’t want to have anything to do with him or going to Mass. He is much better now. He is also now receiving Communion for he made his First Holy Communion only this year. We could not even get him ready before due to his anger outburst. I have recommended to my sister weekly confession for the whole family, but now she will only have the kids every other weekend.

As far as what you said about Florida’s court is so very true and that is why the courts have chosen not to believe my sister. They believe her ex-'s defense that she is a jealous woman out of revenge because her husband had a mistress and is remarried and she is not. She cares less that he is remarried, but cares about the abuse that his woman has done to her kids, that is what angers her. Unfortunately, my sister doesn’t not make a good witness on the stand and gets all nervous and can be easily confused. She and I went to go see another attorney who use to be judge and he heard words come out of her mouth like, “I am scared to go back to court.” “I really don’t want to go back to court, but I don’t want the abuse to continue.” He made a good point and he wasn’t even in the court room. He said he could tell my sister made a nervous witness and therefore she may have come across as unbelieveable whereas her husband who is a cop and use to going to court all the time made his case more believeable and he was calm. It was all a matter of who the judge believed. The judge believed her ex vs. her. She would get all nervous and confused with the dates and say things that were not right. I was there in the courtroom and remember saying to myself, “Why is she saying that for that is not true?” Afterwards, I would tell her what she said and she would not and could not remember what she said because she was so nervous. This new lawyer told her that if she wanted to win this time around, she had to grow stronger and think of it as defending her kids. He also recommended a psychological evaluation. He said it was expensive, but the judges listened and valued their opinions. But her current lawyer did tell us that because of many other who abused the system, that is why Florida is the way it is and I think it is terrible. My niece was just dropped off today for a horse riding lesson by her father to me this morning and I have to tell you my nieces words and reactions. I will tell you in the next post. I know what they say doesn’t matter to us, but someone has to listen sooner or later.

My niece was with me yesterday when her dad came to pick her up for his weekend visitation for I homeschool her. She usually has horse riding on Saturdays and he agreed to take her on Saturdays to her lessons. I thought he was going to stay for her half hour lesson, but he was not. We have another sister that takes lessons there so we, my other sister and I usually drop off our girls there and she watches them while we go back home. My sister called to tell me her pet bird was sick and she had to take it to the vet on Saturday morning. I called my niece’s mother, my other sister, and she told me that I had to call her ex to tell him to see if he was going to stay with her daughter. I called him instead of her for he doesn’t answer her calls. He picked up my call and I told him what happened. He agreed to drop her off at my house at 9:30 a.m. and pick her up today sometime after 3 p.m. I said that was fine. He arrived at my house at 9:50 a.m. and my niece looked terrible. She looked exhausted and liked she didn’t sleep all night. Her hair was unbrushed and she looked very depressed. I helped get her things out of her dad’s hands and he said goodbye. He told her he loved her, but she ignored him and kept walking into my garage. He drove off and she looked at me with those sad eyes and said, “Last night was horrible.” She said, “They gave us something terrible to eat and no one ate it, so I had to cook something for myself and my brother.” She also said, “They didn’t have a toothbrush for us so they made my brother and I share one that belonged to one of them, it was gross!” She said, “I am hungry, they did not give me breakfast.” I asked if her brother received his medications last night and she said no and I asked about this morning and she said she didn’t see them give it to them this morning. They didn’t feed her brother either. Then she usually gets nosebleeds when she is stressed, has been for years and she panics with them. She apparently got one last night and knocked on her dad’s bedroom door to tell him and he answered and told him. He said that why was she telling him and dripping blood all over the rug to go to her bedroom. She left to her room crying. She said they didn’t have a place for her brother to sleep and he sleep on the … and stopped herself and said “couch” but made me promise not to say anything. She said that they took her brother two times into their rooms for a “discussion.” I think they worry the most about him for he goes to a behavioral school where if he tells the school anything, they can report things to child services and they know that. The stepmom works for them. So they had to tell him to “keep secrets.” My niece already admitted that she is not to say anything that goes on over there for they told her that. She came with a knot in her stomach and hungry at the same time. I told her she should eat. I knew some of it was anxiety of all the secrets they were telling her to keep. She is so afraid about going back with her dad for tomorrow they are going on a boat ride, which most kids would be happy, but she said she saw the boat and it is old and run down and looks very unsafe. She fears for her life.

