An open letter to Ian Josephs

Is there anyway we can bridge this gulf between us? Or are we simply doomed to shout at each other from our opposite sides of the gulf, whilst the parents and children continue to slide into it?

This post is sparked by comments on a recent post Helping Parents Leave the Jurisdiction where I set out my concerns about the activities of John Hemming, Christopher Booker and Ian Josephs.

Sarah Phillimore


From Ian Josephs

On 5th August 2015 at 1.51pm

Mother on the run
Katie Lee Jones, 24 year old British mother and her children captured in West Cork.
I got sent this video today and it speaks for itself !
Sarah, the mother you describe who beats and starves her children has indeed committed a crime and probably the children should be removed.

Screaming and shouting on the other hand can be a way of life in some countries like Italy but in any case the children can still love their parents and suffer far more by adoption and separation from everyone they know than by staying where they are.

Many cases that come my way concern women who have found new non violent non shouting partners because of the risk that history might repeat itself and forced adoption in those cases is indeed a crime.

Lastly I have never once been reproached by a parent for giving bad advice, but I do have many letters of thanks from parents who folowed my” infamous” golden rules and got their kids back. Quite a few are on my site.

I do not believe in punishment without crime and before you say taking babies is not punishing anybody just tell that to non criminal mothers who have had their babies snatched at birth to be given to complete strangers for life. Strangers who can never love like a real mother; but then love is a dirty word rarely used in social service circles where they prefer to talk of new adoptive parents “bonding” with other peoples children; bonding is what the players do in football teams like Arsenal and Chelsea but they rarely “love” each other !


From Sam

Sam August 6, 2015 at 9:27 pm
I speak as a parent who has suffered from domestic violence. The man who abused me saw his mother abused, in fact she readily admitted to being thrown down the stairs, a number of times and having all her teeth knocked out. Her own mother was an alcoholic. My ex’s father was a drinker, I cannot say he was an alcoholic for certain but certainly the signs are all there. The next man she lived with who beat her was also a drinker, once again I didn’t meet him so cannot say he was an alcoholic, but he had the personality and behaviour. My ex’s brother had another addiction and a similar personality.

I and of course my children lived with a shouter, though it felt more like orders and it is harmful. I tried to get away before but was greatly failed by the authorities.

With respect Mr Josephs, it is rare to get out of one dysfunctional relationship without falling back straight into another one and it goes on for generations. The way to break the circle is self awareness. It is vitally important for children, unless they are to repeat their families dysfunction for the parents to become aware and work on themselves with whatever help they can find. That may be the Freedom Programme, counselling or an voluntary sector organisation such as Al Anon Family Groups. The mother needs to get skills to stop her falling down the same hole again.Where the courts fail is insisting on the 2-3 years of therapy that doesn’t actually exist.

You said you had a racehorse. He or she would have been very carefully bred , through many generations to maximise speed and minimise the faults of their sire or dam. They would have received the best of care throughout their formative years in order to grow into their potential. Hopefully at the end of their racing career you consider their options, whether to put them out to grass or stud if applicable or have them rehabilitated as a leisure horse. If so much care and attention is paid to a horse, and I am a horse lover so would never say mere horse, should it also not be applicable to children.

I did watch the You Tube clip and I saw a vulnerable young woman, that concerned me. I was also worried when I worked alongside a young woman in a voluntary project, who had already had three children removed and had got pregnant for the forth time ,it was a relationship of a few months, the father was an alcoholic. She thought everything would be all right and would not contact a solicitor even though I urged her to.

I do understand that the system is broken, if you read my other posts I have had plenty to moan about. I also think outcomes from care are appalling . I just wish there was more middle ground, that you would swing some of your resources to working here in the UK . Perhaps you would say you are already. There are partnership projects that are working in other countries and I believe there have to be more here, complete with making Children’s Services as more accountable through recording etc.


From Me – will Ian Josephs use his time, energy and money to do something constructive?

Sarah Phillimore Post author August 7, 2015 at 7:40 am

A very constructive and helpful comment Sam.

You are right about the loss of the middle ground. I have been saying for years that my frustration with the activities of Hemming, Josephs et al is not simply because they are wrong in most of what they say, but that they divert the energies and attention of all of us into dealing with their wrongness, instead of focusing on what we could do to make it right.

So I will put it out there – Mr Josephs. You clearly have a lot of time, energy, commitment and most importantly money.

Would you use any of those positive attributes to help projects that might actually achieve some necessary change for the better? Would you, for example support the Transparency Project with a small monthly donation so we can continue our work in pressing for greater understanding and accountability?

Would you meet with Sam and discuss with her a project for mentoring parents or peer support? I can join you and discuss what I learned in Finland about co-working with parents and children.

Is there anyway we can bridge this gulf between us? Or are we simply doomed to shout at each other from our opposite sides of the gulf, whilst the parents and children continue to slide into it?


146 thoughts on “An open letter to Ian Josephs

  1. fiona main

    I understand that social services have made there mistakes but when are you able to be held accountable for them. When mistakes are made and NOT corrected the workers are not left without homes, children or to fight for the case. And yet PARENTS that have made mistakes like myself but told the truth openly without force were then left fighting to prove i did exactly that, in all the time being slandered by the social worker and yet i went to court to defend the truth and yet again lies and the social worker was not there to defend her actions yet she was on long term leave but in fact the next day she was at a meeting i attended. So if there is a bridge to be built and the case would be that social services and proffessionals work with families and gather a greater understanding of domestic violence and abuse rather than assuming that it is that easy. I suggested that they do a course where they actually see how it is dealt with in many different ways and not what it is wrote in a document, but to the reply was well we work closely with the authorities. Well how about you work closely with the parents and then that would not be the case that children are wrongly removed resources would be available and these parents will not feel the need to run from there homes and disrupt their children’s life’s. To follow that fact the level of depression that follows on to children in the system is greater than it is in soldier’s fighting for our country. So to the point maybe someone supporting and helping the parents is not a bad thing it gives them that little bit of hope, in the sense of what social services tried to remove from me and many others.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Of course support, help and hope are not bad things. But it does matter what KIND of support and help is offered, or the ‘hope’ can be no hope at all.

