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The Cover of 'Please Believe Me'

An updated version of my biography is now available!

Please believe me:  how institutions and the law failed a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. And how she aims to ‘fix it’.

Please see my new website for full details of the new ebook version of my biography, which has just been published, and my campaign to close a loophole in the law.  Please sign my petition for Angela’s Law.

You can also view a letter I wrote to Jimmy Savile, now revealed as a serial child-abuser, asking him to ‘fix it’ for me, when I was an abused 11-year-old. Fortunately, he did not answer!

Twenty pence from every copy of this ebook sold will go to NAPAC, and it’s less than £3 a copy!  You can read it on practically any computer, tablet or smart phone device!

Hi, everyone.

I thought it was about time I updated you on my condition and the hurdles I keep facing.

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

You may remember in July last year me talking about a treatment programme that is available at The Retreat in York for people who suffer with complex post-traumatic stress disorder and (PTSD) borderline personality disorder. The reason I spoke about it was because in 2004 Dr Chris said the programme at The Retreat would be ideal for me and suggested I think about joining the programme when the time would be right for me to be able to concentrate fully on getting better without distraction.

Yo-yoing

Since moving to the Nottinghamshire area services have made it clear that there is little help for people with my condition and in fact they do their best to write people off as hopeless cases. Whilst I was in hospital when I started this blog my consultant gave me hope by telling me that she had made enquiries at The Retreat and said the programme there is suitable. However she would have to speak to the head of the personality disorder network to gain clarity on funding and an application for funding treatment at The Retreat would need to be made to the local Primary Care Trust (PCT). I was so thrilled that services finally recognised I needed specialist help to improve my quality of life so I could go onto to live a more happy and fulfilling life instead of yo- yoing between crises and moments of despair.

Experts refuse to recommend treatment

In September I met with the head of the personality disorder network who simply kept asking, “What is it you would like to happen?” I tried to tell him that he was the expert and he should be helping me and prescribing the right treatment. The meeting ended badly as I became upset as I was told that until I had decided what treatment I wanted there was nothing services were prepared to do. I was given a care plan which consisted of an appointment with my consultant periodically and 72-hour crisis support in the event of a crisis. I was refused psychological input as the therapist had left the service, and I was told there were no Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPNs) available. The local crisis team does not operate a 24-hour service so in the event of a crisis outside of their working hours I would have to go to A&E. There was no plan for therapy or treatment despite NICE guidelines laying down very clear plans for people with my illness.

They put the phone down

Since this meeting I’ve managed to get through the months with the help of Dr Chris on a private basis. Dr Chris helped me look at what treatment I felt I needed and has also helped bridge the gaps between crises. When trying to access services in times of crisis I’ve had to face staff putting the phone down on me, the crisis team refusing to visit and medical staff requesting I use my inner resources to cope or I have to pay to see Dr Chris.

Formal complaints before I got a meeting:  my letter ignored

In March enough was enough and I wrote to the head of the personality disorder network detailing what my treatment requirements were in line with NICE guidelines. He ignored my letter and it wasn’t until I’d made various formal complaints about the service I was receiving that a meeting was set up with this head of department. The meeting took place in May and I was told the only thing on offer was a group therapy session once a week in my local area, where I work, and I am aware that many of my patients attend this group. As well as my concern about my personal and professional life being compromised, I also raised my worries about the type of therapy he was offering. It was clear he had ignored my letter as I had said to him that I wanted to discuss my letter of request, which he had chosen to ignore. I explained that in order for me to recover successfully I felt I needed intense, in-patient psychotherapy. I said in order for me to have a successful life and be able to do the job I love and contribute to my family I had to recover with expert help. The response I was given was that the only thing available was the hour-a-week group therapy.  However they are short-staffed so it might not be available anyway. I was then told people with chronic illnesses just have to accept them and live with them. I asked about funding for The Retreat and I was told, “You will have to make your own application yourself”. My husband I left the meeting horrified at the lack of help offered, knowing that if I don’t get the treatment I’m entitled to I may never recover and the Health Professions Council (HPC) will never allow me to work.

I spoke to Dr Chris who was very concerned and also puzzled that a patient would be expected to apply for funding themselves from the local PCT. He said this is the job of a consultant, not a patient.

At my last HPC hearing a concern raised by them was that I wasn’t engaging in any therapy which would reassure them that I was helping myself to recover. They said that once I could demonstrate that I was engaging in therapy they would consider me practising in the future. Consequently I asked my consultant to refer me to the once-a-week therapy group as this was the only thing available.

