Scrap laws that condone sex with children.

We have laws that define "a child" as anyone "under 18." And yet, the age of consent is 16. Therefore, such laws condone sex with "children." That's sick! "Children" should not have sex – full stop – and we should scrap any laws that suggest otherwise! The age of consent should be the same as the age at which you become an adult – if it is any lower, then we are condoning sex with children!

Why is this idea important?

We have laws that define "a child" as anyone "under 18." And yet, the age of consent is 16. Therefore, such laws condone sex with "children." That's sick! "Children" should not have sex – full stop – and we should scrap any laws that suggest otherwise! The age of consent should be the same as the age at which you become an adult – if it is any lower, then we are condoning sex with children!

CSA needs to cut time for DEO’s

I have been dealing with the CSA since February 2010 due to my ex stopping maintenance in January.  The CSA have been a complete nightmare as you never get to speak to the same person which is very annoying as you are then forced to re tell the same information over and over again.  I have been told several different dates for when my first payment would be received only to be left disapointed.  My ex doesn't have a bank account so a DEO dedution from earnings order was set up.  I received the payments schedule and thought that everything was sorted and that I knew where I stood,  this was not the case however.  The schedule failed to tell me that the employer had until the 19th of the FOLLOWING month to send the payment to the CSA, then upto a further 10 days to clear in my account, this needs changing.  Why does any employer need that amount of time to send the payment?  I am behind in my rent and have been forced to sell items to stay afloat.  I was told by a CSA rep that they usually verbally tell claimants about this they didn't tell me.  I recently received my first payment , it was a month late (the employer messed up) only to find the payment £60 short.  The CSA hadn't noticed this until I contacted them.  I was told as usual that they would look into this and that they would phone me within 48 hours, they didn't phone back.  When I contacted them (another person again) again was told that they would look into it, also that as usual that I would have to wait.  The CSA needs another overhaul with dedicated case workers that will know your case. 

Why is this idea important?

I have been dealing with the CSA since February 2010 due to my ex stopping maintenance in January.  The CSA have been a complete nightmare as you never get to speak to the same person which is very annoying as you are then forced to re tell the same information over and over again.  I have been told several different dates for when my first payment would be received only to be left disapointed.  My ex doesn't have a bank account so a DEO dedution from earnings order was set up.  I received the payments schedule and thought that everything was sorted and that I knew where I stood,  this was not the case however.  The schedule failed to tell me that the employer had until the 19th of the FOLLOWING month to send the payment to the CSA, then upto a further 10 days to clear in my account, this needs changing.  Why does any employer need that amount of time to send the payment?  I am behind in my rent and have been forced to sell items to stay afloat.  I was told by a CSA rep that they usually verbally tell claimants about this they didn't tell me.  I recently received my first payment , it was a month late (the employer messed up) only to find the payment £60 short.  The CSA hadn't noticed this until I contacted them.  I was told as usual that they would look into this and that they would phone me within 48 hours, they didn't phone back.  When I contacted them (another person again) again was told that they would look into it, also that as usual that I would have to wait.  The CSA needs another overhaul with dedicated case workers that will know your case. 

Allow both parents to claim CSA from the other

I am proposing the repeal of the paragraph in the CSA legislation which only allows a single claim to be considered for a single child.  This would also need the repeal of a great chunk of The Child Support ( Maintainance Calculations and Special Cases) Regulations, in order to remove the determination as to who was to be considered the NRP and the PWC based on Child Benefit, and replacing it with a situation where for a speciifc application the PWC was the claimant and the NRP was the other party where 50/50 shared care existed.

Doing this would discorage both parents from ever approaching the CSA in the first place where 50/50 shared care exists, as the net effect would be that money would go "both ways" cancelling itself out.

Why is this idea important?

I am proposing the repeal of the paragraph in the CSA legislation which only allows a single claim to be considered for a single child.  This would also need the repeal of a great chunk of The Child Support ( Maintainance Calculations and Special Cases) Regulations, in order to remove the determination as to who was to be considered the NRP and the PWC based on Child Benefit, and replacing it with a situation where for a speciifc application the PWC was the claimant and the NRP was the other party where 50/50 shared care existed.

