The increasing paranoia and accusations against parents, of “emotional abuse” and even “potential for future emotional abuse” has taken hold of the nation. No parent alive in the UK today, is safe from such accusations. If you are a parent of special needs or disabled children, your risk increases. If your child (or you as the parent) have what is termed as an invisible disability (such as autism), the risk shoots higher still. Ignorance of the presentation of some conditions that are classed as invisible disability, means that behaviours and family dynamics can be misinterpreted. Unwillingness to admit they got it wrong, causes professionals to dig their heels in further and continue on the path they have chosen. Dr Nigel Speight a doctor specialising in ME, gave an interview with a Dutch presenter on his own experience of supporting families falsely accused this way. The Government is aware of this issue, but is protecting professionals who commit such state abuse, there is no accountability for these professionals and the hypocrisy that they are falsely accusing parents, yet causing the very thing they accuse the parents of, cannot go unnoticed or unchallenged.
I read a blog today, about the so-called Cinderella law, which could see parents face up to 10 years in prison for “emotional abuse” of their children. I am angered at the fact that many special needs children in school, mainstream especially, are being emotionally damaged by their experience in the school environment, but this is not only ignored but considered as normal and acceptable. Let’s list some environmental factors that social services might consider emotionally damaging to a child and due to which they would intervene:
- showing children films and videos that they are too young for and are traumatic to them
- turning a blind eye to mistreatment of the child
- denying the child their basic human rights to drink water and visit the toilet when they need
- brushing off the child’s concerns that are distressing to them, thereby denying them a voice
- punishing the child unfairly
- forcing the child to become aware of things they are not emotionally ready for
- ignoring the child’s special needs and not adapting their environment accordingly
- ignoring and denying the voice of the child regarding all factors in their environment
Rightly, you would expect social services to question the child’s parenting and possible emotional abuse of the child wouldn’t you? Now take on board the fact that this is a list of just some of the environmental factors schools subject children to on a daily basis. Not only is this accepted by the state, but it is actively condoned. A disability social worker actually said to me “we won’t say anything against a school” and this was witnessed by an independent person. If a child was showing such distress over their home environment as they do over school, social services would view this as serious harm and remove the child. Yet a very senior person in social care told me, that my distressed autistic daughter must “get used to it” because “it’s a tough world for these children out there”. Would they use this same justification if a parent had been responsible?
So why is there such a massive double standard? How is such state abuse condoned? The above list represents the average school day, and doesn’t even go into the cases where physical abuse and neglect have occurred in care homes and schools by their staff. There are never repercussions for guilty parties either.
The state can trump up charges of “emotional abuse” at whim. Many parents are finding that fighting for provision and support for their special needs child, triggers these false accusations as a result. Here is an Autism Eye article on this issue: http://media.wix.com/ugd/58c8f1_211d0efb4ae842f5aba2e2d5b1519d42.pdf Children can be removed from their innocent natural family and placed in foster homes and care placements in which they actually do suffer abuse.
I am sick of the tired phrase bandied about by social workers and their defenders “damned if you do and damned if you don’t”. It simply isn’t true. Failings resulting in child deaths, such as Victoria Climbie and Baby P are a result of the culture in social services of preferring to target decent, innocent families to fill up their caseloads with, rather than undertake challenging work with families where there may be violence, drug abuse, alcoholism and as Dr Speight says, “they’d rather sit drinking a cup of tea with a nice family than get chased off an estate by someone with a rottweiler”.
“Emotional abuse” seems to be the ‘in thing’ with social services, families are being wrongly broken up, scarring the children and parents for life. Some families fortunately get their children back: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/council-unlawfully-took-autistic-teenager-4368205 but there must be many who don’t. Secret courts and judges accepting biased and dishonest, cherry-picked and misrepresentative professional evidence without question, ensures that for many, there is no justice.
It’s not only about the moral panic prevalent within the UK, it’s about lack of understanding and corrupt professionals. There must be no place in our society for such people to hold support roles. Social workers do lie, I have direct experience of it. They rest easy in the knowledge that they are untouchable, such that they have no compunction about doing so even when independent witnesses can verify they have lied. It’s abuse of power and misfeasance in public office, not to mention contravention of the Data Protection Act 1998 and in some cases, breach of the Equality Act 2010.
Today I read an article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29459303 “Disabled Childrens’ Behaviour Deteriorates at School”. When the child is high-functioning autistic, they may restrain their distress about school whilst there and release it at home where they feel safe to do so, females in particular. This means that professionals assume that because the behaviour is happening at home, the problematic environment is in the home. Yet, contradictorily, if the child acts out at school, they also assume the problem comes from the home environment.
When parents ask for their child to be assessed for autism, oftentimes the professionals they encounter will send them on parenting courses and look at their parenting instead of just getting on and assessing the child for autism or other issues so that they know what they are working with from the start. This not only ensures delays to a child getting support and prolonged stress on the family, but wastes public resources.
The UK is supposedly a democratic society, a society where justice prevails and families are supported to stay together. Instead, punitive control, misuse of power and abuse of human rights seem to be taking control steadily. We must fight this, not become complacent, not wait until it happens to you, before you stand up and speak out. So I’ll re-use a quote I have used before:
“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse”.