I told my niece she is the oldest and needs to talk, but her answer to that is “What for, they don’t listen and do anything about it and than I get it when I have to go back to dad’s!” She just knows that when she turns 13 in December, she will not go anymore to her dad for that is what her dad thinks is the age where you can’t force kids anymore on visitation, but we were told it is 16 years old. I don’t know what the age is for sure.

All I know is that today, my poor nephew is alone with these two adults and oh yes, the medications that he is suppose to be taking at night and every morning for hydrocephalus and his major depression, the dad is not giving it to him according to my niece. They didn’t last night for sure. My sister will wait and ask her son, but if they scared him into lying he will for he has done it before until one day when he explodes the truth out.

These children should be meeting regularly (weekly if possible) with a priest. A good, strong priest who knows how to work with children. They need spiritual direction from the Church and good, strong, spiritual example and direction from you and their mother. You and their mother should also find a good spiritual director - ask your priest for a recommendation if you are not comfortable talking to him (don’t worry about insulting him - his goal is to get you the help you need and he knows some people aren’t comfortable talking to a man). Personally I don’t put near as much stock in psychologists as I do the Church.

Lean on Christ for he is the only one who can save you.
My prayers are with you.

I agree with you and we can look for a good priest for them, but the kids currently are very angry with God for they believe He has abandoned them and failed them. After every court date, after every DCF report of abuse, they thought God would come to their rescue, but when their dad won each time and told the kids that God is on his side, which they saw as evil, they lost faith in God, especially the oldest. I am trying to help her with that, but it is not easy, when I teach her our Catholic faith in Religion. She always wants to rush through religion. They are very wounded. If we can find a good priest that is great with kids, we would take them to them, but again the problem is the dad. He is a fallen away Catholic and doesn’t take the kids to Mass. He is a bad example to them and very immoral. My niece told me that her brother was playing with his dad a very rated MA “X box” game last night with her brother. She said it was not appropriate for his age. They have watched movies that are rated R that are too violent for them that she still have nightmares over and once left the movie theatres and pretended to go to the restroom because she was so scared. He once bought condoms in front of her. He is just not a good example and she knows it. Her little brother once told his father, “Daddy, you know that you are going to hell.” That was said when he was in Kindergarten after something they discussed in his class. His dad’s response was that only murderers go to hell and really bad people and he is not a murderer.

So we could do all we can to bring them all the spiritual guidance on the mom side, but the dad’s side there will be teaching of how to lie and deceive and keep things from others and immorality. The stepsisters are older and all having sex with their boyfriends. The stepmom is proud to announce to my niece that she buys them birth control so that they won’t get pregnant like she did at the age of 15. The stepmom has five children and all are from different fathers. Only one man became her husband of the five men. So this stepmom is not a good role model either. As it is every other weekend they kids will not be going to Mass on Sundays. My niece told me she will be in moral sin and I told her today it is not her fault for she can’t drive and it is not her sin it is her father’s.

Thanks for praying for them. They need it. They do need healing. I do have one priest I heard of that is great with kids and has a power of healing. I don’t know if he has the time though to see these kids on a regular basis, but we won’t know until we ask. I agree about the psychologist though, my niece hates them. That might be why she won’t open up. But we do need someone to protect them also in court.

They are with you and their mother much more of the time than with their father. Take advantage of that so as much time in their lifes as possible is spent experiencing God. I know it isn’t easy to understand (most adults do get it) but God never promised life would be easy or our troubles would always be solved. What He did promise was that we can spend all eternity in peace with Him, if only we accept his gift - try to get this lesson to your niece and nephew. Help them to understand that we may not be happy but we can be at peace even in this life.

One of the huge things people (children and adults) don’t understand is that we have free will. This means that we can do what we want even if it goes against God. Simple right? Here’s the hard part: God doesn’t mess with this free will. That means He doesn’t stop others from sinning even when we (the faithful) pray for that person to stop. SO we all have the choice to be with God and follow Him - their father has chosen not to, they must decide for themselves. They can follow Christ, accept His gift of eternal life, and know His peace.

