Sunday, December 16, 2007

The state can be the worst parent of all

David Boyle writes:
I’m not denying that child abuse is serious and must be dealt with. What I am saying, is that the child protection industry is, and always has been, part of the abuse. And behind that reasonable sounding mantra “the child’s interests are paramount” is a cruel bureaucratic blindness that can justify absolutely anything.
One problem is that the child's voice is always silenced by that industry (in the child's best interests, naturally) and is not heard until years afterwards. The children caught up in the Orkney "Satanic Ritual Abuse" affair of 1991, for instance, did not get their say publicly until the BBC screened a documentary on the case last year.

At least the blogosphere gives such people an easier and quicker way to make themselves heard. Lawrence Alexander, who as a baby was one of the controversial cases involving David Southall, now writes at The Gay Guinea Pig Diaries. Follow his link to the ITV Wales This Week report on the case, as it is very informative.

And I came across another example the other day. In the 1970s Duncan Sibley's parents fell out with Luton Borough Council over their introduction of comprehensive education and were prosecuted when that authority decided that their attempts at home education were not sufficient.

In true Soviet style, Duncan was first taken into care and then given a psychiatric diagnosis. In an article he describes his introduction to the care system:
Taken directly from the court without any real time to say goodbye to my mum and dad, I was whisked off “to meet my new parents” according to the social worker allocated to me.
Some twenty minutes later I arrived at Runfold House, on the outskirts of Luton. I was taken directly in to see the ‘Housemaster’ and was read the riot act. “You will wash up according to the rota. You will be in bed by 9pm. If you run away, you will be caned. If you are rude, you will be caned. If you do not attend Icknield Comprehensive School, you will be caned. We are your parents now and you will do as you are told. If you are good and obey these rules, you may be allowed to see Mr and Mrs Sibley.”
If you are interested in the failings of what David Boyle calls the "child protection industry", keep up to date with the blog written by the Birmingham Yardley Lib Dem MP, John Hemming.

1 comment:

Lawrence Alexander said...

Thank-you for the link: it's been interesting to speak out on this issue, and what's surprised me most of all is the large amount of critical feedback (including some quite personal and insulting remarks) aimed at me and my family by the pro-Southall lobby, simply for telling my story as you see it written on my blog.

The profession really don't do themselves any favours by turning to such bully-boy tactics; I myself am more than happy for them to do that however, because it exposes their unpleasant attitudes for full public scrutiny.