Give us a Royal Commission by Charles Pragnell
Despite parliamentary debates, select committees, adverse media reports, disastrous events in Courts, public inquiries after the deaths of children under the care or supervision of child protection agencies(e.g. Victoria Climbie’) etc, the present government is in complete denial or oblivious to the fact that the child protection system is deeply-flawed, erratic, and dysfunctional.
Many thousands of children, their parents, and adults have all suffered serious injustices and continue to suffer because the child protection system is incapable of learning from its mistakes and is incapable of carrying out the necessary reforms. Each crisis has simply resulted in more legislation to boost the child protection systems powers and resources and very rarely have the voices of consumers been heard.
Despite the cruel injustices which happened to Sally Clark and Angela Cannings, the government have merely sought to introduce better training and accreditation for expert witnesses although the faults were not in their ability to present evidence, but that their evidence was seriously flawed and misleading. The current consultation exercise and changes envisaged by the Department of Constitutional Affairs are merely a cost-cutting exercise which will even further reduce the capacity of parents and other falsely accused adults from receiving fair and just hearings and will merely fast-track the care proceedings in the same way that the adoption procedures have been fast-tracked.
Of most concern are the ‘theories’ of child abuse which can be introduced with no scientific basis and no system of verification or validation by a national validation body, even though the last 20 years have seen horrendous harm caused to children and families by such junk science as the:-
- Anal Dilatation Test (Cleveland)
- Repressed Memory Syndrome (widespread across the U.K. over many years)
- Satanic Ritual Abuse (Orkneys, Notttingham, Rochdale, and most recently in the Isle of Lewis)
- Shaken Baby Syndrome
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
- Fabricated and Induced Illness in Children
- Brittle Bone Disease (in this case denial of its existence in infants), etc etc.
The purges which have been carried out under the guise of investigating historical abuse of children (now adults) in residential schools and children’s homes have similarly resulted in widespread injustices where normal tenets of law (e.g. presumptions of innocence, factual evidence, corroborative evidence, etc) have been cast aside and false accusers have been tempted by large sums of money offered by lawyers and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to past residents and pupils to make allegations of abuse from 20 and more years ago. Volume of testimony replacing the veracity of evidence.
In Shieldfield Nursery Newcastle, two young carers were pilloried for years and their lives and their careers ruined by false accusations of abusing over 60 children in a day nursery until they were finally exonerated by a Civil Court many years later and awarded a large compensation against their `professional’ accusers.
There can be little doubt or argument that the child protection system is in absolute chaos and is causing immense harm every year to thousands of children, parents, and other caring adults – over 150,000 reports of child abuse are found to have “No Substantive Basis” i.e. false accusations for mistaken, mischievous, malicious, or monetary reasons.
Reports from parents with disabled children and their representative organisations provide compelling evidence that the government’s policy of integrating disabled children into mainstream schools is resulting in Education Authorities denying disabled children a proper assessment of their educational needs and making appropriate provision and if the parents protest, the family are referred into the child protection system where they are stigmatised and persecuted by the child protection system and its composite agencies.
The government’s target-settng for adoption numbers by local authorities has undoubtedly resulted in legalised abductions of children into local authority care and very quickly thereafter into adoption, with no pretence of attempts at preventative work with the family or rehabilitation and re-unification of the child with the family by social work agencies.
In conclusion, I would suggest to you all that there needs to be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the entire child protection system and the associated Courts and legal systems and a concerted effort by us all to bring this about. If such a Royal Commission were to take place, then precedence in giving evidence to the Commission should be given to children, parents, and adults who have suffered the injustices of the system rather than the agencies which provide these services and who have constantly monopolised previous Public Inquiries and protected, promoted, and expanded their own self-interests.
I would suggest that there should be two forms of approach to obtaining such a Royal Commission:-
- that groups/organisations organise a petition to demand such a Royal Commission; and
- that groups request its members, associates and supporters to lobby their Member of Parliament to support a call for such a Royal Commission.
Expert Defence Witness – Child Protection and Child/Family Advocate
Published with permission