Secretly Crying

2008-07-04 0 comments

Every year more than 50,000 children in England and Wales have their fates decided by the family courts. When divorcing parents cannot agree on how the children they produced together should be looked after, a judge from the family courts will adjudicate and enforce a particular way of dividing those children’s time between their two parents. Equally, when officers of the state (usually social workers) believe that children’s interests would be better served by being taken away from their biological parents and given either to a new couple to adopt, or handed over to the care of a state-run institution, it again requires a decision from a judge from the family courts, a decision which will be irrevocable. Secret justice-private-hell

The outcome of a family court hearing can result in a far greater 'sentence' than any criminal court. A sentence handed out by family courts WILL often be a life sentence to both children and parents alike.

Unlike the British judicial system though the proceedings of family courts are shielded from any out side scrutiny due to the veil of secrecy. A secrecy it is claimed that protects the child.

The blanket that covers what takes place in the family courts is so impenetrable that there is no systematic research about the effects of their decisions: no one except the judge, and the affected family (occasionally not even the family) is allowed to read the secret court documents.
A system of any sorts in reality can only be as effective as the measures put into place to ensure correct procedures are followed, implemented and held accountable. Far from edging towards any sort of openness and fairness in family proceedings the secrecy veil appears to be getting much darker. The scope that social  workers have to cite as grounds to remove a child is forever widening.

It is not  necessary to show that a child has been damaged in any way at all. All that is necessary is the claim that, at some point in the future, the child might suffer emotional damage — a claim which is of course impossible for any parent to disprove.

How many more families have to be wrongly ripped apart.  How much longer will our child protection secretly go on protecting the enforces. Maybe it would be easier to ask how long is a piece of string.

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