Doing this would discorage both parents from ever approaching the CSA in the first place where 50/50 shared care exists, as the net effect would be that money would go "both ways" cancelling itself out.

Freedom to take photographs in public places.

Restore the right of ordinary people to take photographs in public places without fear of being criminalised.  It is a gross over exaggeration to regard anyone who takes a photograph of a policeman or a public building as a potential terrorist, or family and friends who want to take photographs of their children at school events as potential paedophiles.  Amateur photography  used to be regarded as a legitimate and acceptable pastime, not as an underhand activity to be regarded with suspicion.  I would like to see it restored to its former status.

Why is this idea important?

Restore the right of ordinary people to take photographs in public places without fear of being criminalised.  It is a gross over exaggeration to regard anyone who takes a photograph of a policeman or a public building as a potential terrorist, or family and friends who want to take photographs of their children at school events as potential paedophiles.  Amateur photography  used to be regarded as a legitimate and acceptable pastime, not as an underhand activity to be regarded with suspicion.  I would like to see it restored to its former status.

Freedom to protect pupils from danger on school trips

 

As a teacher I was free to give up my spare time to take my 11 year old pupils away on residential trips to try canoeing, rock climbing and abseiling.  However, I was not free to protect them from danger.

A teacher must be free to exclude a violent pupil from a trip if they believe that his/her presence will prejudice the safety of the other children.  At present a head teacher can insist a pupil “stays on the list” for a residential school trip even though it is impossible to give that pupil the support his Statement demands.  My head teacher did just that.

A teacher must be free to share information with other professionals in order to ensure the safety of their pupils.  I told the instructors at the outdoor education centre I was taking my pupils to that this violent boy had a Statement which gave him full time support in school.  My local authority found me guilty of professional misconduct at a disciplinary hearing for doing this.  You see my head, Hackney Social Services and the child's foster carers wanted this fact kept secret so that the centre would take the child at night without his support thus enabling his foster parents to have a holiday without him.  Unfortunately it would also have enabled this pupil to carry out an Edlington type of assault.  The Department of Education has said that Kent County Council’s action was correct, “reasonable” in civil service parlance, even if I was right about the risk to my pupils.

Why is this idea important?

 

As a teacher I was free to give up my spare time to take my 11 year old pupils away on residential trips to try canoeing, rock climbing and abseiling.  However, I was not free to protect them from danger.

A teacher must be free to exclude a violent pupil from a trip if they believe that his/her presence will prejudice the safety of the other children.  At present a head teacher can insist a pupil “stays on the list” for a residential school trip even though it is impossible to give that pupil the support his Statement demands.  My head teacher did just that.

A teacher must be free to share information with other professionals in order to ensure the safety of their pupils.  I told the instructors at the outdoor education centre I was taking my pupils to that this violent boy had a Statement which gave him full time support in school.  My local authority found me guilty of professional misconduct at a disciplinary hearing for doing this.  You see my head, Hackney Social Services and the child's foster carers wanted this fact kept secret so that the centre would take the child at night without his support thus enabling his foster parents to have a holiday without him.  Unfortunately it would also have enabled this pupil to carry out an Edlington type of assault.  The Department of Education has said that Kent County Council’s action was correct, “reasonable” in civil service parlance, even if I was right about the risk to my pupils.

Remove restrictive checks for parents with children

To prevent reoccurrences of incidents such as this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicester/10558648.stm

The presumption of guilt in this country is ridiculous. Parents should be able to support their children at sports days and other events. This kind of extreme paranoia prevents parents from seeing important moments in the lives of their children.

Why is this idea important?

To prevent reoccurrences of incidents such as this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicester/10558648.stm

The presumption of guilt in this country is ridiculous. Parents should be able to support their children at sports days and other events. This kind of extreme paranoia prevents parents from seeing important moments in the lives of their children.

CHILD BENEFIT, CHILDREN

Abolish all child tax credits and child benefit but use some of the money saved to provide free nursery places for the under 5's and free school breakfasts and dinners and free school uniforms for the over 5's.

Why is this idea important?

