About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Damages for child abuse allegation

Local authorities and their insurers clearly have a difficult tightrope to walk. In an earlier post I referred to the successful litigation against a local authority for failing to protect a child from abuse by removing him from home. In this Times article a local authority has agreed to settle a claim arising from false allegations of abusive behaviour on the part of parents. As Masterman J said in the case: “It is undoubtedly true that social services departments have in recent years operated with inadequate resources and under immense stress and run the risk of attracting equal criticism whether they remove a child or whether they do not.”


ianjosephs said...

It is really quite simple! If social workers only took children when it was proved that significant physical abuse or sexual abuse had occured complaints would be few.Sadly too often aggressive parents or "lodgers" in smelly unpleasant dwellings are avoided like the plague and children die as a result.The trouble then is that timid social workers turn to easier targets using crystal balls to forecast "risk" of emotional abuse (and few can quantify or define this )The unfortunate parents cannot defend themselves against forecasts of events that may never happen but nevertheless the result is that their children are given for adoption to complete strangers !

alisonegypt said...

The damage of a false allegation of Child Abuse, can leave a individual severely traumatized for the rest of their lives.
I know, because it happened to me.
Our youngest Son,sustained a spiral fracture of the right tibia in 1986, after jumping from the side of the bath,and landed awkwardly, he seemed to be in a lot of pain,and couldn't weight bare, on the affected limb.
After taking him to the Local Hospital,a x ray, confirmed the fracture, we were questioned by several Paediatricians, who stated that they did not believe the explanation of how the injury occurred.
On returning to the Hospital,later that day, we were informed. by Medical Staff,that Social Services had taken him on, a place of safety Order, into Foster Care.
The devastation,and not knowing, where they had placed our son, for two weeks,was heartbreaking.
The powers to be left our other son, in our Care.
In the end, the Local Authority, backed down,and stated that the injury, could of been caused accidentally.
Scott was returned to us, after twelve agonizing weeks,and was diagnosed with OI, brittle bone disease.
Years passed by,and we became Grandparents,to a beautiful granddaughter Hollie Jade, Mum and Baby came out of Hospital, within several hours.
Our son telephoned us, in the early hours of the morning, that Hollie had been rushed into Hospital with respiratory problems.
On visiting her, the next day, i began to panic, they had placed the Baby in the same bed space,and ward,where her Father, had been taken wrongly by a Social Worker, all those years ago.
I became hysterical,and was crying.
Was History going to repeat itself?
Somehow my Husband managed to get me away from the Ward,i cried all the way back home.
The first thing, was to telephone a couple of PAINS,wonderful Children's Panel Solicitors, who reassured me, there would be no problems,but if the worst was to happen,we would have the best legal team in the Country.but when i was in the state of shock, there was to be no reasoning with the anxiety state.
What should of been one of the happiest days of our lives, was totally destroyed by past experiance.
My health has suffered with severe bouts of depression, and crohns disease,undoubtedly brought on by the past System Abuse.
Alison Stevens Parents Against Injustice