Guidelines ignored: tried fobbing me off

I also raised my concerns about applying to the PCT myself with the head of the personality disorder network. I wrote to him asking him how I would do this, and expressed my concerns about others who may be more vulnerable than me or less educated and not able to put pen to paper. I also said I should have the help of a doctor when making the application, particularly with regard to medical terminology and reports. The message I had back was: “I thought patients had to make their own applications as I’d heard this at a meeting I attended a few months ago. I may have misremembered what was said so I will have to speak to someone who knows about the correct process.” I think what he meant was “I tried fobbing you off and knew you might not be well enough to push for treatment so I gave you a task that was impossible”.  I quoted NICE guidelines for treating my illness and the head told me “Well, they are only guidelines”.

MP helpful

Finally, I received an appointment last week for what I thought was the local once-a-week group therapy program. When I discovered in fact that this appointment was just for an information hour and that it could be many many months before I start the program, if at all, I contacted my MP, Mark Spencer.

I met with Mark on Friday. He was very helpful. I tried to tell him everything that’s happened since writing this blog. He has said he is going to contact Nottinghamshire Healthcare and also Nottinghamshire County Council to find out exactly why both services have been behaving the way they have and why I am being given such substandard care: being forced to go private and being refused the treatment anyone with my diagnosis deserves. I will keep you all posted when I get a response.

Please share your experiences

If anyone would like to share their experiences of mental health services or offer any advice of programs of recovery it would be great to have feed back. Life is very lonely right now as I have little professional support and if I do access that support I’m either judged as a parent and professional for needing support or my requests for help are rejected. I just want to live a life worth living and move on from the trauma of the past. Happiness is all I dream about and it seems so out of reach at times.

The head of the PD network also told me the NHS is not a free service so I shouldn’t expect treatment to be handed on a plate. Who are these people in these positions making such stupid comments! No wonder the UK is in the mess it’s in!

I’ll blog again when I have more news.

Love and best wishes

Angela

Hi, everyone.

I thought it was about time I updated you all on the events that have happened since January.

NCC and my daughters

Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) are still playing silly games with me and my family. Social services held a child protection conference in January and stated that because they had not completed a parenting assessment and managed to gain a risk assessment from my consultant it was necessary to continue to keep my daughters on a child protection plan. The representative from Laura’s college disagreed with the decision, stating that she felt that as she was 17 she was surely old enough to make her own decisions. The chair of the conference disagreed, but did say that Laura would automatically come off the plan in April as she would be 18.

As for Jennifer, the social worker claimed that because she had hit a wall with her hand in temper it could be a sign of deliberate self harm. Other agencies confirmed I had had no mental health problems since July 2010, that the girls were doing well at school and college and both girls did not want visits from social workers. Despite this, the chair confirmed that because the parenting assessment wasn’t complete and social services wanted to ask more questions about my health, the child protection plan should remain in place for a further six months. Needless to say, the girls were furious, to the extent that Jennifer has since enlisted her own solicitor and although the plan states she has to be visited three-weekly by social workers, she refuses to see them, as did Laura.

Laura reached 18 on April 8th and is relieved to be off the child protection plan.

Social workers won’t make allowances for people in work

In February, Jennifer’s solicitor advised my husband and me to participate in the parenting assessments, as it would be the only way Jennifer would come off the plan. I informed social services we were willing to do the parenting assessments but that this would have to be after 4pm or on weekends as Andrew works full-time. The social worker said this wasn’t possible as they don’t work after 4pm or on weekends. I asked what happens when other parents work and the response given was “the people we usually work with don’t work”.  For the sake of Jennifer, Andrew took time off work. Despite this, social services didn’t get round to doing the assessment until the end of May.

Child protection plan despite my daughter’s refusal to see social workers

In June a further child protection review meeting took place, which Jennifer attended along with her solicitor. Despite Jennifer speaking to the chair and stating that she does not want to be on the plan the chair said the plan should continue. Her justification for this was that social workers had still not obtained a risk assessment from my consultant even though they had had 12 months to complete this element of the plan. Social workers confirmed that they had not seen Jennifer since December as Jennifer had refused to see them. The chair said she was unable to remove Jennifer from the plan simply because Jennifer didn’t want to see social workers.

It’s the social workers who threaten my younger daughter’s wellbeing

Jennifer’s solicitor asked the chair to clarify if the authority will be considering care proceedings if all of us didn’t comply with the plan. The chair said no to this, and Jennifer’s solicitor then challenged the purpose of the plan if the family are not willing to engage, pointing out the waste of resources and public funding. Jennifer was so upset and none of the professionals batted an eyelid. Social workers had been questioning the impact that my health has on Jennifer emotionally. However, they failed to see the emotional impact they were having on her. I tried to protest, stating that Andrew and I have protected Jennifer whenever I have been unwell and that my mental health should not be judged any differently to any other chronic illness. Social workers disagreed, saying people with mental health problems are different.

