Hi everyone and welcome to Bristol Grandparents Support Group blog. Although we are Bristol based we have grandparents from all over the UK and beyond as members.

It is estimated that over one million children in the UK are denied contact with their grandparents due to family breakdown which may have been caused by divorce/separation, alcohol/drug dependency,domestic violence,bereavement or family feud.
Every child has the right to have contact with their grandparents
if they wish and unless proven unsafe for them to do so. To deny contact from a parent or grandparent has to become as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
I hope to keep you up to date with what is going on in BGSG and I shall continue to campaign for the rights of children to have a loving and meaningful relationship with both parents and their extended family. So please join in as good to hear your views, not just mine!
I also will support via Skype.
There is no membership fee to be part of Bristol Grandparents Support Group.
Esther Rantzen says, " To every grandparent, links of love can never be broken in our hearts."

Please contact during office hours.

Monday 30 April 2012

Do experts harm family court cases?



Article on SilverLink Network

Thanks to www.silverlinksnetwork.com for publishing my article, well worth a visit. http://www.silverlinksnetwork.com/family/15-grandparents-acess


Right to see children's medical records.

Grandparents often ask questions on behalf of their daughter/sons, one is regarding health information. Hope this helps.

Do Parents Have the Right to See Their Children’s Medical Records?
If you child is under the age of sixteen then you may be able to see your child's medical records. Firstly, you must have Parental Responsibility for your child. If so, you can apply to a health professional for information and they must provide it. If you wish to see a GP or other medical practitioner, they are obligated to see you and to discuss matters relating to your child's health. If you contact the medical practice and are having difficulty with access, then it is best to put your request in writing.

Do You Have Parental Responsibility?
If you are the birth mother of your child, then you naturally have Parental Responsibility. If you are a father, however, you may not have Parental Responsibility. You may have it if you were married to the mother of the child at the time of the birth or through one of the following:
                The mother has agreed that you have Parental Responsibility;
                You have been granted a Parental Responsibility Order by the Courts; or
                You jointly registered the birth of your child with the mother (after 01 December 2003).

Can You Be Refused Information?
The answer is yes. If it is considered in their best interests to share information with you and if the child is considered too young to understand your application, then the health professional will usually share information. They can only pass information on to you if they have your child's consent.

If, therefore, you child is a teenager and they have asked the doctor something that they wish to be treated in confidence, then you will not be informed upon request. There are teenagers who wish to talk to their doctors about matters concerning them such as birth control, without their parents knowing.
They may also refuse information if they believe that their patient will suffer serious harm to their physical or mental well being or to any other individual. Other scenarios may include where your child's information contains further information about another individual and upon revealing your child's information, the other individual's right to confidentiality could be trespassed.

How Should You Approach a Health Professional for Information?
If you try to contact you GP or any other health professional and are unsuccessful, then the best way to make a formal request is to put it in writing. If you include a copy of your Parental Responsibility Order or marriage certificate, or your child's birth certificate with your name on it (after 01 December 2003 if you are named as the father), then this might speed up the process. If you do not include this, then you may be asked to provide it at a later date.

What Can You Do If Your Request Is Refused?
As detailed above, there may actually be a really good reason as to why your request for information has been refused, though perhaps, as a concerned parent or guardian, you may not agree. If you are really concerned, you should ask the professional how you can make a complaint.

The first person to complain to is the General Practice Manager. If this does not work, then you may wish to apply to the Information Commissioner or to the Local Area Health Authority, if you wish to access records, which have been refused.

What About If You Do Not Know Who Your Child's Doctor Is?
If you are unable to find out who your child's doctor is, for example, their other parent has not told you, then you can contact the Primary Care Trust or your Local Area Health Authority (the Local Authority in which your child resides) to ask for the details.

You must make a request in writing, again making sure that you include proof of your Parental Responsibility.
In summary, it is understandable that as a worried parent, you want to know all about your child's life. For younger children, it is important for you to be highly involved in their health. It is important, however, to remember that a health professional has an overall duty to do what is in the best interests of their patient and sometimes that means keeping their information confidential.

What is a Prohibited Steps Order?

I was asked today, what is a Prohibited Steps Order? (PSO)

A Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children.
We have all heard the stories of a parent taking their child for the weekend and not returning them or going abroad with them and it becoming extremely difficult for the other parent to get their child back. Thankfully, this is one of the scenarios that a PSO seeks to prevent.

Can I Take My Child on Holiday?
You can only do this if the court agrees. In order for that to happen, you must appear before a magistrate and prove that you are not likely to leave the country and not come back. It also has to be something that your ex-partner agrees to.