      I am sorry you had to go through that. your story, and those of many others, is why I think it would be really good to have more networks of parent mentors – people who have been through the system, who can offer genuine understanding and support. there is a scheme in Bristol called Parent Buddies which I have heard good things about and I know there is Families in Care in Newcastle – but I think there is scope to do much more.

      I appreciate it is difficult to ‘engage’ and ‘work with’ people that you think are looking down on you, criticising you etc. I think parents need a lot more help than they currently get to understand why some people might be worried about their parenting and I don’t think helping them leave the country is ever the right answer.

  2. ian josephs

    Well my objectives are fourfold:-
    1:-Stop punishment without crime so that children are never taken into care from sane non criminal parents.

    2:- Abolish forced adoption ie where parents fight in court to keep their children from adoption by strangers.

    3:- Stop gagging orders on parents wishing to protest, and allow freedom of speech between parents and children

    4:- Never forbid indirect contact between parent and child unless a parent has physically injured or sexually abused that child

    I invite you Sarah and you Sam to join with me and with Christopher Booker in achieving these objectives!
    It is a bit difficult to fly over from Monaco to meet but I will gladly speak by phone from Monaco or France as long as you like at my expense if you give me a number and suitable times to ring you .

  3. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    Thank you for responding, but I am afraid I can’t join with either you or Christopher Booker to achieve those particular objectives, save possibly number 3.

    The first highlights the fundamental difference between us – we are not going to agree on that one. I think children should be protected even if a criminal conviction can ‘t be secured.

    2. I am not going to agree with abolishing ‘forced adoption’ in all circumstances as for some children it does represent their best and only chance of a happy, settled home. Not all parents who ‘fight’ for their children are blameless.

    3. On this one I probably agree with you – there needs to be much, much more openness about the family court system and I think for too long people have hidden behind the need to keep children’s details private. There must be a middle ground; keeping children’s names out of it but allowing parents to speak. But I am afraid I would not want to join forces with you and Christopher Booker for reasons which I hope are very clear in this and other posts. I think my credibility and integrity would be utterly tainted if I did. Hence why I asked if you would be prepared to make a donation to the Transparency Project, which shares your aim 3. Would you do that?

    4. I can’t agree with that one. There are many, many ways sadly that a parent can really hurt a child and these ways are not confined to just physical and sexual assault.

    Given that there is and is likely to remain a fundamental divide between us – you simply don’t accept that parents who emotionally abuse children and cause significant harm should attract the attention of the state – it is highly unlikely to be productive if I meet with you to discuss general campaigning.

    However, I think there are projects about which I assume we could both agree could have a positive impact and one of those is parenting mentors/peer support. Would you be prepared to support such a project financially? It would be very helpful to find out just how many individual groups are operating, what areas don’t have any such groups and what we can do to fill the gap. There is only so much I can do in my spare time and on a limited budget.

    If you are interested in that, you can call me in Chambers during the week 0117 921 3456. If I am in court, please leave a number and I will return your call on my return.

  4. ian josephs

    Sarah, I won’t ask you to contribute to my financial aiding of pregnant women fleeing the country to avoid forced adoption of their newborn babies if you don’t ask me to finance parenting mentors/support or any other politically correct sounding scheme however worthy. I am not a poor man but I am not Bill Gates either !
    I reckon I do my bit doing what I think to be right as you probably do also. I do not exaggerate my own importance and gadfly is the most ambitious adjective I would use to describe myself whilst you are a lawyer I believe to be suffering nagging doubts about the systemyou have hitherto upheld so valiantly.
    Maybe a chat would be interesting though unlikely to shift entrenched views !

    1. Chantelle HOLLISTER

      Desperately need help. I have no criminal record or mental problems but my association with someone in the past who does, is being used against me.
      Absolutely nothing placates social services, such as a suggestion of 24 hour ctv to prove my children are safe and being looked after.
      Also social serviceswho refer assessors to make reports in large part lies and in a larger part huge exaggeration, to basically tarnish my character as much as possible in lue of court proceedings.
      If I refuse these assessors that is used against me, if I consent, it’s character assassination.

      Regardless of the fact I have always had a job, no criminal record, no alcohol, no drugs, I now see that they’re determined to take my children.
      The way in which I’m treated like a terrorist in a mother and baby placement, with 24 hour recording and journals of my activities aswell as being “supervised”. If I go out anywhere including Tesco is proof of this.

      I have no other recourse but to flee.
      Total cooperation has only proved to be used against me in the most ludicrous way.

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        If they were determined to take your baby I don’t see why they would pay a lot of money to have you in a residential assessment. Where is your lawyer? I don’t think running away is the answer. Where would you run to? How would you live? If you are in a residential assessment placement I assume that care proceedings have started, so you have non means, non merits tested legal aid. Please if you haven’t got a lawyer, get one. If you have got a lawyer – speak to them.

        1. Angelo Granda


          Please follow Sarah’s advice and speak with a lawyer preferably one who is experienced in fairness and human rights.
          Do not flee the situation,persevere .

          QUOTE: The way in which I’m treated like a terrorist in a mother and baby placement, with 24 hour recording and journals of my activities aswell as being “supervised”. If I go out anywhere including Tesco is proof of this :UNQUOTE.