Abolish all child tax credits and child benefit but use some of the money saved to provide free nursery places for the under 5's and free school breakfasts and dinners and free school uniforms for the over 5's.

Repeal Crime and Disorder Act 1998 s 34 and amend CYPA 1963, s 16 (criminal responsibility)

My suggestion re raising age of criminal responsibility was closed because not suggesting repeal (though hard to reconcile this with other threads that continue).

CDA 1998 s 34 relates to the very unwise removal of doli incapax (presumption child under 14 does not understand that the alleged act was wrong).

CYPA 1963 raised age of criminal responsibilty to 10. It now needs to be raised further to a) bring us in line with most of Europe, b) reflect current understanding of child development c) be more aligned with other minimum ages in England/Wales law. 

Why is this idea important?

My suggestion re raising age of criminal responsibility was closed because not suggesting repeal (though hard to reconcile this with other threads that continue).

CDA 1998 s 34 relates to the very unwise removal of doli incapax (presumption child under 14 does not understand that the alleged act was wrong).

CYPA 1963 raised age of criminal responsibilty to 10. It now needs to be raised further to a) bring us in line with most of Europe, b) reflect current understanding of child development c) be more aligned with other minimum ages in England/Wales law. 

Remove the charitable status of fee-paying schools and use the tax raised to invest in state education

Currently private or public schools can avoid paying tax by showing that education is a 'charitable activity'.  To do so, they must show how their work benefits the wider community.  In many cases, it is clear that this community commitment is either superficial or miniscule.

So, to make these institutions benefit the wider community in a more objective way, remove the tax relief, and ringfence taxation on school fees etc into the state schools budget, or schools building budget that has just been slashed.

Why is this idea important?

Currently private or public schools can avoid paying tax by showing that education is a 'charitable activity'.  To do so, they must show how their work benefits the wider community.  In many cases, it is clear that this community commitment is either superficial or miniscule.

So, to make these institutions benefit the wider community in a more objective way, remove the tax relief, and ringfence taxation on school fees etc into the state schools budget, or schools building budget that has just been slashed.

“at risk of emotional harm”

My knowledge of the law is sketchy but I understand that at present children can be removed from their families (or be set on the road to that outcome), merely for being deemed to be "at risk of emotional harm".

My idea is that only children who have actually been harmed by their parents, in obvious, non-controversial ways, should ever be considered for child protection plans or subsequent removal.

Why is this idea important?

My knowledge of the law is sketchy but I understand that at present children can be removed from their families (or be set on the road to that outcome), merely for being deemed to be "at risk of emotional harm".

My idea is that only children who have actually been harmed by their parents, in obvious, non-controversial ways, should ever be considered for child protection plans or subsequent removal.

Abolish the weekly £30 paid to encourage some kids to go to school

Abolish the £30 payment made to some over 16s on a weekly basis to encourage them to go to school or college.  This is a total waste of governent money.  All kids would happily accept a 'no questions asked' payment of £30 per week and it is not encouraging any spirit of enterprise whatsoever.  It simply serves as a financial bribe paid to those who would otherwise drop out of education altogether. 

Why is this idea important?

Abolish the £30 payment made to some over 16s on a weekly basis to encourage them to go to school or college.  This is a total waste of governent money.  All kids would happily accept a 'no questions asked' payment of £30 per week and it is not encouraging any spirit of enterprise whatsoever.  It simply serves as a financial bribe paid to those who would otherwise drop out of education altogether. 

How about making sure the laws we already have are enforced?

