Child protection reform could lead to false abuse claims warns expert

March 4, 2004

Government plans to set up a sophisticated tracking system to keep tabs on every child in England could lead to parents being falsely accused of child abuse, child welfare experts warned today.An electronic file would be created on every child to record warning signs of abuse and neglect, including professionals’ concerns and theories, in a bid to enable child protection services to intervene before families reach crisis point, under the children’s bill published today. Eileen Munro, reader in social policy at the London School of Economics, said this risked a repeat of the recent cases of parents’ falsely accused of causing the cot deaths of their babies. Ms Munro, an expert on child protection risk assessments, said that the accumulation of minor concerns on the proposed databases by different childcare staff could lead to problems being blown out of proportion, or misinterpreted as in recent child protection scandals, including the murder of eight-year-old Victoria Climbié. She said: “The databases proposed by the children bill will allow a wide range of staff to record any information they consider relevant, which is a gross invasion of privacy. This information will not only include factual information but also professionals’ concerns and theories, which risks a repeat of the recent cases of parents wrongly accused of causing the cot deaths of their children…

Guardian

 

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