Tower Hamlets council criticised by judge for supporting 'rapist' father in domestic abuse case

Tower Hamlets Council
Tower Hamlets Council

A judge has sharply criticised a London council over its handling of a domestic abuse case in which a mother was found to have been raped twice.

Tower Hamlets social workers disregarded a court’s findings that a father-of-three had committed “very serious domestic abuse” against his wife, including rape and strangulation, in a custody case.

Instead, officials backed the couple’s three children staying with their father at their family home, despite the court finding he had committed physical abuse against them as well.

The family cannot be identified for legal reasons, but Her Honour Judge Madeline Reardon said Tower Hamlets should be named against its wishes so that it could be held “accountable” over its “dangerous” approach.

“The local authority’s approach in this case amounts, in my judgement, to a serious failure in its child protection responsibilities,” she said in a critical judgement handed down in private.

She added that by supporting the father’s custody of the children, social workers had been “facilitating and reinforcing patterns of significant domestic abuse.”

East London Family Court heard how the couple’s marriage broke down after the mother reported being raped in 2022.

She later moved out of the family home, with both police and social workers viewing her “solely as a perpetrator of harm and not as a victim.”

The father then encouraged two of the children to “copy his abusive behaviours towards the mother”.

Judge Reardon ordered that the mother be allowed to return to the family home to look after two of the three children, while the father was ordered to vacate.

He will be allowed to see the children three times a week under arrangements to be facilitated by social workers.

Judge Reardon declined to publish the judgement in full, citing the children’s right to privacy.