          I think this is significant contravention of your human rights although I say this as a layperson,an ordinary parent just as you are .You should repeat it to your lawyer and demand your rights. Unfortunately, this is a realistic complaint you have and it is expressed in non-fantastical language. This sort of thing is common-place in this country.
          Instruct your lawyer accordingly to appeal if you are already in proceedings. The possibility exists,i’m afraid to say, that some sort of ‘secret’ dossier on your family compiled by SW’s or other Public Officials has been presented to the ‘secret’ Family Court without your knowledge.
          They must demonstrate it is in the pressing Public Interest for reasons of national security before they can do this.

          1. Angelo Granda

            Chantelle, In the circumstances you are lucky they have let you come online to the CPR.
            Are they monitoring your outside communications and/or ability to speak with friends and family? It seems not but tell us more.

  5. Sam

    Ian Joseph’s
    I am glad you replied. As a parent I do agree with many of your views,but I also agree with Sarah that partnership working is the way forward.
    I do not see mentoring as politically correct nonsense, I see it as an effective tool for turning generational dysfunction around. Bear with me please.
    In my previous post I told you about three generational dysfunction in my ex’s family. It of course now is four because it has affected my own children and I daresay unless there is intervention it will go onwards.
    My mother in law who lived till she was over 90 said she thought life was hell, and ended up bitter. She was actually a lovely lady , who like many co dependents would put others needs before her own. Yes parents should put children’s needs first,but parents, especially mothers need boundaries and self esteem in order to parent effectively.
    I was very much in my mother in law’s mould, after all a man marries his mother don’t they? I was just as unhappy as her, trapped in an abusive marriage. I am now ,despite the circumstances, I do not have my children ,blooming happy and embrace life. This is probably a bit dramatic for you, but my life started to turn around when a friend sent me this book : I read it and actually laughed when I saw myself in it.

    To precis woman who have problems with self esteem instead of appreciating themselves, will try to fulfil their needs by hooking up with an dysfunctional man and many times this is a repeated pattern. I had some childhood problems, nothing like my ex and I certainly lacked self esteem, so that made me a sitting duck for a controlling man. I am sure Ian that you have seen this scenario a number of times.

    Within a couple of weeks of losing my children I landed on my feet within a group which includes a mentoring system. The group offers unconditional support, it is confidential , it doesn’t teach, members simply express their own stories and experience. It achieves several things, firstly the new member realises that they are not unique, so the shame no longer has a hold on them,others have been there, secondly the newbie wants what the peace of mind the older members have and will actively work to get it and thirdly as the members gets more stable the relationship with the others improves. There is support outside of meetings by phone if needed also.

    I was just like any other mother going through care proceedings, angry, hating the local authority etc. I have not had an easy time of it eithier, I have the lies, the useless solicitor and what could politely called a somewhat difficult judge. Through having the peer support though , I coped, I haven’t had to resort to the more traditional methods of drowning my sorrows or even prescription drugs. I now have insight, I don’t know if it will but I do hope that at some time in the future the intergenerational crap will stop and it will be because the mentoring group have taught me a different way to live and I can pass this onto my children.

    Ian I still do not like what has happened, I certainly do not love the local authority, but what I have achieved is sticking two fingers up to them by getting well when they said I couldn’t. The group is not specific to care proceedings , but because of my positive experience I would love something similar to be set up to support parents. Ian ,just like you and Sarah I care deeply about the unfairness of dragging vulnerable parents through the court when there are alternatives. Could be some co dependent issues I still have to work on though!
    Please speak to Sarah, if then you wish to explore what I have to share , I would be very happy to phone you.

  6. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    Thanks Sam. Hopefully this is an issue we can continue to explore and investigate further. I am glad that this support was positive for you.

  7. Winston Smith

    The sheer effrontery of this is beyond belief.

    Keith Joseph is putting his time and money to excellent use.

    You seem to be unable to recognise the corruption and arrogance of the British family court system and British social workers, judges and legals are at fault.

    The fact remains children are taken into Care for silly reasons.

    Once there they will quickly be put forward for Forced Adoption as the standard solution.

    Once this process has started it is virtually impossible to stop.

    So if you don’t want your kids Forced Adopted ;-

    parents are advised to flee the country before court orders are raised.

    If foreign flee back to you country.

    So there is a gulf set between us that no man may cross over, to use the Biblical quote.

    The Transparency Project is a whitewash job, after the secrecy of the last 23 years, which still effectively continues..

    I can tell you exactly why it was imposed if you wish.

    Most social services depts. and their staffs are NOT prepared to work in partnership and will fabricate evidence (oh yes), make false allegations and demonise parents to win a case. They absolutely refuse to work with them afterwards.. They will openly ignore their statutary duties.

    We know ,we represent the families. I personally have been openly abused by SS dept staff when things have not been going their way.


    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Keith Joseph is putting his time and money to excellent use. Keith Joseph died in 1994 so I am not sure what he is contributing to this.
      The fact remains children are taken into Care for silly reasons. – please elaborate. What do you say are the ‘silly reasons’ ?
      Once there they will quickly be put forward for Forced Adoption as the standard solution. – this isn’t true. Please provide evidence for this assertion.
      Most social services depts. and their staffs are NOT prepared to work in partnership and will fabricate evidence (oh yes), make false allegations and demonise parents to win a case. They absolutely refuse to work with them afterwards.. They will openly ignore their statutary duties. – please provide your evidence to support this assertion that it is ‘most’ who fabricate evidence and make false allegations.

      how many people have you helped leave the jurisdiction and what checks do you make before you do?
      Having helped them flee, what happens to their children?

      1. Winston Smith

        we haven’t. They do it themselves.

