Why is it so difficult to be heard?

Susan Smith, presenter of the World According to the Knock
February 25, 2024

The one person that has been most affected by “ The Knock”* is our youngest daughter. She witnessed the 2nd arrest, suffered immense bullying, 2 police interviews and was completely separated from her father for 18 months due to a false allegation by the police and yet there was no help or support. To be fair our social worker tried her hardest to get her help but it took 17 months to get her therapy (which actually caused more damage due to their lack of knowledge and training around these offences) but that is the only professional involved with our family that even tried or even asked how our daughter actually was! No one wanted to help, no one wanted to listen and no one cared about the massive effect all of this had on an 8 year old child!

During this time we also lost our home (her safe space) due to the landlord selling the property and so we became homeless and had to involve our council to help us with temporary accommodation which eventually they found for us (this was all during covid lockdown just to add to the pile of crap that had already been dealt to us). This happened 2 weeks after her father came home so lots of adjustments and emotions by us all. So I moved her to a different primary school (who were extremely intrusive and wanted all the info on my husband's offence which I refused!) She was there for only 3 months! During this time we also had to choose a secondary school and we had already decided we wanted her to go to a school out of the area so she could have a fresh start and so my 1st battle began with the council!

They offered her a place at the school where all her bullies were going and so I refused and asked for an appeal which was denied, I then applied for a school out of the area and that was refused, another appeal denied, another school applied for and refused, another appeal denied and then I just lost it!! I rang the council and threatened to go to the papers about how they really deal with children with mental health issues!!

Next day I received a phone call offering her a place at a school out of the area! All on her last day of primary school! We went to have a look and she fell in love with the school!! She is now in her 2nd year there and thriving, has many friends, extremely supportive staff especially the SEND team but still struggles daily with her mental health. Our doctors have been more than useless. All they did was refer us to social services which were already involved with our family!

So then I had our 2nd battle with the council due to our housing options. They were adamant that they would only offer us a flat even though they knew it would be detrimental to our daughters mental health due to noises and being around others. We told them about her fear of noises (due to the 2nd arrest), her immense fear of separation from her family and her immense fear of unknown surroundings. They didn't believe us even our social worker, probation officer and offender manager wrote on our behalf but they wouldn't change their minds.

Thankfully due to the work my husband had done we had met an amazing psychologist who asked if we had thought about getting a proper diagnosis of our daughter and so we started the process. She introduced us to an amazing forensic psychologist (we couldn't use her due to conflict of interest) and so an intensive assessment was conducted.

It was triggering and draining for our daughter but she wanted answers too!! She was tired of not knowing why she felt the way she does, why she wants to self harm (luckily its been a few weeks since the last time), why she became so violent (I lived with black eyes and bruises for weeks).

And so we waited and very quickly received the report. I read it privately and just cried, it answered many unanswered questions, it explained so much and it made me see that I had not failed her as her mother. She was officially diagnosed with CPTSD, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Separation Anxiety Disorder! So much for a 12 year old to deal with for the past 4 years but no one wanted to listen!

I sent the report to our council and waited! A month later we received the outcome from our complaint. It was upheld and they changed the option to a house!


But it shouldn't take many years, lots of heartache, a lot of money to get a child diagnosed with a mental health disorder. All the professionals and organisations need to wake up to the mental damage that is done to children that won't be listened to!

I have spoken on the podcast about our struggles to get a diagnosis as I know there are many out there going through the same thing and have no idea of the process to get a diagnosis that could really help so many innocent children caught up on this journey! But please shout loudly at the professionals because eventually someone will listen.

*Note - "The Knock" is a phrase commonly used in relation to the experience of family members of those arrested for both contact and non-contact sexual offences involving children. I.e. arrest following an unexpected knock at the door.

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