Once Jennifer had calmed down, we agreed as a family to stick together and if social workers visit we will just simply tell them to go away if we don’t want them to visit. Since the last review, luckily for us (especially for Jennifer) social workers have been nowhere to be seen and we have been left alone.

Breach of confidentiality by a doctor

In terms of my position professionally, things have also been quite stressful. As you may remember, my employers suspended me from duty in June 2010, following a telephone call from a representative of NCC, stating they had concerns about my mental health and suggesting they contact the crisis team. My HR manager rang the crisis team and spoke to a Dr G_ who discussed my mental health history over the telephone without my knowledge or consent. Dr G_ also failed to tell me he intended to breach confidentiality and, furthermore, I was at home with my husband at the time so posed no risk to myself or anyone else. I have reported this doctor to the GMC who are looking into the matter.

I have never worked when unwell, but I have been suspended

NCC then had some meetings without my knowledge and invited my employers. NCC requested that my employer raise a concern with the Health Professionals Council (my professional governing bodies) stating my fitness to practise was impaired due to  mental health problems. In December I attended an interim suspension order hearing in London at the HPC offices. The HPC panel decided to place a suspension order on my practice due to these mental health allegations. Despite my telling them that I have never worked whilst I’ve been unwell, and never would do, they still ruled that I could be a danger to the public because of the allegations.

Psychiatrists say I am fit to practise, but the HPC won’t let me

In April I visited the HPC again for an early review hearing. I presented the HPC with two psychiatric reports stating that I was fit and well, and a detailed report from Dr Chris at The Retreat hospital in York stating in his opinion I was fit to practise. I’d not required any input from local psychiatric services. Despite this new evidence, the HPC still ruled the suspension order should remain in place.

In June I attended a review hearing again at the HPC and despite Dr Chris being present as a witness and a new care plan being put in place to help reassure them I would be OK, the panel still refused to lift my suspension order. Another hearing date has been set for the 26th August 2011 and I am still waiting for a date for my case to be heard at a full hearing where the HPC will decide if any allegations are true or false and if I am deemed mentally unfit to practise.

Disability discrimination

In terms of my position with my employer, things are quite frustrating too. My employer has been using a back-door approach when making a decision on whether I can work in alternative temporary roles. They have been waiting for the HPC to decide if I am fit to practise as a paramedic. The HPC have said it is not their job to decide if I am fit to work, it is the employer’s responsibility. Occupational health declared me fit for work in August 2010, but my employers have still not allowed me back to work. The occupational health doctor has also changed and the new doctor has been waiting for the HPC to decide if I am fit to practise before he will commit to me being passed fit to work as a paramedic. At my last HPC hearing the panel said that as they had no report from occupational health saying how my employers could support me at work in my role as paramedic they couldn’t consider lifting the suspension order. Therefore I’ve been off work now for over a year, and no one is willing to commit to allowing me back to the job I have done for over 11 years without any difficulties, problems or complaints.

I have filed a case with the employment tribunal for disability discrimination, which is ongoing. My employers have been encouraging me , via my solicitor, to accept a pay-off to make their lives easier. However I plan to fight them – NCC and the HPC – and be exonerated.

Dogs for the depressed?

As for life in general, things are pretty good. Laura has just finished college achieving straight distinctions. Jennifer has now finished her GCSEs and has found a lovely school to go to in September. We also have a new addition to the family. Despite my huge fear of dogs, I have a new puppy named Jack. He’s really lifted my mood, and his unconditional love is amazing. Despite the discrimination I have suffered from NCC my employers and the HPC, I’m still fighting and my family and friends are helping me to do this, especially Jack! Perhaps we should have dogs for the depressed as well as the blind?

Case against NCC progressing well

I also have some good news regarding my legal case against NCC for the abuse I suffered whilst in their care as a child. Following a witness statement that was obtained a couple of months ago, my solicitor is all set to issue proceedings against the authority once I’ve seen a medical expert, and is very confident that I will be awarded significant damages for the abuse and injuries I suffered as well as loss of earnings for me and Andrew, costs for treatment and compensation for me being able to progress in my career had my childhood been different and I’d not grown up in the environment I did.

No wonder there is little money for public services, the way they are wasting it!

Having read the above before posting it, I’ve reflected on it and it has occurred to me just how stupid the authorities and public services and bodies can be. As we all know, the UK is not doing so well financially and there is a lot of public sector spending cuts taking place. Is there any wonder we are in this mess, especially when local authorities spend time and money on unnecessary child protection cases and on trying to discredit someone professionally to avoid a law suit? The NHS pay for an employee on £35,000 a year to stay at home and do nothing for a year, and then consider a financial settlement to get rid of problem that they have caused and are too ignorant to deal with properly. The HPC are wasting money on investigating a person who was working competently and has had no conduct or competency issues ever while working for the NHS.  And to add insult to injury the Council will probably be paying me hundreds of thousands of pounds because of their incompetence years ago (which sadly has not changed – children are still dying).