        However once there they can be dealt with by the social services of that country. everyone comments on the different attitude
        As far asis known they are living with their families.

        however, as I sat if you don’t want yours kids in long term Care or Forced Adopted you have no choice but to flee the country.

        You can ask why British judges are so arrogant and try to issue court orders in those countries.

        Or social workers chasing families and trying to get the kids back to Britain.

        We are dealing with cases now where fabricating and embroidering evidence has taken place ,but they are sub judice.

        oh ,incidentally very serious problems have emerged with the case you quoted, but there is presumably going to be an appeal.

        On other matters,inventing non-existence mentalhealth conditions denied by medicalhealth specialists is fabricating evidence,as is inventing events.

  8. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    Fabricating evidence is extremely serious and should not happen. I hope wherever it happens it is rooted out and the perpetrators imprisoned.

    But in 15 years I have had not one case of fabrication – misleading, arrogant and sloppy evidence yes, plenty of that but not outright fabrication. A colleague of mine is dealing with a case of fabrication at the moment but this is I think the first she has encountered in a similar time frame.

    this does not mean that fabrication of evidence never happens but I think we can safely conclude from this that it is likely to be rare.

    I asked you and you didn’t answer – what are the ‘silly’ reasons that lead to care proceedings? If you want to paint a picture of an utterly corrupt system, swimming in lies, you have to answer that question. The reason you won’t I suspect is because the truth is that the vast majority of care proceedings are initiated for very clear and sad reasons. My overwhelming feeling on reading most of my paperwork is NOT ‘why are this LA interfering in this familiy’s life’ but rather ‘what took them so long’?

    I appreciate that all sorts of accusations are being levelled against the competence of Marie Black’s defence team. I have heard there may be an appeal.

    But unless and until there is, and she wins it, I am left with the FACT that Ian Josephs paid money to a woman to leave the country who now has been convicted as a paedophile rapist and he confirms he does not ‘care’ to investigate anyone’s background before he gives them money

    this is really worrying.

    1. ian josephs

      This is daft reasoning ! No pregnant mother becomes more of a risk in Calais than in Dover ! Why all the fuss because I help pregnant women escape the horror of having their babies snatched at birth to end up in long term foster care or forced adoption? Surely a good deed not a bad one?

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        Let me explain again why I am making such a silly ‘fuss’.

        You gave money to Marie Black to leave the country.
        She has now been convicted as a child rapist.
        You say you carry out no checks and ‘don’t care’ what the parents have done.
        You say you have helped 200 parents and spent £30K in the process
        You don’t carry out any follow up of how parents are doing abroad.
        What percentage of these parents are actually and actively dangerous to children?

        Is there ANYTHING in that list which gives you pause for thought?

        1. ian josephs

          Marie Black was in my opinion stitched up by her own counsel.

          [rest of long comment redacted because I don’t know if there is going to be an appeal, if there is this kind of comment may well do damage to that process. Its also a libel against the defence barrister. Ian Josephs is clearly very invested in the view that Marie Black is innocent. This is hardly surprising; otherwise he will have to face the truth that he helped a dangerous paedophile leave the country with a small child]

          1. ian josephs

            It is not a libel to say that it was a terrible mistake in my opinion to prevent Marie from giving evidence and at the same time not to question her accusers.That is my opinion .Sarah ,as usual you love to quote myself and others with things that neither they nor I ever said ! I never said Marie was innocent ;i just said that the way the defece counsel refrained from actively defending her ensured a verdict of guilty without giving her the chance to defend herself.
            Even if she is guilty she did not become more dangerous by goinfg to France and indeed french social services seem very supportive

    2. EJ

      Fabricating and lying by social workers is far from rare. I provided some evidence to the police of non-oath sworn perjury and they found excuses not to investigate. It’s a criminal offence. I have evidence of complicit professionals including social worker and her manager lying and once it’s all collated I will pursue it. Audio recording can come in very handy. Why do you think parents are increasingly secretly audio recording? Even the transparency project as well as Community Care and other sources have written articles about it as it’s become prevalent and LAs object to it because they are running scared. I have spoken to many, many parents who have evidence of social workers lying and fabricating. Often they are unaware of their rights so don’t pursue it. You are in cloud cuckoo land if you think it’s rare. I know somebody (an intelligent, loving parent who had not harmed their child) who just lost her child through lies and misrepresentations and a corrupt court system and a legal team who failed to fight for her.

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        I consider it rare because I rarely encounter it. I have been in practice 20 years.
        But because I consider that even rare occasions need to be dealt with, I was one of the co-authors of the Transparency Project guidance on recording, and I am a trustee of that charity.
        So please don’t think I am in ‘cloud cuckoo land’. That is insulting and doesn’t make me particularly want to engage with you.
        My work on this site and with the Transparency Project should be prove enough that I am worried about the things that aren’t going well in the system and I would like to do something to change it for the better.

        But I do not think any change for the better can be effected by hyperbole or insults.

  9. Winston Smith

    sorry,I forgot.

    Bullying at school (acc;usations from school are frequent causes), invented incidents carried out by some one ekse, home education.

    Ultimate – taking part in a film with an accident is emotional abuse. .

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      but what are the parents’ lawyers doing? Are they asleep? Distracting by counting out their cash bonuses? A care order can only be made if facts are found proved which demonstrate that significant harm has either been caused to a child or there is a serious risk it will arise in the future. Being home educated, without more, cannot possibly satisfy the statutory test. Nor can bullying at school be simply automatically linked to significant harm caused by parents!

      Either there is much, much more going on in these cases which you aren’t being told about by the parents OR every other lawyer in this country apart from me is either lazy, stupid, corrupt or actually dead.

      I know which one I think is more likely.

