Saturday, June 07, 2014

Scotland's sinister 'Named Person' scheme undermines parental privacy



Please watch this brief interview with James and Rhianwen McIntosh. They are demonstrably intelligent, eloquent, loving parents who know what's best for their four children. Notwithstanding their experience as parents and their intuitive capacity to nurture and love, they have been informed that their children have all been assigned a 'Named Person' to oversee their welfare, supervise their upbringing and intervene where they deem it to be appropriate, even when this conflicts with the will of the praents.

This sinister 'Big Brother' scheme is not due to come into effect until 2016. But in a letter from the Scottish NHS, Mr and Mrs McIntosh were shocked to discover that all future letters and medical reports would be shared with their children's 'Named Person' - without their consent. Holyrood has effectively passed a bill which nullifies parental rights and endows the state with higher baby-sitting authority: Scotland has become the progenitor and guardian of all her children - not ultimately or in extremis, but right from the beginning.

It has also been reported in the Express that parents will be reported to the state for trivial family incidents, such as forgetting a child’s doctor's or hospital appointment. Although the scheme is not set to be fully implemented until August 2016, the Scottish Government guidance is now being used by the NHS to justify sharing data on children with head teachers. Some parents received a letter from a paediatrician in NHS Forth Valley that said, “we are now required to inform the Named Person for your child if your child fails to attend an appointment”.

“In addition, we may also send them copies of future relevant reports,” it continued.

The bizarre thing is that a child's 'Named Person; is not available for consultation or discussion: they may be a health worker or teacher tasked by the state to monitor the child until they reach the age of majority. As Aidan O’Neill QC observes, this is “predicated on the idea that the proper primary relationship that children will have for their well-being and development, nurturing and education is with the State rather than within their families and with their parents”.

Director of The Christian Institute Colin Hart said: “This is the kind of situation we have been warning about since MSPs decided to meddle with the rights of families to have a private life. The state seems intent on usurping the role of parents and reducing them to helpless spectators in the lives of their children. Mums and dads should be very afraid of this kind of Big Brother invasion into their lives and their homes.”

One must hope and pray that the Coalition policy outlined in the Queen's Speech - to criminalise causing psychological or emotional harm to children - is not a step on the way to a UK-wide 'Named Peron'. We must all be rightly appalled when children suffer neglect and harm, but a state policy which potentially criminalises the likes of James and Rhianwen McIntosh is manifestly one which impinges upon liberty and will surely target the innocent.

46 Comments:

Blogger Roy said...

Doesn't this "named person" law conflict with the European Convention on Human Rights, or does that only apply to terrorists and other criminals?

Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

7 June 2014 at 10:03  
Blogger graham wood said...

If there is one single reason for rejecting the Scots/Nats ambitions for Scottish independence, then this it.
This policy is from the pit and reveals the incipient facscist nature of Salmond and fellow travellers.
It stems from a deeply atheistic view of marriage and the family and the God given right of parents as directly responsible, under God, for the nurture and welfare of their own children.
Actually, the only "named persons" are rightly the parents themselves.
How dare Salmond arrogate to the Scottish state such totalitarian powers based on an atheistic whim.

7 June 2014 at 10:08  
Blogger graham wood said...

Roy. I agree, and you are absolutely right on the reach of the Human Rights aspect here.
I suggest too that the legal complications of seeking to define ultimate responsibility for day to day decisions in cases of parents versus "named person" would be prohibitive .
The potential for extended and vexatious litigation as to the clarification of competing "rights" would be endless, and needlessly expensive for all concerned.
Politically Salmond's policy would be counter-productive and render him the laughing stock of sane and rational people in Scotland and everywhere.
The "named people" called the electorate would, I think, ensure rejection with contempt of this lightweight , but crafty politician , which he so richly
deserves.

7 June 2014 at 10:25  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Your Grace,

You are absolutely right to describe this legal innovation as "sinister" - indeed sinister !