Food for thought for you all!

I will try and talk again soon

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Sanam Navsarka

Sanam Navsarka, who died on 8 May 2008, suffered more than 100 injuries.

Hi, everyone.

Its been a while since I updated you all daily, but I really feel a need to tell you about something that happened today that really concerns me.

More children at risk

All of us will have either suffered abuse at the hands of others, know someone who has been abused or at risk of being abused or perhaps heard or read reports in the media saying a child has been abused and, at the worst, murdered. All too often social services are blamed for not being available for children to monitor and prevent abuse to children and young people. Sadly, it’s usually the front-line staff who are blamed for any abuse tragedy that comes under the media spotlight, instead of the department or the authority itself. However, what happens then is a new focus on child abuse changes, and public services spend money arguing about who is to blame and how services can be improved. This would be fine if, in fact, services did improve but, to be honest, my experience lately suggests services haven’t improved and that more and more children are at risk.

Resources wasted harassing a safe, healthy and happy 16-year-old

Public services have been complaining recently following the change in government, as David Cameron has cut public spending and requested that local authorities review their services and budgets. I would take the complaints really seriously if my local authority, Notts County Council, could demonstrate what impact such cuts could have on them. Instead, they decide to waste money on sending two social workers to visit my 16-year-old daughter at school unannounced, who has made it perfectly clear that she does not want to see them, she is not at risk of any harm, has never been at risk of harm or been hurt in any way at all. The school my daughter is at is in a rural area, so a good hour and a half would be needed to visit the school, to wait for my daughter to be taken out of an important GCSE class, to be then told by her “Go away!” and then to travel back to their office.

Priorities must be addressed before complaining about resources

Now I’d like everyone to imagine a child suffering with multiple fractures, no matter what age, who is in the social care system and locked in a room at temperatures in excess of 40 degrees after being beaten by its parents. Then imagine this child feeling desperate for the TWO social workers visiting my daughter to come and rescue her from such terrible things. How fair does that feel, especially if the social worker involved said that due to work pressures she didn’t have time to visit the little girl and sadly she dies? How can the authorities complain about low budgets and lack of resources? Maybe if they focused on what was important and addressed people’s needs in order of priority they wouldn’t be worried about the reductions in budgets that has been imposed on them! How many children will be abused or die at the hands of the authorities until someone reviews the system and starts looking after those that really are in need? Just a thought!

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Hi, everyone.

I hope all is well. I thought it was about time I updated you all.

I haven’t got much news regarding my work situation and the HPC.  I’m busy collating as much supporting evidence as possible for my defence which has to be submitted to the HPC by the 11th of February 2011. I’ve seen my treating consultant to confirm I’m fit and well, and I’m seeing my former consultant, Dr Chris, for an evaluation. Fingers crossed, this new evidence will help the HPC decide that “there is no case to answer”, my registration will return to normal and I can go back to work.

Child Protection Review Conference

As for Notts County Council, I don’t think they will ever cease to amaze me.  I attended a child protection review conference recently which was held to decide if the child protection plan that my daughters are on should continue. Both the girls have told social workers that they don’t feel a need for a child protection plan, they don’t feel at risk and never have, and that they don’t want social services visiting them. My eldest daughter has tactfully said that she feels that social services should be looking after those children that need them and reassured them that she is old enough to seek help if she needed it.  My younger daughter, however, is not quite as polite, and told the social workers she wants nothing to do with them. She has voiced her anger, saying it’s wrong that she was originally told that she didn’t have to see social services and was then later told that she does have to see social workers, whether she likes it or not.

In attendance at the conference were two representatives of my younger daughter’s school, one for my elder daughter’s college, the school nurse, a social worker, the chairperson, my treating consultant and me.  School, the school nurse and social workers exchanged and shared reports with everyone, and the chair opened the conference once they had been read. The college representative spoke first, saying that Laura is doing well at college, has plenty of friends and that there is no cause for concern about her. The chair asked if Laura could access counselling, and the college representative replied that she could. The chair asked if Laura had done so, and the representative said, “That information is confidential and no one can be forced into counselling”.  The chair was not happy with this response and could not accept that Laura is nearly 18 years old.  The college representative went on to say that Laura has applied to university and that she will support her with her application.