Can a Prohibited Steps Order Be Changed?
The answer to this is yes, but only if all parties are in agreement and can satisfy a magistrate at family court.If there have been instances in the past where visitation rights have been exceeded or ignored, the magistrate may feel he or she has no other choice but to rule against any proposed changes to the order. Also, he or she must take into account the effects such changes may have on the child (or children).

What Can I Do If The Other Parent Doesn't Come Back?
There is no easy way to deal with this question – the chances are if they have taken them to a country that has not entered into an agreement with the UK, it may be hard to have your child returned to you. At present there are 45 countries that have entered into an agreement with the UK to help with the recovery of a child in these circumstances.

Does The Prohibited Steps Order Apply Just to Holidays?
No, a PSO also applies to any jurisdiction within the UK as specified by the court at the time of issue. For example, if the court finds that there are grounds to suspect the parent in question may take their child out of the area, then they may specify in the order that they do not do so. Failure to comply with this order is a criminal offence (often charged as kidnapping) and could result in a custodial sentence.


It needs to be a cultural change.

As I have already said that denied contact to children should become as unacceptable as Drink Driving.



Sunday 29 April 2012

London Area Support.

I have a grandparent in London who would be pleased to support and talk to other grandparents in the same heartbreaking situation of denied contact.
Please contact me if you would like to make contact.

14,324 visits to blog!

Once again to everyone who visits this blog, makes comments and brings it to life, we have had
14, 324 hits !
So if you are a regular visitor or a first timer, many,many thanks for your continuing support.
Bristol Grandparents Support Group's main website has been visited by people in the UK and 14 other countries across the world.
The Bristol Grandparents Support group is for you.

This is why we need support.

Here are  a few quotes from grandparents who have found support from the group.
I am so moved by your comments, thank you. It also shows how important it is to know you are not alone, I am always at the end of the phone.

"An Excellent Website, Very Well Structured And With Lots Of Relevant Information, Keep Up The Good Work."

"Many thanks. That is really helpful."

"I am so grateful that you have offered telephone support."

"Your group is a shaft of light in a very distressing situation-it is hard to talk about this with friends.I usually dissolve in tears."

"Thank you so much for what you are doing and have done."

"I need to talk to others that have the same situation. I need help."

"Thanks for listening, it helps to know someone else cares and understands,"

"Thank you for your time and support."

"Thank you for listening and for your help."

"I was a good mother wife and I'm a good grandmother, I
 feel so alone with no one to talk to about this can you help please."

"Reading your story has touched my heart."

"All we want is to see the grandchildren. It's breaking my heart."

"You have helped me a lot for today knowing we are not alone."

 "Can someone please contact me."

"Were do I go from here, please any advice or guidance, would be alot of help."

"Haven't seen my three grandsons in more than a year and miss them so very much. Please help me."

"Listening to Jane speak about her little grandaughter made me feel very sad . I wish she was my childrens Grandmother , they need someone like her ."

"Sadly I live a long way from Bristol so would not be able to attend meetings but it is a comfort to know that there is some support out there."

"Just heard radio 4 prog. - thank you - so sensible/measured/well thought through.
I can well understand how your speaker felt - and it brought tears to my eyes.......with kind regards."

"Can I join your group?"

"I am writing to say that I support you 100% and hope and pray (and suspect very strongly) that one day she will come looking for you and benefit from a wonderful relationship with her grandmother, which every child deserves, and needs."

"Thanks to Jane for being interviewed today on Radio 4. I felt connected by what you said about Grand Children's rights as opposed to our (Grandparent's) rights. I would like to come to the next meeting?"

"Just a few words to say how touched I was by your honour, courage (not a word I use lightly) and righteousness."

"Having someone in the same position and a support group such as yours would have been a release for me, so I say 'Well done and keep up the good work!'.  

"I heard Jane on Radio 4 this morning and was moved to tears because Jane's situation is so like my own. Thank you so much for helping me to realise that I am not alone."

"Thank you for your work."

"The agony of banishment from ones grandchildren's lives is unbearable."

"I have felt so alone for the last 2 years since my daughter in law decided to exclude me from their life and would love to share."

"I had to stop the car to listen to you and listened again on eye player. Everything you said struck such a chord with me."

"Thank you for the broadcast and for saying out loud what I feel it really does help."

"Listening to you speak on the radio today was like hearing my own inner thoughts and feelings.  Like many others no doubt I was sobbing by the end. I would like to establish a support group in Israel."

"I was very impressed with your presentation on BBC Radio 4 this morning of the 21st February, You have mirrored my thoughts completely."

"It is so good to even know there are other people out there who understands."

"Your  website is beautiful and so helpful. Thank you for your efforts and concerns. It is like a candle in the darkness for people who feel bereaved and do not know where to turn."

"Thanks Jane, that's been very useful."

"Just a quick message to say thank you for your work and keep up the good work. Can't type anymore as I can't see through my tears!"
" Thank you for listening."

