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Step child victim of child abuse.

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My step daughter was recently physically abused by her step father. Currently the children were removed from their mothers care and placed with my husband and I. Their Mom does has supervised visits with the kids once a week. Her husband is not to have any contact with any child under the age of 18 as a condition of he bond.
My husband and I have raised concerns about abuse in the past both physical and emotional, but because we did not have any concrete evidence of it, our concerns were dismissed by the courts and custody evaluators. The childrens Mom has practiced PAS for years telling the kids that her new husband is Daddy and referring to my husband their Dad by his first name only, and also tells them things like he is mean, and doesn’t really love them, etc. Since this abuse occured she has made comments in court trying to down play the seriousness of the abuse, i.e. “it was just her fingers that were burned it’s not that serious”, etc. She is standing by her husband 100% and is basically convinced all of this (her husband being charged with felony child abuse, and her kids being taken from her) are a result of my husbands actions. Which isn’t true everything was set in motion the moment they set foot in the hospital because of ther seriousness of my step daughters injuries, it was obvious that this was intentionally done to her. But of course everyone is lying. We had no knowledge of what was going on until we arrived at the hospital.
Their Mom is not to mention anything about what happend during her visits, or discuss her husband, or my husband with the children at all.
Recently on one of her weekly visits she gave each of the children a card that read “we Love and Miss You Love Mommy and Daddy” (meaning her husband). We are still waiting to hear from CPS, as to whether or not this will constitute contact, but it’s obvious to us that this is emotionally harmful to my step daughter. I am wondering what type of long term effects this will have on her emotionally. Having her Mom one of the people you are supposed to be able to count on most defending her abuser, rather then protecting her. She is only 4 years old but is very aware what happened to her is wrong, and has expressed never wanting to see step dad again and she has been promised that she will never have to by not only us but the doctors and nurses that cared for her in the hospital and CPS. But it’s obvious that her Mom see nothing wrong with what he did and will not maintain the no contact. Can you give me some insite or maybe direct me to somewhere that I can read up more on this subject. We are currently looking for a therepist in our area to take the kids to.
Thank you.

Step child victim of child abuse.

Answered by on -


Whether or not the note constitutes contact is a legal question. My guess is that it does and that the kids’ mom actually did you a favor by violating the condition of visits. My hope is that the supervision of her visits will be intensified as a result. She is apparently quite ill. She doesn’t get it that her attitude and behavior are damaging her own children.
You are right to be concerned about the long-term effects of such abuse. However, there are several good reasons to be hopeful. The children are young. They have been removed from the situation where they were being repeatedly abused. Best of all, they have a loving father and step-mom who are doing their best to show them that there are adults in the world who can be counted on to provide love and protections. You and your husband provide an essential counter-model to what they have experienced. Please don’t be surprised if the children “test” you in some way. It’s understandable if they don’t trust the grown ups. But with time and the love and patience of you and your husband, they can emotionally heal. I’m glad you are looking for a therapist. CPS should be able to give you the names of professionals who specialize in childhood trauma. Once the therapist gets to know the children, she or he will be able to give you specific advice tailored to the kids’ personalities and coping styles.
I wish you all well.
Dr. Marie

Step child victim of child abuse.

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Step child victim of child abuse.. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 25, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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