Nurse:  no concerns

The nurse spoke, saying there were no reported concerns with either of the girls, no reported A&E attendances and health records showed nothing different from the first initial child protection conference.  The nurse also confirmed again that Jennifer has refused to see her and that she has said she doesn’t want to see a counsellor.  The chair’s interpretation of this information was that Jennifer doesn’t want to see professionals because she’s frightened of being taken away from home. I couldn’t believe the chair wouldn’t accept that Jennifer didn’t want to see anyone because she didn’t need to!

“Persistent” misrepresentation of the truth!

The social worker went through her report briefly, and confirmed that both girls don’t feel a need to see social workers, and neither do they want to. She then went on to say Jennifer has presented with persistent knuckle injuries, one of which was a fracture. She also said these injuries were deliberate and a clear sign that Jennifer was suffering with stress and emotional difficulties. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Jennifer has hurt her hand twice since July 2010. The social worker also reported that this had been reported to the school nurse. However, the nurse had just said there were no concerns and no new information. The school representative went on to say that since the summer Jennifer has presented to them with numerous knuckle injuries. At this point I exploded and demanded to know how many times this had happened. The school confirmed “twice”, which were the two occasions everyone knew about. So I addressed the chair, saying, “There is an awful lot of weight being carried on two previous knuckle injuries that happened in summer 2010.  The two incidents have been changed to ‘numerous’, to ‘persistent’,and  then to ‘none’ by three different so-called professionals. Perhaps when people have decided if, when and how many injuries have  occurred, we can then decide if Jennifer is having any emotional difficulties.”

School then went on to confirm that everything at school was fine, and that there were no problems to report. The social worker went on to say she had not been able to meet with me and my husband as I wouldn’t speak to them and my husband was at work when they called.

The chair concluded that she felt the girls should remain on a child protection plan. I was furious, as I knew this decision would upset my daughters no end. I told the chair that her decision would only cause stress to the family and that it is not helpful in any way. Laura’s college representative also raised an objection, and said Laura was old enough to decide if she felt she were at risk or not. The chair would not listen to anyone. I told her that the only person putting my girls at risk of any harm was her. She wouldn’t listen, and said the plan would last for a further six months, although Laura would be taken off the plan in April when she turns 18. What madness!

The girls were initially angry. However, they were reassured when they discovered they do in fact have rights, and they have instructed a solicitor to act on their behalf. I obviously cannot be involved with their meetings with their solicitor, but I will continue to support their decisions. A social worker has been hassling the girls by letter, and by text message with Laura. Hopefully, a solicitor will help put a stop to this.

My daughters harassed while an abused two-year-old dies unchecked

It’s absolutely shocking that Notts County Council complain that social services are under-resourced, yet they can afford to spend money on two social workers visiting a 16- and 17-year-old who state clearly that they have never felt or been at risk, and if they did they would do something about it. It’s even more alarming that only 24 hours after the conference, a 2-year-old has died from severe cruelty from her parents. The parents have been sentenced to nine years and life. The family were known to social services, and even though reports were made to say the child was in immediate danger no one visited. Social services claim that they were under-resourced and couldn’t visit the day the child was found dead. Maybe the media should know how services prefer to spend their money!

My last posting talked about the support I’m giving to the charity NAPAC. I invited anyone to email me if they wanted any information regarding the charity. If anyone is willing to display a sticker on their wheely bin please email me your address and I will send one out for each bit. angela.bayley@hotmail.com

I will be in touch soon to let you know how things are going.

Take care, everyone.

Love and best wishes

Angela

Review of "Disruptive" in Rostrum magazine ("the voice of social work in Scotland"), January 2011.

It's not been all bad lately. This excellent review of my book has just appeared.

Hi, everyone.

I hope you all enjoyed the festive season and have a great New Year.

Inaccurate, opinionated, judgemental…

Once again I am sorry I have not been in touch for a while. Before Christmas I didn’t have a great time with regard to the work front. When I last spoke I mentioned that I was due to attend a hearing with the Health Professions Council (HPC) based on information my employers had sent that was given to them by Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC). The HPC had applied for an interim order suspending me from work, based on this information – “information” that was inaccurate, opinionated and judgemental.

Portrayed as psychotic childkiller

On the day of the hearing, the HPC received a short report written by an employee of Nottinghamshire healthcare. This report was extracts of my confidential medical records taken from the NHS database. It was also written in such a way that it was very damaging to me personally and professionally. I was horrified that someone had accessed my personal notes without my permission or consent and then circulated them to people outside my treatment team. The extracts of my medical notes portrayed me as some sort of psychotic childkiller. The authorities had done their best to discredit me, and the nature of the case notes they had produced were shocking, to the extent that if you read them you would think I was a patient from Rampton or Broadmoor Hospital. NCC also stated that I had physically abused my children! Entirely false, of course! It was awful.