I agree totally with Graham Wood @ 10.08 who has hit most of the nails firmly on their heads.

Here we are just finished remembering D - Day and the liberation of the european continent from the Nazi jackboot. Therefore it is deeply ironical that so called democratic governments are intruding deeper and deeper into the private lives of individuals and families. It seems to me, a child born into the early 50s and the freedom won through the sacrifice of brave men and women, that the struggle to maintain personal and political freedom is endless. Let us hope that the tide of history will wash away the growing dictatorship burgeoning north of the border.
But there are also laws and "thought control" legislation placed on the statute books by the Westminster Parliament, derived from the EU's atheistic humanism, which laughingly claims to be "neutral", that also clash with the free air of England and I look forward to the day when those impositions can also be scrapped.

7 June 2014 at 11:11  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Graham, this is regrettably not unexpected from the style of Government both here and in Scotland. Not only are they Atheist or self deceived as to their faith, they all totally lack Integrity.

As has been said, we have increasingly less and less ability to have any control over our own lives.

Decisions will be taken over faith issues in peoples lives and in the lives of their children, just as the couple who could not object to their children being adopted by a Gay couple.

When my children were young my wife and I left instructions in our will as to who would be responsible for the welfare of our children. Under this scheme I suspect that our wishes could have been overruled by the named person.

7 June 2014 at 11:13  
Blogger gentlemind said...

Both the "Named Person" policy and the "Cinderlla Law" both flow logically from a legal redefinition of marriage (and therefore parenthood) - away from the legal recognition of a natural reality, into a purely legal concept. The State is consolidating what it understands to be its new power - the power to determine who a child's parents are (and therefore what a parent is/does). In effect, the State now regards parenthood to be a legally-contracted state of mind (hence Cinderella/emotional neglect).

The law is illegitimate and should be disobeyed.

7 June 2014 at 11:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This is all news to me as I don't follow what happens in the Scottish Parliament. I was wondering what on earth the couple had done, having heard the phrase "self-referral" in the clip, but it looks like every child will be allocated a 'guardian'.

Speaking of guardians, here's a link to the Guardian (actually, the Observer):

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/23/scottish-children-government-appointed-guardians

expressing concern.

No doubt we all bring something to each story from our own perspectives and I am reminded of a conversation in the highly-commented thread about "people work[ing] and liv[ing] together and ensur[ing] one another's welfare and wellbeing". This is the darker side of that, I think.

7 June 2014 at 11:27  
Blogger graham wood said...

Shad reach. I totally agree with your comment.
One factor is that our politicians only pay lip service to the nitty gritty of a true democratic process. In practice they deny it. E.g. The redefinition of marriage policy received a massive vote of opposition from over 668,000 concerned people, but was ignored by government.
Thus they believe in arbitrary government on the notorious "elected dictatorship" basis.

A real test of Salmond's democratic credentials would be for him to offer a choice for parents on the "named person" option and then see how many wold choose it.
I suggest the result would be virtually a NIL take-up, and therefore he knows he could not offer same - so like Cameron he would go for compulsion.
This is no new approach is it. Read for example Psalm 94, with special reference to those who "frame mischief by a law"

7 June 2014 at 11:53  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

There is even no guarantee that the "named person" will be more intelligent and capable than the parents. In many cases they will be less intelligent and less capable. In ALL circumstances they will understand the familial culture and nuances far less, and in most the inherited aptitudes and characteristic quirks.

On the whole they will be administrators with certain personality types predominant. The kind of personality type that is unimaginative and likes to order people around and use red tape, I suspect. A whole army of Mrs Ogmore Pritchards (with sociology degrees)from "under Milk Wood" (I know it's Wales and this is Scotland, but I am sure Scotland has some similar, and including men).

"And before you let the sun in , mind he wipes his shoes".