      1. ian josephs

        Plenty of fabricated evidence in the recent Marie Black case;Evidence from a police officer on oath that 268 documents had on the instructions of a social worker been doctored to eliminate anything showing leading questions to the children and anything that could incriminate the carers !
        That stopped the trial for 6 months while the police investigated (they are still pursuing enquiries now) the delayed hearing still went ahead ,and the so called defence barristers did not even call the man who altered all this evidence to court to explain himself ! Yet again a massive cover up !

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          Is there a single institution in the UK that is NOT part of a massive cover up, conspiracy etc?
          What do you say were the motivations prompting the police to take part in this kind of corruption?
          And presumably all the lawyers and the Judge were in on it too?

          If the lawyers were not ‘in on it’ presumably we will see an appeal?
          If we don’t see an appeal, what am I to conclude about the cover up?

          1. ian josephs

            I never criticised the police ;they are still pursuing their enquiries into altered court documents..Just no real defence and a biased judge.No conspiracy ,just bad luck for Marie to find a defence counsel who did not call her to deny accusations and did not question any of the children or the man who altered 268 documents….

  10. Winston Smith

    I’m afraid not.

    we see the documents.

    We also get parents to write clear statements of what has happened to use as statements.
    The origin of cases is frequently in bullying at school, which the school denies. Home Education also starts it because of the Badman Report, and an ICO is granted. From then on the family will be automatically be found guilty and a full care order granted.
    And a placement order for Forced Adoption as well if in the plan.

    We seem to work in Alternative Universe family courts.
    Defence lawyers will not mount fighting defences. As said, is it a good idea to go against your best client in the shape of the Guardian and SS dept ? Probably not.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      We do indeed seem to operate in parallel universes. When I act for parents and the case against them is poor, I point this out to the Judge. Who has to listen, otherwise I appeal. I am not aware of a single solitary case where a care order was made on the basis that the parents home educate, with nothing else.

      Can you send me links to any judgments in such cases?

      1. ian josephs

        Nearly all legal aid lawyers in family courts gag their own clients ,and say” Go along with social services “! We won’t oppose the interim care order but we won’t agree to it either;we shall save our ammunition for the final hearing ;A big confidence trick because they do not fight even then so nearly all the kids involved end up in permanent fostercare or forced adoption.
        These lawyers are mostly PROFESSIONAL LOSERS and succeed in their missions to lose brilliantly !
        One hears that the L.A gives a lot of work to those who lose the most cases………….

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          Your characterisation of legal aid lawyers as ‘professional losers’ is as insulting as it is untrue. If I was such a ‘loser’ I would not continue to be instructed by parents’ solicitors. They do not instruct barristers who simply throw in the towel. Given that I continue to make a living out of representing ALL parties to care proceedings, I can only assume that I have reached a basic level of competence that is recognised by both my professional and lay clients.

          But this isn’t just about MY hurt feelings regarding such an unjustified and unwarranted slur. By continuing to parrot this nonsense, you contribute directly and seriously to the distrust and suspicion felt by parents in proceedings, who then refuse to engage with their lawyers, refuse to listen to good advice and thus LOSE THEIR CHILDREN. You thus contribute to and support the very situation you say you are fighting against.

          I do hope that somebody somewhere with more power and influence than I is reading about what you have done in the Marie Black case and taking it very seriously.

          I have to hope that. Otherwise I shall just lose all hope.

        2. Kelly Taylor

          I totally agree with this from experience. The care panel system means that the solicitors for parents and social services are all know to each other. When we complained to our solicitor that the LA had lied to us to sign a section 20 and we’re now breaching the legal framework work and acting as if they had a care order the advice was ” yeah, they do that you need to just work with them”. There is no proper defence for parents and I agree with Ian that more parents need to represent themselves or have other advocates as the legal system in family court is working against them, and only use solicitors for the legal filing etc…. Also, very importantly the presumption of innocence does not apply to family court . We didn’t do anything wrong, we’d never lived with child when the other parent died…all we did was say we would home them for these rest of their childhood. We stepped up and were ripped apart in court to prove we could care for the child. My partner’s PR were trampled on completely and the judge allowed it. We believe, but cannot prove this was because my partner was honest and told the LA they had grown up in the care system for all but 4 years of their childhood. This appeared to be a Red flag of risk that shows that even they don’t believe their system helps kids to become well nurtured adults. Your more likely to lose a child to care if you were also raised in care. A social travesty being unleashed in generally low educated, low income sections if society. Don’t see many middle class women running away from social services do you?

  11. angelo granda

    Yes, Ian, you know that,I know that, it has been known for years ! The question is whose job is it to stop the imposition of injustice? The politicians-perhaps but with a few, honourable exceptions they are dishonest. Lawyers- maybe but we have to remember their relationship with society is essentially parasitical with a few honourable exceptions (Sarah is one). The press – they can be effective but tend to support the status quo.
    You can’t fight the world alone!

    Believe me, it is not wise to come on this forum and use the words “professional losers’.Understandably,that particularly insults the CPR patron.

    Why don’t you cooperate with Sarah and work together?

    You choose a test- case ( one which calls for fresh precedent) and Sarah can make a name for herself and help our cause in the High Court.

    1. ian josephs

      Unfortunately I believe there should be no punishmet without crime so that no children should be taken from parents who have not committed a crime against children or at least been charged with one.Sarah does not so we are poles apart.
      In criminal courts about 50% are found guilty but in family courts only one in 400 care orders are (that means 99.25% are granted!).That is why I call legal aid lawyers in family courts “Professional losers” as they nearly always lose without a fight !