Suspended

To cut a long story short, the hearing panel chose to suspend me from the register whilst the HPC decided if there were to be any allegations made against me and if there is a case to answer.  I struggled to defend myself as I couldn’t produce evidence to say I had been well for the past six months. Therefore the panel had to base their decision on my state of health in June whilst I was in hospital. I was furious that I had been suspended from the register, but could also understand why the panel had imposed the suspension order.

Character assassination

My Christmas present from my employer was the news that, because I had been suspended from the register, I had twelve weeks to apply for a non-clinical position within the Trust or they would look at terminating my contract. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Christmas is not the best of times for me, but I was determined that NCC’s and Notts healthcare’s attempts at character assassination were not going to spoil Christmas and New Year for me and my family. I contacted my trusted solicitor who advised me on what to do.

Christmas was brilliant

When I was a patient of Dr Chris Holman at The Retreat he taught me that if I face a difficult time then I should sit down and make a written plan about how to get through it. That’s exactly what I did. I set myself a plan to challenge services via their complaints procedures, raise a grievance with my employers and prepare my defence for the HPC. The plan, once I completed these tasks, was to participate in the festive season and make Christmas special for everyone by enjoying myself (something I find hard to do). I also planned a party to celebrate my 40th birthday. The final part of my plan was to enjoy the New Year and make sure 2011 is a better year for my friends, family and me.

Christmas was brilliant, my birthday was fantastic and having all my family and most special friends around me meant so much. Two of my friends came whom I had not seen for 24 years, and it was amazing to see them. New Year’s Eve was quiet, but I was happy with that after all the excitement the previous days. An outsider looking in would think my life was perfect and, to be honest, despite my work difficulties and the ongoing ridiculous child protection issues, my life isn’t too bad. So many have far more things in their life to be sad about and are maybe on their own dealing with it all. My husband said before Christmas that no one can take my family and friends away and, deep down, that’s all that matters. Instead of dwelling on what has happened, I have chosen to deal with any difficult issues head-on, and to look after myself and family as well as clear my name.

2011 has got off to a good start. My legal representative has guided me well. I have an appointment with my consultant for a re-evaluation and I have been referred to my previous consultant, Dr Chris, for an assessment. Following these assessments I will submit their reports to the HPC along with other evidence to prove that I am mentally well. I am seeing my solicitor on Friday to discuss my job situation to prepare for any case I could have on that front.

NAPAC logo

I am helping NAPAC raise their profile.

NAPAC – can you help?

I am also getting deeply involved with the charity NAPAC. The charity is for adults who have suffered any form of childhood abuse. The charity is desperate to raise their profile and I’m trying to think of ideas which might help do that. In the meantime, I’m involved with a campaign asking people to display a sticker with the NAPAC logo on it on their wheelie bins. I’m also distributing information about the charity and help for survivors.

Anyone wanting any NAPAC information, or willing to put the NAPAC sticker on their bins, please email me your addresses at angela.bayley@hotmail.com.  Any help or ideas would be most welcome.

The best news so far

Finally, the best news so far is that Rostrum, the magazine of the Scottish branch of the British Association of Social Workers, has published a review of my book. It’s brilliant and something to be very proud of. If social workers read Disruptive, as recommended in the review, then it will hopefully help many people in years to come.

I will try to write again when I have any further news.

Happy New Year!

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Snowman

My family and I have enjoyed being snowed in, despite all the pressures of the ongoing fight for justice.

Hi, everyone.

I hope you are all well and have been coping in the snow.

Not an awful lot has happened over the past week.

I have been preparing for a hearing with the Health Professionals Council. As you all know, my employers agreed with Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) that they would report me to the HPC, making the allegation that I am not fit to practise due to my mental health history. Evidence was sent to the HPC which was the minutes from inter-agency meetings that NCC have been having about me. Despite the meetings (in my opinion) being a huge breach of confidentiality and data protection, the information that the minutes contain is shocking. There are so many inaccuracies and allegations, for example that I have physically abused my daughters! I’ve never hurt them (and I have documentation to prove this) and I’m furious that this has been said to the HPC when it is absolutely untrue.

Understandably, the HPC have had to respond to this information and they have applied for an interim order to suspend or restrict my practice, something I have to defend. Regardless of any decision being made there will then be a final hearing in four to six months if it’s decided there is a case to answer.

I could really do without this stress, especially before Christmas. I’m in a position such that I can’t even voice my feelings of stress to any authority as it is automatically assumed I’m crackers instead of being a woman who could reach breaking point at the hands of others. Talking of breaking point, I keep wondering if NCC are pushing me to this point so my case against them is abandoned. I’m not sure if they are clever enough to do this, but if they are then they will lose. I have come this far and there is no way I’m giving up. I owe it to all survivors of sexual abuse to keep going, and to help open the floodgates for others to be able to come forward and make the authorities stand up and answer for their deeds.