I don’t know how to put this all in a way a child can understand. I wouldn’t expect the light to come on right away regardless - remember lessons take time to learn. But try to communicate this to the children. Let them know they have the power if only over this one little thing: the choice to follow God their Creator and Savior or turn away from Him.

Remind them also that God isn’t just at church. He is always with us. They don’t have control over whether or not they make it to Mass (nor do you or at least I assume you’ve taken every avenue possible to get them to Mass). Remind your niece that she can’t sin by accident or when she doesn’t have control.

Christ’s peace be with you.

Is there no way to see a different judge? They are not even giving him medications :(, many medications are not supposed to be stopped suddenly but only tapered off very slowly.

There has to be some way around that judge. I’ll admit I don’t know the law very well, but why is it that every time you end up in front of that particular judge? Are there no other judges?

If something were to happen there, could the children press charges? Like if there is physical abuse, can they go to the police to report it? Is it possible to report the withholding of medications? Do they children have cell phones they can use to call 911 when they are there and something like this happens?

I will be praying daily for those kids. My heart is just aching over this story! It got me really choked up.

Having had a similar situation with my boys years ago, I know how you feel. I’m praying for them and you,

We really want to change judges, but heard that we should really stay in the same county and if we do, we have this same judge. But we can move to another county and we are considering it. We are have pay to do that, but it may be worth it.

As far as the children having cell phones, the oldest does have one. Before she left to her fathers, she went over a plan of safety with her counselor and how to call 911 if she had to, but she got home she had an anxiety attack and told her mom that she could not do it. She just knows what will happen to her if whoeever comes to the house leaves her there. Her dad would be furious and she is afraid of what he would do to her. I think the little boy is the same. He has already been manipulated to lied. My niece knows for sure that they did not give him his medicines last night and tonight my sister spoke with him and asked if he recieved his medicine last night and this money and tonight and he said yes. You should have seen him today. They, the dad and stepmom, came by my house to pick up my niece and my nephew had to use the bathroom. The dad must have told him to rush and get in and out because he is never in that much of a hurry. But because he is so afraid of getting his dad angry he listens to him. He came in and urinated all over my toilet seat and made a mess. I told him not to rush. He washed his hands in a hurry and told me on the way out, which I am sure his dad told him to tell me, “Call my mom and tell her I am fine.” I too asked him if he was getting his medications and he said yes, but he would not stop to talk to me for he hurried out the door and his dad was waiting by the door of his car making a motion of his arm to hurry and get into the car. I never had seen him rush in and rush out like that. He usually likes to hug my daughter, his cousin, and talks a little, but again I think he was afraid if he didn’t hurry. My niece cried today and didn’t want to return to his house. In fact she called her mom tonight from her dads at 7:40 p.m. in a whisper voice and said, “Mommy, I can’t do this, I can’t do this. I have to go.” She hung up. At 9:40 p.m. is when my sister called them to say good night. In the past my ex BIL use to take the cell phone away from my niece and he would not give the house phone number to my sister and he would not answer his cell phone. He did this so that my sister would have no communication with the kids on his weekends even though on the divorce papers she has the right to talk to them before bedtime. They are also suppose to talk to the parent in privace and my niece said her father would force her to put the phone on speaker so that he could hear the conversation too. Like I said this man is a control freak and his wife is actually worse tha he is.

But if the truth comes out and it will that he did not give the medications to his son, we hope he tells his school for the medication he is taking is for his hydrocephalus and to decrease the fluid in his brain and the others are for his major depression and mood swings. My sister is ready to file an injunction on behalf of the kids. I know that the oldest feels her life is not safe at her dads. She had a nose bleed last night and she usually panics and feels like she is going to drown. She knocked at her dad’s door, that is where his wife and he like to hang out a lot, and she told him. He told her to go lay in her bed for she was dripping blood on the carpet. He didn’t care and she left and cried in her room. :frowning:

These issues are beyond the scope of CAF posters. If the counselors these children already see aren’t helpful, please pursue another professional avenue.

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