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        You will need to explain the basis for that statistic as it isn’t 99.25%. I accept it is high but you cannot conclude simply from that it is due to the lawyers being ‘legal aid losers’. In my experience, it reflects the fact that things have to get pretty serious before care proceedings are bought and the cases are usually strong. In my own personal experience I have about 20% ‘success rate’ in avoiding permanent removal – BUT in one of my cases last year, I successfully resisted an ICO only to find the family coming back on an EPO six months later for further issues of drugs/violence. So not really a ‘win’ there, particularly not for the children.

        BTW Mr Josephs – give you have such a poor opinion of us legal aid lawyers, I assume therefore you support the Government plans to continue to cut people’s access to us? Who do you suggest should be representing parents in care proceedings if we are nothing but the supine lap dogs of the LA? As you recognise, you can’t spread yourself much thicker. Or are you training a cohort of crack McKenzie friends from your Monaco bunker?

        that’s a reassuring thought for the morning.

        1. ian josephs

          Look below Sarah for what one experienced barrister has to say.I agree most parents are better off without a lawyer who is an enemy in the camp ;there to make sure the parents are gagged and the interim care order is granted.The parents are better off representing thamselves with nobody in their corner to sabotage their cases;After all you do not need to be a barrister to say you are a good mum or dad who has never harmed your child and never would do so.

          I tell them to watch Lucy Reed’s three videos for LIPs and then proceed as below:-
          Never explain your actions unless forced to do so by direct questions in court.If for example you are asked “did you go to London yesterday?” Reply simply “yes” if that was indeed the case .Never blurt out why you went,when you went,or more importantly what happened when you went as you may by doing this give your enemies fresh information they can use against you. A simple yes,no,I don’t know,I don’t remember,answer most questions and a simple time, date or name can often answer the rest If asked why? answer “I thought it best at the time”.Explanations usually make you sound worse not better ;so avoid them !Be the opposite in court of what the social workers say you are !If they say you are aggressive act timid ;and if they say you are too shy and withdrawn be a bit aggressive ! If the police ask to interview you about the way you look after your children you have the right to remain silent and I advise you to do so or to say “no comment” in response to their questions.
          I have about the same score percentage as you in cases where I advise.

    2. ian josephs

      A barrister with 10 years’ experience representing parents in the family courts writes: “Clients are like lambs to the slaughter. Every client I met filled me with sadness (except of course in cases where there was obvious abuse and not in the Local Authorities’ and court’s interpretation of the word). I would sit with desperate mothers and / or fathers with their eyes wide open in worry repeatedly asking me what I thought the outcome to the case would be. How to relay to the client that the reality is that the children will most likely be made subject to care orders and ultimately adopted. How to tell the client that we are merely going through a kangaroo court process whereby the majority of children are taken from loving parents once the machine (i.e the court process) has been switched on.”

      “Throughout proceedings clients would genuinely believe that ‘justice would prevail’ and the courts would see that the children are better of at home with mum and dad. As any other barrister, and for good reason, I told parents that there is no certainty in proceedings…. I did not have the heart to crush their spirits from the outset. I truly believe that we are living in tragic times at the moment

  12. angelo granda

    I suggest a case which will mean an out-of-time appeal against a full-care order on the grounds of :- a) LA failure to conduct the case wrongly because of the CS not following frameworks and legal guidelines
    b) CS perjury ( unlawful statements under oath)
    c) breach of Article 6 ( right to fair hearing.

    If you and Sarah could set new precedent in such cases, that would go a long way and open the floodgates to lots of appeals.

    You could perhaps folloe up by going to the High Court to get the principle (changed that adoptions are irreversible).

    If your funds run short ( it could cost millions) you would have to launch a charity appeal.Justice does,I’m sad to say, depend on the amount of gold put into the pot by the adversaries.

    1. angelo granda

      Of course, I meant to say ‘failure to conduct the case CORRECTLY’. Slip of the pen.

    2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      This is a sensible suggestion. the sad irony is that for all Josephs, Hemming and Booker etc say they are campaigning for necessary change, what they are ACUTALLY doing is making their complaints extremely easy to dismiss by presenting them in terms which are hyperbolic, hysterical and with little basis in reality. Hemming recently commented on this blog that children are taken into care because their parents smoke. This is nonsense on stilts.

      We need the right kind of case, to be fought in the right kind of way, because I agree that things are going badly wrong and have been for some time.

      But the utter wearying stupidity of Josephs et al does make me wonder, in my darker moments, whether they are actually in the pay of the Government, and tasked with making any suggestions for reform look like nonsense. I don’t see what else can explain their activities.

      But as Napolean says, never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity, so maybe I will take my tin foil hat off.

      1. ian josephs

        And look what happened to Napoleon Sarah ! I am sorry you have to resort to phrases like wearying stupidity .I have been called a lot of things but never before “stupid” (except by my wife in the privacy of the home) Once upon a time if a social worker knocked at the door parents were actually glad to see them but that was long long ago.Nowadays the first thought of any single mum when a social worker calls for the first time would be “my God they are after my children !”.
        As judge Hedley pointed out social workers have shifted from “family support” into child “protection”.With that sort of protection it is no wonder that social workers are the most hated profession in the UK and if I have played a very small part in exposing this I have no regrets whatever …………

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          Here’s a suggestion – you stop calling me a ‘professional loser’ and I will stop calling you stupid.

        2. C

          Napoleon had his own blind spots, having not fully understood the stupidity of repeating the same behaviour and expecting a different result – and of going to Russia in the winter without the right hat. Had he been better prepared, he might have fared better.

          Legal aid lawyers are frequently unprepared. They take on too many cases, they milk them instead of working properly on them, and they know Ian Joseph’s statistics – so they don’t expect to win. (Ask any sportsman the effect of that.)
 to their headgear, I can’t comment – but they aren’t barristers, and it isn’t helpful pretending to be.