7 June 2014 at 11:58  
Blogger ukFred said...

We now need to see how long it will be before the children of emigrating parents are forcibly removed from them at the airport departure gate, similar to what happened to a couple in Sweden who wished to home-school their children.

7 June 2014 at 12:00  
Blogger ukFred said...

@Lucy Mullen
If the named persons are social workers,then it is pretty certain they will be less equipped to deal with the children than parents.

7 June 2014 at 12:02  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Roy (10:03)—The exclusions in paragraph 2 drive a coach and horses through the inspiring doctrine of paragraph 1, as they are meant to.

7 June 2014 at 12:03  
Blogger Len said...

If anyone had any illusions that we are living in a democracy this intrusion by the State into the human and parental rights of parents should dispel that myth...How is it that the children that really need help are the ones who 'slip through the net' and end up neglected or far worse?.
This is sinister development of the big brother principle which creates the problem then comes up with the solution which is ever greater State control and infringement of freedom.

'Another development to come soon is 'the secret trial' 'Secret trial 'threatens to undermine the centuries-old British principle of open justice'

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/terror-trial-to-be-heard-in-secret-in-break-with-tradition-9488504.html

'This is the thin end of the wedge'

7 June 2014 at 12:07  
Blogger Tom Mushroom said...

A commentator on Danjo's link @ 11.27 says that the following organisations approve of the legislation.

Children in Scotland

Parenting Across Scotland

Action for Children

Aberlour

Barnardo’s Scotland

Scottish Youth Parliament

Children 1st Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)

One Parent Families Scotland

Scottish Childminding Association

Quarriers

Royal College of Nursing

NSPCC

7 June 2014 at 12:55  
Blogger James said...

It has also been reported in the Express that parents will be reported to the state for trivial family incidents, such as forgetting a child’s doctor's or hospital appointment.

Yeah, right. And of course the Stuer^D^D^D^D^D Express operates to the very highest standards of journalistic integrity.

7 June 2014 at 13:04  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

For the record, the Association of Directors of Social Work in Scotland opposed the all embracing nature of this legislation and the concept of a "named person".

Its intention is the early identification of families who's children might need additional support. In practice, where this "support" is refused, parents will most probably be labelled "negligent".

Like commentators above, Jack is deeply suspicious of frontline health and education professionals "assessing" children as needing state intervention because they exercise their right not to cooperate with them - or live their lives outside of the 'middle class' norm.

As for social workers, their capacity to make sensible decisions has not been helped by the introduction of degree level entry and increases in salaries. It will now get worse as referrals to them from "named persons" will rocket.

7 June 2014 at 13:15  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

It is in the nature of socialism and secularist government to make ever greater incursions into the lives of citizens.

The late and sadly missed Auberon Waugh was very sound on this. He railed in his Spectator essays against what he termed 'white coated lesbians' in the state's employ who, every time there was a tragedy involving child neglect, demanded ever greater powers of intervention and supervision so that (all together now' THIS WILL NEVER BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN AGAIN!!!!'

They always fail, and after each failure always demand more powers and more money.

This is a grim omen for Scots. I hope they will see Salmond and Sturgeon and their communist crew for what they are before making a terrible mistake-for certainly the English taxpayer will never be persuaded to have them back once they are gone.

7 June 2014 at 14:25  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

HJ
Yes and on what model will the health and education workers be "assessing" the children?

What sort of a tickbox mentality does this remind us of?

Social workers with degrees wont have any experience of life or much common sense for that matter.

But what do you expect from a country steeped in left wing culture.

7 June 2014 at 14:37  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Marie 1797

Completely agree. We all have different ideas of what is right and wrong in bringing up children. I consider letting them watch all the Harry Potter films or watching on unblinking while a child plays "Autotheft whatever" all forms of child abuse.

Other parents disagree and are free to.

Some appear to think that letting children jump mud puddles and get close to nature and a bit dirty is awful, and I disagree.

However the important thing is that we let each other get along, and respect the fact that other people's children are not your own, and their ways are not your own.