Our son went to the Arnewood High School in New Milton  (we've now pulled him out) . They spent 2 and a half years of his time teaching him at a level he had surpassed years ago in year 4 at junior school. As fantastic as it sounds this school insisted on teaching him at a level they knew he had surpassed years ago by virtue of their own teacher assesments of him, and the level they themselves had awarded him. Never the less they refused to teach him at the level they had deemed appropriate for him and repeatedly refused to give us any reasons for this arbitrary and ludicrous behaviour. That's illegal under law. Kids must be taught by state schools at the level that is appropriate for their aptitude and abilities (international law too), and parents must be given explanations when they request them. In a nutshell in year 9 they where teaching him more or less at his year 4 curriculum level although he had surpassed this years ago and the school knew it, to boot they could not and will not explain themselves to us his parents. We complained to Hampshire Children's Services, despite the black and white evidence they refused to investigate and look into it but rather threatened us with prosecution for not allowing him to go to this school. Then we complained to the DCSF, they were also just as useless and "fobbed it of" just as carelessly  and also refused to investigate this serious injustice to a child. So we put it in the High Court. All sounds unbelievable doesn't it. Well it's all true and backed up by black and white evidence that no one yet is brave enough or honest enough to comment on, or properly investigate. It's all posted online at http://www.arnewoodschool.org.uk for the world to see. If you're really serious about cleaning up, start here. My sons education has been destroyed by a negligent school and all of the agencies that are there to supposedly protect him and enforce his civil rights to protect him against this kind of injustice have done absolutely nothing. Throwing a childs education away is not only abusive to our children, but also to the adults they will become. HOW ABOUT STARING HERE? LETS SEE OUR CURRENT LAWS BEING ENFORCED! THAT WILL BE A FLYING START. How about investigating this matter? Any one reading the website at http://www.arnewoodschool.org.uk, particulary parents will find it offensive if you do not.  It will certainly disprove the aspirations of this website if you take no action, not to mention Michael Gove MP's policies. I hope your stated intentions are real.                  

Why is this idea important?

Our son went to the Arnewood High School in New Milton  (we've now pulled him out) . They spent 2 and a half years of his time teaching him at a level he had surpassed years ago in year 4 at junior school. As fantastic as it sounds this school insisted on teaching him at a level they knew he had surpassed years ago by virtue of their own teacher assesments of him, and the level they themselves had awarded him. Never the less they refused to teach him at the level they had deemed appropriate for him and repeatedly refused to give us any reasons for this arbitrary and ludicrous behaviour. That's illegal under law. Kids must be taught by state schools at the level that is appropriate for their aptitude and abilities (international law too), and parents must be given explanations when they request them. In a nutshell in year 9 they where teaching him more or less at his year 4 curriculum level although he had surpassed this years ago and the school knew it, to boot they could not and will not explain themselves to us his parents. We complained to Hampshire Children's Services, despite the black and white evidence they refused to investigate and look into it but rather threatened us with prosecution for not allowing him to go to this school. Then we complained to the DCSF, they were also just as useless and "fobbed it of" just as carelessly  and also refused to investigate this serious injustice to a child. So we put it in the High Court. All sounds unbelievable doesn't it. Well it's all true and backed up by black and white evidence that no one yet is brave enough or honest enough to comment on, or properly investigate. It's all posted online at http://www.arnewoodschool.org.uk for the world to see. If you're really serious about cleaning up, start here. My sons education has been destroyed by a negligent school and all of the agencies that are there to supposedly protect him and enforce his civil rights to protect him against this kind of injustice have done absolutely nothing. Throwing a childs education away is not only abusive to our children, but also to the adults they will become. HOW ABOUT STARING HERE? LETS SEE OUR CURRENT LAWS BEING ENFORCED! THAT WILL BE A FLYING START. How about investigating this matter? Any one reading the website at http://www.arnewoodschool.org.uk, particulary parents will find it offensive if you do not.  It will certainly disprove the aspirations of this website if you take no action, not to mention Michael Gove MP's policies. I hope your stated intentions are real.                  

The CSA need more powers to obtain information from self-employed parents

The Child Support Agency is a much needed agency and appears to be successful in straight forward cases, where the non-resident parent is not self-employed.  If the non-resident parent refuses to pay maintainance, then the agency can by pass the non-resident parent and contact their employer directly for the relevant information.  In these cases a calculation can be made and maintenance payments are deducted directly from the non-resident parent's wages.

However, as with my own experience, the situation is much more complicated if the non-resident parent is self-employed.  My ex partner was a partner in two limited companies.  The CSA have been involved in the case for 8 months but so far to little avail.  As my ex partner was his own employer, the CSA did not have the option to deduct payments directly from his wages.  Although when I first contacted the CSA last December they informed me that legal proceedings would be initiated if my ex partner failed to supply the necessary information and failed to make payments.  However it would appear that the CSA are limited by red tape and the law seems to be on the side of non paying non-resident parent.

