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Default removal of children when abuse suspected.

Comment 3rd July 2010

Currently the 1989 Children Act presents a legal impasse between the need to discourage false allegations and to the need to encourage disclosure of genuine abuse. 

On first principal it as a clear case of choosing the lesser of two evils. 

However, if our society is to be guided by pragmatism, rather than idealism or, worse, paranoia, some new ideas are overdue. We also need to raise our ambitions beyond accepting "the lesser of two evils" for our children. 

I propose that if EITHER of a child's biological or legal parents feels it necessary to report abuse to the police then, BY DEFAULT, the children concerned should be taken into care while a maximum 28 day investigation takes place.

This investigation must prove False Suspicion, False Allegation or Charge. In the event of False Allegation or False Allegation the children should remain in care until a schedule of contact is agreed between mediators and all legal parents. In the case of Charge, the child is returned to a 'safe' parent.

I accept there are considerable short term negative impacts to this idea.

However, the current status quo is defined by huge long term negatives, not least if which is delays in investigation of abuse, an overcrowded Family Court system, children being unjustly barred from contact with their family for years and widespread perjury and malicious allegation being made with impunity.

Why does this matter?

The family is the basic unit of our society. The Children' Act 1989 deliberately stands outside most people's common-sense understanding of what children need and the importance of mothers and fathers in providing this. Something has to be done, this idea is a first draft.


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