I have even heard of a primary school child with mildly webbed toes having her parents reported to the local authority school nurse for not having "dealt with" it, in, presumably an unnecessarily painful cosmetic operation. The busybodies are always convinced they are right. Oddly enough the same mediocre teachers were also at the same time encouraging kids to go and stay at the house of a child who was a bit "off" as they felt sorry for her due to the parents going through a nasty divorce. Turned out the father was a child abuser who went down for a hefty period and abused some of the schoolfriends.

So these experts not infrequently hassle the easy or non-existent cases whilst missing the enormous nasty right under their noses.

Which is why every sane society understands whose children they are, and leaves parents the mass of responsibility, and, indeed, there are so many really nasty cases that it is utterly unrealistic to deal with anything other than the worst. You do not deal with the worst more effectively by constant scrutiny of the average to good. Just a waste of very scarce resources.

7 June 2014 at 15:05  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

This intrusion into family life is totally unacceptable in what is claimed to be a free and democratic society. The presumption that every parent is potentially a bad one is both insulting and degrading.

I see that a legal challenge is to be launched. Lawyers claim MSPs are acting illegally and exceeding their powers by setting up the scheme to “appoint so-called state monitors or guardians in direct contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights”.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/scotland/top-stories/child-named-person-plan-monstrous-invasion-1-3436462

This state intrusion into family life could well surface in the rest of the UK, since it was the Scottish Labour Party that pioneered the concept and backed the scheme introduced by the Scottish Government. We want no Stalinism here.

7 June 2014 at 15:51  
Blogger Nick said...

I heard about this "named person" scheme some months ago and was pretty shocked about it. I wonder what the state thinks it will achieve through the scheme, especially if there is no contact between this person and the family?

Presumably, the child doesn't know the person's identity either, or he/she could blow their cover. So that means these stste snoopers are simply compiling a dossier on the parents misdeanors for the purpose of punishing them. The objective is almost certainly political and cultural coercion through intimidation. There are many people around the world who , through their own bitter experience, would warn us against going down this state-snooping route. Sinister days for our friends north of the border. Let's pray this particular political cancer doesn't spread south.

7 June 2014 at 15:56  
Blogger Brian West said...

If the parents do not know the identity of the named person, how can they properly be called a 'named person'?

Brian

7 June 2014 at 16:44  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Lucy
I agree with you too, it's none of the state's business how families bring up their children.

7 June 2014 at 17:12  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Now gather round chaps...

This, in case you are not aware, is a classic demonstration of socialism in action.

The Scots have been binging on the stuff for some decades now, so this kind of rot was inevitable.

If you vote for the socialists, and that includes the SNP which is socialism with a nationalistic flavour (Hmmm, sounds familiar...) you really can’t expect to remain free men. Not when the state decides it’s better you do as you are told.

So there you have it. Don’t vote for the scoundrels.

Well, that’s it. As you were...

7 June 2014 at 18:12  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Socialist governments are intrinsically corrupt. Suggest the couple arrange an audience with the chief meddler whose done this to them and slip them an envelope with a couple of hundred in it. Worth a try...

7 June 2014 at 18:39  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Tom Mushroom

How on earth did Aberlour find its way into your list. It’s a single highland malt. The inspector has a bottle of it in front of him. 10 years old, no less. That’s year 7 in school terms one understands. Anyway, the product claims it...

“...achieves a remarkable harmony marrying subtle aromas of spice with hints of autumn fruits, giving it a soft and long finish”

Well, don’t know about all that, but it’s damn good stuff and does the trick !

Chars !

7 June 2014 at 19:34  
Blogger Tom Mushroom said...

Inspector

I had no idea that Aberlour is also whisky!

As your a Catlick, I believe, "Slainte mhor!"

7 June 2014 at 19:45  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ I G in O

Well, you can copy that for a dating website:

Subtle aroma of spice seeks hint of Autumn fruits for a soft and long finish.