It is a common misconception that the CSA has strong links with the Inland Revenue, when in fact they are not connected at all.  I suggest that a step in this direction would me most helpful to the CSA when dealing with non-compliant self-employed non-resident parents.

 

Why is this idea important?

The Child Support Agency is a much needed agency and appears to be successful in straight forward cases, where the non-resident parent is not self-employed.  If the non-resident parent refuses to pay maintainance, then the agency can by pass the non-resident parent and contact their employer directly for the relevant information.  In these cases a calculation can be made and maintenance payments are deducted directly from the non-resident parent's wages.

However, as with my own experience, the situation is much more complicated if the non-resident parent is self-employed.  My ex partner was a partner in two limited companies.  The CSA have been involved in the case for 8 months but so far to little avail.  As my ex partner was his own employer, the CSA did not have the option to deduct payments directly from his wages.  Although when I first contacted the CSA last December they informed me that legal proceedings would be initiated if my ex partner failed to supply the necessary information and failed to make payments.  However it would appear that the CSA are limited by red tape and the law seems to be on the side of non paying non-resident parent.

It is a common misconception that the CSA has strong links with the Inland Revenue, when in fact they are not connected at all.  I suggest that a step in this direction would me most helpful to the CSA when dealing with non-compliant self-employed non-resident parents.

 

That mothers automatically receive sole custody of children.

I am a teacher on the senior management team in a school with special needs. Since the day my daughter has been born i have had to fight tooth and nail to see her. I was initially not allowed any access to my daughter and could not believe that despite being the named father and having parental responsibility the only way i would be able to see my daughter is through legal channels. It seems quite unfair that my ex partner is able to claim through the CSA my child support which i would never begrudge paying yet i am unable to see my daughter unless i pay more money to start a long drawn out legal procedure.

Finally after spending upwards of £2000 i now have access to my daughter but i have had to suffer the ignominy of dealing with threatening letters from the CSA when i have never once missed a payment. On top of this I have had to endure CAFCASS involvement due to my ex partner claiming there were welfare issues with regards to me seeing my daughter, this is despite the fact i manage an extremely successful department in an "outstanding" special needs school.

Why is it not the case that fathers are given a minimum amount of access provided they are the named person on the birth certificate. If the mother considers the father unfit to be a parent then surely they should have to prove otherwise. This is instead of the current situation where a father is required to prove their suitability, particularly when in most cases of separation the split is acrimonious and the mother has reason to be hostile.

 

Why is this idea important?

I am a teacher on the senior management team in a school with special needs. Since the day my daughter has been born i have had to fight tooth and nail to see her. I was initially not allowed any access to my daughter and could not believe that despite being the named father and having parental responsibility the only way i would be able to see my daughter is through legal channels. It seems quite unfair that my ex partner is able to claim through the CSA my child support which i would never begrudge paying yet i am unable to see my daughter unless i pay more money to start a long drawn out legal procedure.

Finally after spending upwards of £2000 i now have access to my daughter but i have had to suffer the ignominy of dealing with threatening letters from the CSA when i have never once missed a payment. On top of this I have had to endure CAFCASS involvement due to my ex partner claiming there were welfare issues with regards to me seeing my daughter, this is despite the fact i manage an extremely successful department in an "outstanding" special needs school.

Why is it not the case that fathers are given a minimum amount of access provided they are the named person on the birth certificate. If the mother considers the father unfit to be a parent then surely they should have to prove otherwise. This is instead of the current situation where a father is required to prove their suitability, particularly when in most cases of separation the split is acrimonious and the mother has reason to be hostile.

 

Raise the age of criminal responsibility to at least 12

Currently the age of criminal responsibility in England/Wales is 10. This is much too low. At this age children are not sufficiently mature to understand fully the nature and consequences of what they may have done  or to particpate in a complex legal process.

