"Bringing Families Together"

"Bringing Families Together"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

4-1/2 years abuse. Grandparents ignored.

“A Charter for Grandchildren” would have saved this child from 4-1/2 years of abuse. The grandparents were not believed by social services.
20th November 2009

We have sad and good news concerning a child of six years of age. The child has been the subject of decisions by the legal profession and under the supervision of CAFCASS and the Social Services for over four and a half years during which the child has been on the Child Protection Register most of that time. The Child and Family Service plus other agencies have discussed the welfare of this child at core and child case conferences and are agreed that the child suffers from emotional abuse in the home, however the child has always complained and alleged physical abuse and the father has defended his child’s accusations.

These concerns of the father have carried no weight nor gained any support from neither Social Services nor CAFCASS as it was reported that the child was only making these accusations to get attention. The father was accused of using the child’s allegation to support his case for residency. The paternal grandparent’s house has been used twice by the Social Services in the last six months as a safe house for the child, resulting in the mother and step father stopping contact with their grandchild.

The paternal grandparents themselves brought the child’s allegations of physical abuse to the attention of the Social Services and other child agencies including politicians both national and local, but they were accused of only wanting to support their son’s case for residency.

The evidence that the child’s father’s family had was bruising and injuries over a lengthy period that the child claimed were the result of physical abuse at home and some of this evidence had been brought to attention of the child’s paternal grandparents by the local hospital’s A&E department. However the social Service and CAFCASS reports stated that the injuries the child complained about could have been the result of playing accidents. The official line was that the child’s injuries could not be determined as far as trauma was concerned but it could not be ruled out either.

This came to a head this week when the child again complained of being hit in the house and had supportive evidence of a badly bruised temple as evidence. On this occasion the child reported the incident to her teacher and was referred by the school to social Services who investigated the allegations thoroughly and during their investigations the child was kept safe in an independent house and was not in contact with her father or his family. They only knew about this incident when they were contacted by the Social Services and the child placed in their care. The child is now happy and safe.

The moral and significance of this case is, had their been a “Charter for Grandchildren” in place and had that charter been mandatory for the Children’s Agencies then the paternal grandparents concerns would have been taken more seriously and not as they were dismissed because it was thought by the agencies that the grandparents had a different agenda other than the safety of their grandchild.

At last the Social Services took the right decision by keeping the child independently safe while they made their investigations into what the child was alleging. Now the truth about the child’s abuse is in the public domain the family wonder what the legal implications of this will be.

Grandparents Apart UK
22 Alness Crescent
Glasgow G52 1PJ
0141 882 5658


  1. We have seen many instances in both public and private law cases where children's accounts are not believed - often because there is the attitude that their views are being influenced or controlled by the resident parent, or parent having contact when they are in foster care. We had a case where a child stayed with one parent over the weekend and that parent was so concerned about yet more bruising in 2 children, they were taken to hospital. At first the bruises were diagnosed as likely to be abuse. Then social services talked to the doctor and the diagnosis was changed. The parent who reported the problem is now denied contact with the children, because the reporting was seen as abuse!
    On the bruising evidence, you need to understand how the criteria work. On the basis of standards from both the Royal College of Paediatricians and NICE guidelines on diagnosis of child abuse, it is not bruising, but the age of the child and above all WHERE THE BRUISES ARE which are important in diagnosis of accidental or inflicted injury. In normal life, children bump foreheads, fall over and bruise knees, etc. Even bad bumps on forehad would not normally be seen as abuse unless there is other indication. It is a pattern of injuries which happen less often by accident which is more likely to suggest abuse, or shape of bruise (eg belt buckle or bite mark). Also bruises to babies too young to crawl or toddle are almost always seen as suspicious, on the principle "those who don't cruise rarely bruise". Yet we do have cases where true accidental injuries occur, but parents are not believed. Best wishes, Name and address supplied

  2. Jimmy

    I hope you are well. It is great to see you campaigning away. In fact I think your pronouncements are getting better focussed and more hard hitting all the time.

    I don’t know how to post a comment about your item on Facebook about the wee boy whose bruises were ignored by social services. Here’s what I’d like to say:

    Social Services are highly antagonistic to anything raised by fathers and paternal families. They fall over themselves to say that they have no role in helping children to have ongoing relationships with their paternal families even when it is blindingly obvious that this is in the best interests of a child at risk.

    What does it take to get social services to take a child welfare referral seriously? From my experience you would need to be able to show them the child with a hatchet actually embedded in his or her skull before they would take the complaint seriously and even then they would return the child to the mother at the earliest possible opportunity. If they won’t even take bruises seriously how much less will they respond to psychological damage? The bias in favour of the single mother is absolutely ingrained in the workings of Social Services. The bias against paternal families is equally ingrained.

    There needs to be a statutory duty imposed on Social Services to treat contact disputes as a fundamental child welfare issue and to listen to and consult with grandparents. They would claim, of course, that they’d get bogged down with contact disputes but then, perhaps, something might get done to improve the current disastrous situation for children.