I imagine Mrs P. would come running- that is if she has a sturdy pair of boots and is not to ladylike to run.

7 June 2014 at 19:52  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

PS if these rulers are so bluddy concerned about child welfare, why don't they do more to support the traditional married family, you know-with a mum and a dad?

A very high proportion of abuse and neglect is perpetrated by 'mum's latest boyfriend' yet the tax and benefit system has been so arranged as to greatly facilitate fatherless households.

Of course socialist politicians detest people managing very well without their help. Less for them to do so less reason for them.

7 June 2014 at 19:59  
Blogger MFH said...

It is aimed at stoping parents bringing up thier children to believe in God. So you wont be able to read the bible to them or take them to church etc.
Of course it will be applied to all religions equally, but more equally with conservative evangelicals.
Its time for Jesus to return.

7 June 2014 at 20:03  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Greetings Tom, Lucy. Been a bit of time since the Inspector took a lady out. They used to drink Babycham back then. Think one remembers they used to ask for something else, but one always came back with Babycham for them.

For the benefit of Carl, who probably has never heard of single Highland malt, it’s a superior firewater, as you chaps in the Americas would understand it.

Pip Pip !


7 June 2014 at 20:14  
Blogger dav phi said...

As in all things, you get what you vote for and if there is no opposition there is no choice. Tyranny.

7 June 2014 at 20:26  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Your Grace,
I have been considering the multiple ways in which we are being unwillingly controlled by central government. Greater and greater control should not be the policy of a Conservative Government.
Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve problems.
Conservatives believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets and individual liberty which is not a hall mark of todays Conservatives.

This unmitigated interference in our private lives has very much a Kafkaesque surreal quality.

7 June 2014 at 22:06  
Blogger Nick said...

Just took a look at this on the Scottish government website. They try to explain the role of these named persons. It's incredibily vague and general, which leaves it open to wide interpretation and abuse of course. It also says "This means that the child and their family have a point of contact who can work with them to sort out any further help, advice or support if they need it."

It seems from the video that the Scottish government has already reneged on this bit of the definition if, as it seems, parents have no right to know who the person is.

7 June 2014 at 22:41  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Nick, the intention is to work in partnership with parents to secure better "outcomes" for children ... blah ... blah. It's part of a program called "Getting it Right for Every Child" that has been running for a number of years and is now a legal obligation on health services and local authorities. This requires parents knowing the "named person". Falkirk needs to get its act together and identify these professions and notify parents. In this case it may be because there are children of ages and each might have a "named person" unless agencies - health, social work and education - agree to nominate one. They'll argue who it should be, of course.

The other issues about state intrusion and family privacy are more serious than the administrative and bureaucratic cock-ups that are inevitable.

8 June 2014 at 00:06  
Blogger setting free the bears said...

What Happy Jack says above is correct. The greater danger here is over cock-up rather than the rather hysterical and fanciful charge of "the state attempting to replace parents".

The use of Named Persons has been uncontroversial in previous Social legislation and has been in existence for some time. The element which causes alarm and, to be fair, righteous concern, is the lack of an opt out.

There are a few myths emerging about the purpose of this legislation.

Firstly, it is not, specifically, an SNP policy idea as it has grown out of orthodox social services policy and has general cross party backing.

Secondly, it developed from proposals of what parents wanted. Concerned as they were by having to provide complex information on disability, mental health or other issues of vulnerability to each and every professional agency and new body they encountered, it was thought that a "One Stop Shop" of central information gathering would ease this tedious burden for parents. It stemmed from good intentions but we know where good intentions can sometimes lead.