As for my employer, I am not sure where I stand with them and I feel it inappropriate to comment.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before the second part of my story can be told.
I have an excellent union representative in London and another at home. The one in London asked me to speak to my colleagues for a character reference. I really didn’t think it would be a problem as I would be one of the first to jump to my colleagues’ defence if I had no concerns. I was horrified when two of my closest colleagues said, “No, I don’t want to get involved.” I’m so hurt, but the references I have received from others are amazing and have restored some of my faith in human nature. I have also been lucky to receive support from my friends and family, as well professionals such as my solicitors, union representatives, Team Prevent, some people associated with the Scottish Parliament and senior people associated with SurvivorScotland, which I’m so grateful for. My thanks also go to my co-author and publisher, who has now become a very important friend.

NCC social services invited me to a core group child protection meeting at the beginning of last week. The meeting was pretty uneventful. However, it would seem that mental health services have retreated and changed tack. Back in June/July they didn’t think twice about breeching confidentiality and did not seem to care about mine and my family’s dignity or reputation. NCC social services informed me last week that in a meeting with my consultant she refused to make any comment about my mental health. Services are still withdrawn too. All this since my husband made a complaint to mental health services.

Putting aside the stresses of the forthcoming hearing and the ridiculous child protection plan, I am feeling pretty well. Andrew and the girls are also well and we have had a great time in the snow, building snowmen. We have been snowed in, so the four of us have been at home together all week. It’s been great, especially at night when we are tucked up beside the fire whilst the snow has been falling. I haven’t forgotten those in need, though, and I have visited the elderly in the village just to check they are safe, warm, dry and have their essentials.

If the snow clears I intend to make it to the hearing. If, however, I don’t make it, the hearing will go ahead in my absence. I will let you all know how it goes and the decision the panel reach.

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Hi, everyone.

I’m sorry for not making contact for some time. Life has been pretty hectic and issues with my employers have made me very reluctant to post anything.

NCC have been having meetings with my employers and mental health services behind my back, discussing my medical and personal history as well as making judgements about my suitability to practise. NCC are claiming that because I have a mental health history I shouldn’t work with children. I have now received the minutes of the meetings that have been taking place and they make shocking reading. There are a lot of inaccuracies as well as opinionated and bigoted comments about me personally. It seems that NCC will stop at nothing to try and break me or silence me so that I retract my claim against them. Well, they are wrong if they think it will work. I received a package today from one of my solicitors which contained all the documents needed to be submitted to court, and he is determined to make NCC stand up and answer for what they have done.

My other solicitor is also looking at raising a case against NCC for disability discrimination as well as breach of confidentiality and data protection legislation. I will keep you posted as to how both cases proceed.

As for everything else in my life, things are not too bad. I’m busy getting ready for Christmas and the family and I are trying to think of something we could do together on Christmas day for charity or the local community. It would be much nicer to help others instead of sitting at home, over-indulging and watching rubbish Christmas TV. Helping others will help us appreciate what we have the most, and that is each other!

Finally, if I don’t post anything again for a while it’s because I am keen to protect my personal integrity. This is because all services are trying to discredit me by using the blog against me by saying that the blog is evidence to say I’m “bonkers” and should not be in a position of trust, especially with children. I intend to set the record straight and get back to the job I love.

I hope to chat again soon.

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Hi, everyone.

I thought it was time I should let you all know how things are and what I have been doing since we last spoke.

Since my discharge from hospital I have been concentrating on getting back to normal, spending time with my family and concentrating on getting back to work.

Social services have been hovering in the background. I initially decided to refuse contact with them but when I was informed that if I didn’t comply with the ludicrous child protection plan the longer the process would be and the department would disrupt the girls at school and college in order to see them. I met with the two social workers assigned to us and agreed we would see them as a family. I didn’t make it too easy for them, though. I decided that if they wanted to see us then they would have to come to the house when we were all together during the evening when it was convenient for everyone.

Hypocrites

The social workers finally met Andrew, and spoke to the girls individually. The social workers came across as such hypocrites as they said the girls were lovely and a credit to us and then in the next breath said they had to do a parenting assessment. Absolute madness! …As well as a complete waste of time and resources. After being a parent for nearly eighteen years, assessing my parenting skills now is surely farcical.

