Recognition of Significant Harm

2 Responses

  1. Peter Davies says:

    So why aren’t they?… is a very good question in this instance. However, it gives rise to other questions.

    The courts and Cafcass adopt a default position when faced with any allegations. The fact that most of these allegations do not seem to emerge until proceedings have been started seems to be of little relevance and contact is usually severed until the accused has effectively proven their innocence.

    It is commonly the case that, when apparent ‘disclosures’ of sexual, physical or emotional abuse are made, inquiries disclose that there is no evidence to support them. Section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (cruelty to persons under 16) makes neglect an offence thus:

    1 Cruelty to persons under sixteen.
    (1) If any person who has attained the age of sixteen years and [F1has responsibility for] any child or young person under that age, wilfully assaults, ill-treats, neglects, abandons, or exposes him, or causes or procures him to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned, or exposed, in a manner l ikely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health (including injury to or loss of sight, or hearing, or limb, or organ of the body, and any mental derangement), that person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable—
    (a) on conviction on indictment, to a fine . . . F2 or alternatively, . . . F3, or in addition thereto, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding [F4ten] years;
    (b) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding [F5£400] pounds, or alternatively, . . . F3, or in addition thereto, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months.

    (2) For the purposes of this section—
    (a) a parent or other person legally liable to maintain a child or young person [F6, or the legal guardian of a child or young person,] shall be deemed to have neglected him in a manner likely to cause injury to his health if he has failed to provide adequate food, clothing, medical aid or lodging for him, or if, having been unable otherwise to provide such food, clothing, medical aid or lodging, he has failed to take steps to procure it to be provided under [F7the enactments applicable in that behalf];…’ etc

    Therefore, a parent who has not provided or sought medical aid for an abused child i.e ‘…failed to provide adequate…medical aid … or failed to take steps to procure it … ‘ could be charged with ‘neglect’.

    So, in these situations, one parent has a relationship with their children, at best, severed temporarily based upon no corroborated evidence. On the other hand, unless the accuser is able to provide proof of either providing or taking steps to procure medical aid, the accuser is providing convincing evidence of their own neglect.

    The serious crime Act 2015 extended the ambit of the 1933 Act to include ill treatment that was other than ‘physical’ e.g psychological.

    I think we could also ask, why are those making false or fabricated allegations of sexual, physical and emotional abuse in these circumstances not facing prosecutions for child cruelty and neglect?

  2. Peter Davies says:

    I should have added that by failing to pursue these prosecutions CAFCASS are failing inter statutory duty under section 12 (1) of the Criminal Jjustice and Court Services Act 2000, to ‘,,, safeguard and promote the welfare of children,’

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