Thirdly, it has attempted to breach the gap that has resulted in several tragedies of child rearing in the UK and elsewhere, most of which has been caused by the State's (and I know that may be a red rag word to some) inability to keep track of vulnerable children and families because they do not cooperate with attempts to help them. A family with a long list of warning signs can, and often does, up sticks and head to a new Local Authority area, in order to avoid increasing supervision. Information is slow to follow and sometimes never arrives. There has been great public pressure on local authority and government to ensure sifter transfer of accurate information to prevent child tragedies and not to be so reliant on the openness and honesty of individual parents who are often the perpetrators of the abuse we are trying to prevent. It is difficult to fully protect parents rights in these circumstances as there is a troubling tension between the rights of the child and the rights of the parent.

Fourthly, this is not a new and untested era we are entering. These proposals have been piloted for, I believe, around 5 years already in two parts of Scotland. So far, they have not thrown up the kinds of concerns (and I accept they are legitimate concerns) that the family in your video are expressing. There has not been a spate of incidents over this lengthy period of families being in dispute with the piloting authorities over the oppressive Big Brother nature of the legislation in practice. It has proved to be a bit of an uncontroversial damp squib in practice, poorly implemented rather than enthusiastically prosecuted..

Of course, we could be being fooled by a stealthy roll out and, once it becomes universal, the real oppression will begin. I do not share that paranoia. Local Authorities are more likely to fail to keep to standards in updating and maintaining the information than they are likely to use it to undermine families with unnecessary interventions. Their whole philosophy is to intervene as lightly as possible and they are already under strain in coping with the frighteningly high levels of children already in care because their families have failed to nurture them.

I would not weep if this bill was scrapped. I am not a strong advocate of all aspects of it. But, even if it were, we would still have to develop alternative legislation that tried to negotiate this difficult territory between child protection and parental rights.

Rather than merely carp at the prospective, and so far, unproven frightening aspects of the legislation, we would be better served by hearing ideas on how we could improve this area and make the legislation better.

Because the problems it seeks to address are not going away.

8 June 2014 at 14:44  
Blogger John Malcolmson said...

Setting free the bears @ 14.44

I take on board all the points you make about how this proposal is a logical extension to the system that already exists, paricularly the point you make about a "One Stop Shop".

But surely the deeper issue is about how we have got to the point where there are so many dysfunctional families, and as a result, so many children at risk.

Two questions here. Has the problem of child abuse within families always been so widespread, and the reason it seems more so now is just that the authorities are more vigilant? Or has it got worse in recent years, even as the level of vigilance has increased?

Finally I would ask why families "at risk" cannot be targeted more effectively, rather than potentially tar everybody with the same brush. Or would such targeting be a desecration of the high altar of equality?

8 June 2014 at 19:24  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Setting free the bears
"...the problems it seeks to address are not going away".

I agree and very strongly. Not one of us here would wish to be soft on genuine child abuse.

But I remain to be convinced that treating all as potentially guilty is a good path to go down. I would like to see wisely targeted intervention and a sensibly lighter touch. Maybe Scotland is better but there have according to the Daily Mail been 10,000 applications for care in England this year, which seems way too many to me. It feels like people are being punished unduly, and I read cases where a mother who has once been on drugs even if now off them, automatically gets all babies taken away. That, as s.o. who has never taken any such drugs whatsoever, nevertheless seems very harsh. Also I feel sympathy with the quantity of Slovakian parents who have had their children removed because they abided by different cultural norms in child-rearing. Apparently the Slovakian government is objecting to many of these cases, and saying that these parents were often considered as good parents in their home countries.

The trouble is that there is no consensus on what makes good parenting, other than to provide basic food and relatively hygienic shelter, not abuse children sexually or use corporal punishment that leaves marks or internal damage, not demean them nor humiliate them often, and not let them see things inappropriate to their age or stage. But that last one, and several others are widely interpreted differently, and the last in particular is impossible to police and widely ignored as they play vastly unsuitable video games, see horror films they should be protected from, internet porn that is inappropriate, and they often have their spiritual needs largely unfilled after the age of about 10.