          1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            You can’t ‘milk’ legal aid cases anymore. this has been explained to you. We are on fixed fees. I might get a big more money if I can string it out past 5.30 but that’s about it.

            ‘legal aid lawyers are frequently unprepared’. Care to provide some evidence for that slur? From someone who frequently stays up until 2am or gets up at 5am to make sure I AM prepared (and I am not unusual in this regard) that’s a pretty insulting comment.

  13. ian josephs

    There was nothing personal when I said that legal aid lawyers were mostly professional losers.
    The stats speak for themselves !

    In 2011, there were 32,739 children involved in disposals of public law cases, including 31,515 orders made, 792 applications withdrawn, 350 orders of no order and 72 orders refused.

    Only 72 care orders refused out of 32,739 cases !What chance do these poor parents have in our hopelessly prejudiced “family courts”? About 99.8% care orders granted and only .2% refused !
    Most parents who win in public law cases represent themselves and get advice and help from Mckenzie friends or someone like me !I maintain that most legal aid solicitors and barristers work closely with social services and get work from local authorities so their parent clients never stand a chance…

    Judicial and Court statistics 2011 –

  14. ian josephs


    1: Lord Justice Thorpe said There is nothing more serious than a removal hearing, because the parents are so prejudiced in proceedings thereafter.

    2: Lord Justice Wall (the former Senior family court judge) said that the determination of some social workers to place children in an “unsatisfactory care system” away from their families was “quite shocking”.

    3: In a separate case on which Sir Nicholas Wall also sat, Lord Justice Aikens described the actions of social workers in Devon as “more like Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China than the West.”

  15. Sam

    I am ignorant in this area. I understand that local authorities instruct barristers but my local authority has it’s own in house solicitor’s so I don’t get this legal aid loser argument because local solicitor’s are not going to be representing the LA. Locally I have noticed one firm of solicitor’s seems to by instructed by CAFCASS an awful lot.This may just be a coincidence as very few judgements get published from my local court and I may just have seen the cases they were involved in.
    The statistics are absolutely appalling though. Does anyone know a more up to date situation? From published judgements It would seem harder to get a case through today than it was in 2011 however there doesn’t seem to be a deterrent as the latest figures released show that care applications are up July 2014.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      We need a clearer breakdown of what orders were actually made. My understanding is that about 96% of cases end up with an order being made but I am not sure they are all final care orders. Would Mr Josephs object to a Special Guardianship Order in favour of a grandparent, for example? Or Supervision order, even care order, with child placed at home? I remain unclear just what he suggests should be the limit of state intervention when a child is suffering. I am reading the judgment in the Latvian case from the Court of Appeal and reminding myself the state in which this little girl was discovered by the police.

      1. ian josephs

        I can only repeat for the umteenth time that babies and young children should never be taken from parents unless a parent(s) has been charged with or has been convicted of a serious crime against children. Punishment without crime is as illogical as it is wrong. That is the very clear limit .
        you say in effect that we must prevent abuse before it happens and not wait until after a child is abused. That sounds very pretty but in fact undermines our whole legal system by punishing parents for something someone thinks they might do in the future! You cannot punish criminals who come out of prison for crimes they might commit in the future even if you are certain that the will reoffend (as most old lags do) Still less punish law abiding citizens because you think they might offend.The whole idea is preposterous and I cannot think how we got to a state where such happenings are prevalent.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          It’s not about ‘sounding pretty’ its about protecting children. I agree that children should be protected from suffering harm, not leaving them in a risky situation and then only taking action when they have been harmed. You will have a lot more dead children then or a lot more seriously disturbed adults who continue the cycle.

          1. ian josephs

            Alas you actually believe that social workers and cafcass officers should replace judge and jury and decide to predict future events.There would be fewer broken homes and social workers would be well regarded instead of hated if they left law abiding citizens alone and concentrated on criminals.
            When will these childsnatchers admit that they cannot predict the future .Not even with crystal balls,tarot cards,and tealeaves do they have even half the expertise of Gypsy Rose Lee and her ilk. It would be laughable if it were not so sad to see how many happy familes are broken for good thanks to the irresponsible antics of these amateur prophets

          2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            What do you actually think happens in a care case? Social workers don’t replace the Judge. The Judge is there, making the decisions on the evidence that ALL parties put before him/her.

            No one can predict the future. But we can all make pretty strong and firm predictions about what is very likely to happen when we look at the parenting deficiencies of the past. A good question to ask yourself is if whether or not you would be happy to leave your own child in the care of such a parent.

        2. Judith Poole

          I absolutely agree with Ian on this. My daughter is on medication for anxiety and depression and also her partner. They (SS) put baby on the at risk register when she was 3 months pregnant, and at the final legal meeting, the SS announced that they would take take her baby straight from birth, for risk of future harm. They said they wouldn’t trust me to look after baby in case I allowed the parents to see the baby. I didn’t believe she wasn’t capable of being a good mother, so I was deemed in denial of any future risk. They left for France the following day. The French social services, temporarily took the baby for investigation into the UK SS allegations. Their family meeting concluded that they were loving parents and gave them baby. The trauma we have all suffered has been horrendous. Now, she can never bring baby back to the Uk for fear of them snatching him back. We are all struggling financially to keep them in France. If it wasn’t for Ian Josephs’ website, she wouldn’t have her precious baby, and I thank him so much for that. Their solicitors in the UK were useless in the fight to keep baby.

  16. Sam

    Now I am going to sound like a conspiracy theorist. How do you know the police are telling the truth. Was there any actual photographic evidence, did they keep any exhibits such as the soiled nappy? Police can and do lie . If you think I am off my trolley look at Rotherham /Oxford /Hillsborough to name but three.