"I heard your item on Radio 4 today (Feb 21st). It helped me in my difficulty in understanding the actions of one of my daughters."

"So good to speak with you today Jane.  Extremely beneficial for me to be able to truly share what it feels like."

"Thank you for your support, it means so much."

"Thanks for listening by the way,  Have to blow off steam , the situation is stressful .  I appreciate any support you can give  and Thank You."


Tuesday 24 April 2012

April 25th PA Awareness .

Tomorrow is Parental Alienation International Awareness Day, for those of you who have been involved in Parental Alienation will know only too well what it is.
For those of you who unclear, it is a process that can happen when couples separate, when the resident parent takes on the role of alienating the child from the other parent and extended family.
It could be that the resident parent says horrible things about the resident parent and family, a drip feed of negative thoughts ensues.
A child is constantly told that the other parent doesn't love them anymore, and doesn't want anything to do with the child, some children are told that their grandparents have died.
The child, has no way of knowing that information they are being given is not correct, and as a child it is so much easier to agree with the parent they live with, rather than to question it, for questioning it makes it more difficult for them. Arguments can occur and resentment.
So better to say nothing and just agree.
For all parents out there who have or are experiencing this insidious problem of alienation, it is important that you hang in there. You may have decided to back off or fight it, but one day your children will be asking questions and you want to make sure that you are still there for them, as you always were.
Hope is what we have and we need to remember that, and I for one will never give up hope.
The children deserve it.

Is it the grandchilds' choice?

As you know I am working on the issue of grandparents being accused, arrested etc, just for leaving or sending birthday presents and cards, for their grandchildren, as it is seen as Harassment.
It needs mentioning of course, that if a complaint is made the complainant is the parent, it is not the grandchild who is making a complaint, so if the present and card is for the grandchild, what right does a parent have to deny them that choice of a gift?

Monday 23 April 2012

Woman's Hour talk to a grandad.

This morning Womans' Hour did an item about granddads, speaking to Johnny Ball. He said how upsetting it is when grandparents are denied contact, but strangely once again it was glossed over.
I am curious why ?

Saturday 21 April 2012

Many Thanks to Charlotte Leslie MP.

I would just like to thank my MP Charlotte Leslie, for her very prompt response to my email regarding National Police Policy on Harassment.
She has written to the Minister and will let me know the response.

Friday 20 April 2012

Support Groups List.

I have had several of you saying you want to set up groups in your area.
Please can you let me know if you have already started the process, so that we can have a working list, to signpost grandparents to the group nearest them.
Marc and I are willing to come and meet you and have a chat about how to go about it, so if you are thinking about it let me know.
It is important for me to know about active groups.

Stevenage Group.

I have been contacted today by a grandparent who is keen to set up a group in Stevenage.

Woman Magazine

Today I have done an interview with Woman mag on denied contact, will let you know when it is to be published.

Yasmin Alibhai-Browns' Interview.

I have been asked if the Radio 4 interview is still available, well it is and here is the link.


Wednesday 18 April 2012

Template letter to try and regain contact.

I have been asked for a template of a letter to use when writing to a grandchild's parent, in a hope to regain contact. You can use this and jiggle it about a bit for your own personal use.

Template for a letter to try to regain contact.


I just wanted to write to see if there is a possible way forward to enable us to talk or see ………., and to begin to rebuild a relationship?

Not being able to be part of …… life is devastating and …… is missed beyond words by all the family.

By denying contact ………… is effectively being denied a relationship with the family representing half of his/her genetic origin, and identity.

Grandparents can be a valuable emotional and practical resource and support for grandchildren. Maybe you could ask ………… what they think about not seeing us?

If it was possible for you and ………. to keep in touch with the family, it will help ……. Understand his/her family roots , personal identity, links to all his/her family and a clear understanding of family structure and meaning across generations.

I really hope that we can all move forward , if not perhaps we could all consider mediation, for the sake of ……………

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Write to your MP.

I have just emailed my MP over the Harassment issue, I would urge you to do the same.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Surrey Support

Is there a grandparent in Surrey that would be willing to contact another grandparent in the area?

Monday 16 April 2012

Grandparents accused of Harassment for sending a grandchild a birthday card?

I find it completely incomprehensible that grandparents who send birthday cards or presents can be accused of Harassment, but they are.
I am not making it up, it happens, it is time that this ridiculous situation is aired and questions asked.
Grandparents often will not talk about it as they are so ashamed, they may have been arrested or are threatened with a harassment order. As indeed are non resident parents, just because they want to show their children/grandchildren they love them and they have not be forgotten, by sending a card or present.
What sort of society are we living in when precious Police time is spent on this sort of ridiculous situation?