I would like to see more of the problems faced off at inception, such as firmer measures against child porn, rather than treating parents as suspects who must prove their capability to the "professionals", which does happen, witness the school which banned a girl from going to a grandparent's funeral, and which threatened the parents with a substantial fine if she went anyway.

8 June 2014 at 19:52  
Blogger setting free the bears said...

John & Lucy

Thank you both for your courteous replies

I cannot answer all of your questions but I can say that there has always been child abuse and authorities are getting more vigilant in uncovering it. I don't think that all families are being "targeted" as much as no family should be deemed free from suspicion because they seem outwardly respectful. Though abuse is more prevalent in families where poverty and deprivation have lessened self-respect, it is not completely absent from respectful or religious families.

It is not intended that all families should be made to feel guilty though I accept that it may feel that way to anyone who is ever investigated.

I do not wish to give away any confidentialities from my own background but I can paint a real scenario which reveals the difficulties posed. Any professional working with children is under legal obligation to report any suspicions that abuse may be occurring. I know that they do not always do so and the experience below may demonstrate why.

My worst experience was hearing a 6 year old boy who stated to his teacher that his Daddy watches him naked. I knew the family and was 99.9% confident that there would be an innocent explanation for the comment but I had to advise the teaching staff that they had no choice but to report the concern to Social Services. Why? Because of the 0.1% possibility that there may have been something behind it but, also, because of the guilt they may feel if they did not investigate further and the disciplinary action and retrospective criticism they would face from any enquiry. Despite having a previously good working relationship with the family and explanations being given about how they were "duty bound" to act, relationships between school and family were severely hampered by the subsequent investigation which , unsurprisingly, showed there was no cause for concern.

Lucy, I cannot say for certain, that there have been no cases of "cultural norm" investigations but I have never been involved in any and know of no colleagues who have.

There are more than enough instances of genuine abuse occurring across a wide spectrum of families.

While I am not of the same political sympathy as this site, I share some of your concerns about tackling issues at source, to put fewer temptations in the way but that means we cannot be wholly libertarian in approach and must be willing to censor and suppress some so-called rights.

I don't wish to say much more on the subject other than it is complex and hard. I feel for any family who is harshly investigated and evaluated but I also feel the pain of every child who is abused and finds their voices ignored because the perpetrators were respectable, powerful or famous.

Again, I thank you both for the politeness of your replies and the genuineness of your concerns.

8 June 2014 at 21:15  
Blogger Athanasius said...

What is most disturbing (to me, at least) is that out of a parliament of 129 members, this bill was passed by 103, with 15 abstentions and, (I stand to be corrected here) nobody voting against.

9 June 2014 at 11:56  
Blogger Busy Mum said...

As a Christian, I already have a Named Person to whom I am accountable for how I rear my children;He's called God.

10 June 2014 at 07:57  
Blogger Len said...

Busy Mum,
The very best person to have!.

10 June 2014 at 09:28  
Blogger Fred said...

This is not about a named person - they are nameless and unaccountable.

This is not about a named adult - it is about real children.

The Berlin Wall was taken down and liberty spread; but now that same regime is being rebuilt here in the UK.
Perhaps we will look back and see that the concept of the Berlin Wall was reconstructed at Hadrians Wall.

10 June 2014 at 12:45  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Busy Mum

"As a Christian, I already have a Named Person to whom I am accountable for how I rear my children;He's called God."

Tell that to all the children brutalised, sexually and physically, and those murdered by adults? Or those taking second place to alcohol or drug abuse.

What view of 'fatherhood' and 'brotherhood' do you think children who survive these situations have?

10 June 2014 at 23:38  
Blogger Len said...

HJ as usual you have not grasped what Busy Mum is saying.
I wonder if it is worth explaining to you?.
On reflection as to your ability in the past to grasp essential facts.......probably not.

11 June 2014 at 13:18  
Blogger Luther said...

A few here have called this law 'sinister'. It is not. It is far worse than that. it is positively evil.

13 June 2014 at 22:29  

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