Our current law is out of step with most of Europe and is in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The age of criminal responsibility should be raised to at least 12, ideally 14.

(A much less preferable option would be to restore the presumption of 'doli incapax' whereby the prosecution had to prove that a child under 14 both understood the nature and consequences of the act alleged and that it was wrong).

Why is this idea important?

Currently the age of criminal responsibility in England/Wales is 10. This is much too low. At this age children are not sufficiently mature to understand fully the nature and consequences of what they may have done  or to particpate in a complex legal process.

Our current law is out of step with most of Europe and is in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The age of criminal responsibility should be raised to at least 12, ideally 14.

(A much less preferable option would be to restore the presumption of 'doli incapax' whereby the prosecution had to prove that a child under 14 both understood the nature and consequences of the act alleged and that it was wrong).

More deregulation of state education.

Carry out an excercise to systematically review all state school regulation to ensure it passes the test:

1) Remove any regulation that criminalises teachers and schools for teaching above the minimum state capped standards

2) Remove the regulation that discourages schools from teaching above the minimum standard 

3) Keep regulation that protects the least able and requires state schools to teach to a minimum standard

4) Add regulation to require schools to provide opportunities to all children fairly not just the least able.

Why is this idea important?

Carry out an excercise to systematically review all state school regulation to ensure it passes the test:

1) Remove any regulation that criminalises teachers and schools for teaching above the minimum state capped standards

2) Remove the regulation that discourages schools from teaching above the minimum standard 

3) Keep regulation that protects the least able and requires state schools to teach to a minimum standard

4) Add regulation to require schools to provide opportunities to all children fairly not just the least able.

The ‘right’ to be housed by society if you have a child should be curtailed

The current right to be given a flat/house if you simply have a child is very costly to society, particularly when the household is single parent only as they will not work for at least five years. This 'right', or policy, encourages people to have children as early in life as possible as it gets them a property and free money (from tax payers who do work). It does not encourage independance, self reliance or responsibility.

I suggest the right to this free house and property be removed, and replaced with a collective boarding house/dormitary arrangement that includes a creche. This will allow the mothers to go to work and contribute to society and will save millions in housing costs as working families will be able move into the vacated flats/houses.

It will also mean the minority who simply have babies to get bigger houses will not benefit. And we won't have to pay for their choices.

Why is this idea important?

The current right to be given a flat/house if you simply have a child is very costly to society, particularly when the household is single parent only as they will not work for at least five years. This 'right', or policy, encourages people to have children as early in life as possible as it gets them a property and free money (from tax payers who do work). It does not encourage independance, self reliance or responsibility.

I suggest the right to this free house and property be removed, and replaced with a collective boarding house/dormitary arrangement that includes a creche. This will allow the mothers to go to work and contribute to society and will save millions in housing costs as working families will be able move into the vacated flats/houses.

It will also mean the minority who simply have babies to get bigger houses will not benefit. And we won't have to pay for their choices.

Abolish means testing for adoption allowance

Its about time that adopters and fosters and kin care were BIGGED up and acknowledged by our society.I have met some wonderful family's who adore their children and have given them the opportunity to be raised with the childhood they should have had in the first place .These are those that have offered their hearts and homes to those children who are discribed by social services as "difficult to place" due to their emotional needs disabilities or even age. They have faced and are facing not only emotional hardship with very little if no support from those who are meant to be proffesionals but also financial hardships in order to provide the best care for these children .These familys should be exempt from any means testing and be given adoption allowance based on the needs of the child. We as a society should be thanking these people for doing what so many of us can not.

 

Why is this idea important?

Its about time that adopters and fosters and kin care were BIGGED up and acknowledged by our society.I have met some wonderful family's who adore their children and have given them the opportunity to be raised with the childhood they should have had in the first place .These are those that have offered their hearts and homes to those children who are discribed by social services as "difficult to place" due to their emotional needs disabilities or even age. They have faced and are facing not only emotional hardship with very little if no support from those who are meant to be proffesionals but also financial hardships in order to provide the best care for these children .These familys should be exempt from any means testing and be given adoption allowance based on the needs of the child. We as a society should be thanking these people for doing what so many of us can not.