A bigoted teacher

I don’t think social services realise the disruption and distress they are causing the family. Since their involvement the girls have suffered humiliation as the department have been in touch with their schools and they have been taken out of lessons for welfare checks. Teenagers are easily embarrassed and find it difficult to explain to their peers such things as child protection etc. Andrew and I have experienced prejudice and judgemental attitudes. For exampl, a teacher at Jenifer’s school spoke to me the first time last Monday and was really pleasant and helpful. I spoke to the teacher again on Thursday and her attitude towards me was disgusting. She was rude and made various cruel references about Jenifer being on a child protection plan. She also refused to help Jenifer with her dyslexia and said, “Families like yours tend to use such things as dyslexia to explain the child’s difficulty when in fact they are not dyslexic and it turns out to be the parents that have the problem.” I was horrified and, to be honest, I’m not sure what to do apart from write a letter of complaint and try to ignore such ignorance.

Hoops to jump through

I’ve had a meeting with occupational health and on Tuesday I’m meeting with the occupational health consultant and my psychiatrist to discuss if I can return to work and, if so, what hoops I will have to jump through. I will keep you posted on how I get on.

Wherever Notts County Council is, there is trouble

Other than what I’ve reported so far, and doing the school runs, I’ve been spending my time helping Laura with her application for medical school and supporting her in her second year of college. I have also been looking after Jenifer, taking her to hospital appointments and physio sessions. She suffers with joint hypermobility and experiences a lot of pain. Like Laura, I have also been supporting her get back to school and with her studies as she is in her final GCSE year. I just wish the school would help too. It just seems that wherever Notts County Council is there is trouble, and I seem to be battling with them.

I’ve tried to focus my attention on positive things such as planning Jenifer’s 16th birthday party, decorating Laura’s bedroom and planning a trip to Scotland in October. Laura and I have also joined a health spa and gym, and Andrew and I have spent some good time together too.

Case progressing well

Finally, you may be interested to know that my case against NCC is progressing well. I’ve been assured that it will be either settled by the end of this year or early next year. Since my solicitor has requested one of my abuser’s personal employment files the defendants have gone very quiet. My solicitor is going to serve notice on them next week which may cause some rumblings. I will be relieved when the case is over so I can complete a second book.

I will be in touch at the end of next week.

Bye for now.

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Snapshot of the BBC coverage of the Khyra Ishaq case in Birmingham

Social services' neglect led to the death by starvation of Khyra Ishaq in Birmingham. If the way Nottinghamshire County Council is dealing with my case is anything to judge by, children in Nottinghamshire are at risk too, as social services appear to be all over the place in their handling of things.

Hi, everyone.

Ridiculous farce

This morning I received a letter from Notts County Council social services apologising for not inviting us to a core group meeting on 17 August. We should have been invited to this in order to discuss the child protection plan that has been imposed on us. Again, Andrew and I haven’t had a chance to have our say regarding this ridiculous farce.

Not allowed to cook for my daughters

I have spoken to the manager at NCC social services this afternoon who has informed me that the social workers assigned to us will be in touch shortly. I told her I was appalled that no one had been in touch for weeks, even though they think the girls are at risk. I informed her that the girls don’t wish to speak to them and Andrew can only meet with a social worker on an evening or at a weekend. I also said that I would consult my solicitor before speaking with them. The child protection plan states I have to be supervised at all times with the girls, and must not be alone in the car with them or cook for them.

Manager also questioned plan

I informed the manager that we cannot adhere to the plan, and won’t be doing so. I also told her that I informed social services of this on 23 July when I was discharged from hospital. She actually admitted that she had questioned the plan herself, and said that I would have to discuss this with the social workers assigned to us. Apparently, the social workers want to meet us on a three -weekly basis, so it looks like we are going to have fun and games over the next three months.

Taxpayers’ money

I am disgusted that the department is wasting taxpayers’ money on a series of errors and unnecessary assessments. I am standing my ground and determined that NCC are not going to disrupt our lives. I am not going to make things easy for them.

Wasting resources on my case

I spent the day with Laura, my older daughter, and we talked about the current situation with social services. Laura is 17, nearly 18, and even she has commented on how irresponsible and inadequate NCC social services are. We reflected on the poor girl in Birmingham who starved to death, partly due to social services’ lack of input and mistakes. Social services complain that they are overworked and under-resourced. Perhaps if they didn’t waste time on cases like mine they would have more time for those families that really do need the help?

Does a 17-year-old have any right to privacy?

I also passed on to the manager Laura’s concern about her health records being shared without her consent. The response I got was as there was a child protection issue and Laura is still deemed a child her records can be shared with anyone involved. Surely Laura has a right to privacy and confidentiality just as much as an adult? If anyone reading this has any thoughts on this issue or any knowledge of children’s rights I would like to hear from you.

I’ve been told a social worker is going to contact us today to make arrangements to see us. I won’t hold my breath and will keep you all posted.

Love and best wishes

Angela x