--Definition of Harassment. According to NPIA National Policing Improvement Agency. Practise Advice on Investigating Stalking and Harassment.
This practice advice deals with behaviour which is repeated and unwanted by the victim and causes the victim to have a negative reaction in terms of alarm or distress. Behaviour by a suspect as part of a campaign of harassment can include:
Frequent, unwanted contact, eg, appearing at the home or workplace of the victim, telephone calls, text messages, emails or other contact such as via the internet (ie, social networking sites);
Driving past the victim’s home or work;Following or watching the victim;Sending letters or unwanted ‘gifts’ to the victim;
· Damaging the victim’s property;
· Burglary or robbery of the victim’s home, workplace, vehicle or other;
· Threats of harm to the victim and/or others associated with them (including sexual
violence and threats to kill);
· Harassment of people associated with the victim (eg, family members, partner, work
· Physical and/or sexual assault of the victim and even murder.----

Have you had a harassment order? Need to know ASAP.

I am trying to find out a rough number of grandparents who have had a harassment order served on them.
Also how many of you have been to court to try and get contact and the cost?
As always I will not pass on your personal details to anyone without your permission.
It is imperative that the public are made aware of who and why people get a harassment order, it needs to out there in the media.
There is a very good reason for me to find out some numbers!

Sunday 15 April 2012

Interesting read.

Karen Woodall's latest blog, on Shared Parenting .

Saturday 14 April 2012

Here to help.

If anyone is out there thinking,"I would like to set up a group in my area," please get in touch.
Marc and I would be happy to come and meet you and talk you through the "how to's,"
it doesn't have to be arduous, it can be as small or big as you feel comfortable with.
The basis being that it is a support group, there to give support to other grandparents who are going through this issue.
In some areas, a group may consist of just a couple of people getting together over a cuppa and sharing their anxieties.

Friday 13 April 2012

Annual Report.

Many thanks to everyone who attended todays meeting and AGM, it was good to see you all.
Also thanks to those who are trustees for the coming year, some of you like it so much decided to carry on!
Here are bullet points covered,of the last 12 months.
:Daily Mail article.
:Website launch.
:Successful bid for funding from Quartet,Neighbourhood Partnership, Waitrose Community Matters,and private donations.
:Attended consultation in Cardiff on Family Justice Review.
:Article in Bristol Older Peoples Forum.
:Leaflets, Posters,Compliment Slips and roll up banner designed and printed.
:Referrals from CAB.
:Family Justice Review published.
:Asked by granny net to write articles and set up a denied contact section on forum.
:Christmas Tree messages.
:Interview with Bristol Community Radio.
:Contact with Lay Pastor in Virginia USA regards setting up a group.
:Radio 4 Interview with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, overwhelming response.
Interview with Radio Suffolk.
:Over 13,000 hits on blog.
:Article in Mature Times.
:Researcher from Songs of Praise spent the afternoon with us.
:Talking to Inside out West next week.
:Marc did Financial report.

Been quite a busy 12 months!!!

Monday 9 April 2012

Woman's Hour, did they miss an opportunity?

Woman's Hour did a programme on grandparents this morning, my view was that the issue of denied contact was skipped over, what do you think?

Finger Prints in Uganda.

As grandparents who are denied contact we always wonder how our grandchildren are if they are safe and happy.
I watch programmes of little children in other countries going through their lives with such strength and resourcefulness, of course the children who are not in our lives are hopefully fortunate to be living a life that is very far removed from these children.
I worked at a primary school several years ago with a teacher who has put her concerns of children in Uganda into practical support and help, here is a link to her website it is astonishing what she is achieving.


Saturday 7 April 2012

Lawyers Article.

Article in Mature times, try clicking on the image to enlarge.

Happy Easter.

For those of us who won't be seeing a grandchild/grandchildren this Easter, just want you to know that I am thinking of you all.
It is 5 years this Easter since we have seen L........, and it doesn't get any easier, I hope that she and all children denied contact with a parent or grandparent will one day know how they are all missed and that we are here for them and that we love them more than words can say.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Is there such a thing as a perfect grandparent?

How do you see the role as grandparent?
I my opinion parents and their decisions must come first, it is not up to us to interfere, after all we learnt by our mistakes when bringing our children up, our children have to do the same.
Be there to give support if and when you are asked to.
As you know I have just become a grandparent again and the love I feel for the little ones is immeasurable, it is the same feeling that I had when our granddaughter was born, it is totally different from the feelings I had when my children were born.
It is difficult to put it into words.
For those of us who have experienced the loss of our grandchildren due to denied contact will understand how hard it is, not knowing if they are ok,safe or happy, that feeling has not gone away just because of the little ones. If anything it is even stronger.
So I must learn lessons from the past and make sure that I am there for my children and grandchildren when they want me to be.
Let me know what you think about the grandparents role.