  17. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    Because the allegations were subject to a detailed fact finding judgment and were found to be true. Because the mother had a lawyer to challenge the allegations and didn’t succeed. I don’t know if the police took photographs but I assume they did because this was a crime scene.

    If I can find the link to the fact finding I will post it.

  18. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    This is from an earlier judgment

    In February 2010 there was an anonymous referral to the local authority’s children’s services department reporting that CB was “up all hours, running and screaming around the flat at 2 a.m. nearly every night”. The landlord called the police to the family home on 5 March 2010. The police found CB at home without an adult at the age of only 21 months. The police officer’s description of the neglect of CB is important and I shall repeat it below. CB was immediately taken into police protection.
    “I then heard a whimpering sound from the door directly in from of me. Once I opened the door I saw a room. In the left hand corner of the room was a wardrobe and there were toys all over the floor. In the right hand corner of the room against the window was a double bed that looked very soiled. On the wall beside the bed was a large area of damp in the wall and the wallpaper was coming away. There was a very strong and overpowering smell of urine and faeces in the room. I saw the child curled in an almost foetal position on the bed lying on a pillow. She sat up when we came into the room and she was holding an empty pink bottle. I went towards the child. She stood up and came towards me. I saw that her clothes were wet and that she was wearing a nappy that had fallen off between her legs. Once in a different room I could see the child’s clothes were wet and she was shivering. The strong smell was coming from her and it was clear that she had not been changed or cleaned all day. I removed the child’s nappy to find dried and fresh faeces. The nappy was so swollen with urine that the child was unable to walk properly. There was also dried faeces on the child’s body and her skin was soaked in urine that had leaked from her nappy and gone through her clothes.”
    On examination at hospital CB was found to have contact dermatitis related to her soaking condition. From police protection she was placed with local authority foster carers with the consent of mother under section 20 of the 1989 Act. CB remained accommodated until care proceedings were issued because, despite mother’s repeatedly expressed intentions, her new housing did not materialise and her existing home was in a very poor state: effectively unfit for a child.

    So if these allegations were FALSE then you ask me to accept the landlord, the police and the hospital all conspired to fake evidence.

    I don’t believe that for a moment. I have seen too many cases with too many children left in a similar state of appalling neglect. The problem here is the mother’s unwillingness or inability to accept just how deficient her parenting was.

    1. ian josephs

      Obviously the mother committed crimes of neglect and leaving an infant unattended etc, and presumably was charged so it was right to remove the child pending the verdict of the criminal court

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        I don’t think she was ever charged with a criminal offence, other than being drunk in charge of a child but I don’t know if she got a conviction. So if she wasn’t convicted, you think she should have her child in her care?

    2. Kelly Taylor

      I have discussed with a senior child physcologist, who also worked for the court assessing neglectful mother’s. Do you know what she said? In every case of maternal neglect she saw the mother had experienced sexual abuse as a child. Once supported therapeutically the mother’s were able to go on and support their children effectively. There are also some interesting stats from the 90’s about child referall and protection rates. I forget the exact numbers but the outcome was there were less children IN care who had ACTUALLY been harmed than were the kids were triaged out of the system with no further help. That is more children were harmed in the ignore list that the take action list. Therefore, an abusive parent today is highly likely to be a failed Child from the previous generation. Intervention, therapy and parenting support should have all have been exhausted before a court hearing us even considered. I believe forced adoption at birth should be made illegal and a crime against humanity.

  19. Winston Smith

    this is the Latvian case you appear to be referring to.

    So even if al l the above is true you are claiming its AOK for the child of a foreign national to be Forced Adopted. Unfortunately the governments and populations of these countries don’t and there are what used to be known as International Incidents and demonstrators outside our embassies.

    The cannot understand Forced adoption.

    As w e understand it the mother was in the habit of leaving the child alone whilst she went to work ,a practise common to Eastern Europeans.

    However your description does not justify Forced Adoption

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      From the findings, the mother was in the practice of leaving the child alone in a nappy so sodden with urine the child couldn’t walk. The child ended up with a serious attachment disorder due to the profoundly neglectful parenting in all domains of her development from her mother, who even now is arguing before the Court of Appeal that she never did anything wrong.

      Definitely the right decision to try and give that poor little girl a home and no, I don’t particularly care if its in Latvia or not.

      1. Winston Smith

        We both know judges’ Findings are notorious.

        The claims of a nappy sosodden that the child couldn’t walk are not compatible with the landlord arriving to check on repairs complained about to the flat and finding no-one in.

        Neither is the SS Dept’s claim of Attachment problems, these are now almost standard to cases.

        I’d like to see evidence of Disrupted Attachment under Bowlby’s theory, in which case it was caused .by the removal from the mother and not the other way about.

        I f you think a family can be found in Latvia, why are you supporting Forced Adoption here.

        Perhaps you might like toact for the Latvian government ?

        [link redacted because its almost certainly in breach of Article 12 of the AJA, but let me know if I have got that wrong and I will reinstate it]

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I think a little girl now aged 7? who has lived in the UK all her life and who suffers from the consequences of the extremely neglectful parenting of her mother, has needs which are more important than going back to Latvia at this moment. She needs a secure, safe, stable placement. I note the Latvian authorities made no suggestions to the UK court who might care for her or what would happen if she went back to Latvia. Just another assessment I guess.

          So you are saying that this is just completely fabricated by the police? That the hospital did NOT confirm that she had been left in urine soaked nappies? So why did they make this up? Were they promised a cash bonus if they snatched a Latvian that day?

  20. angelo granda

    I think it takes us down a blind alley to discuss evidence in individual cases.I could quite easily quote appalling evidence which puts police and social workers in a very bad light.Yet their word is always accepted as kosher in family courts.

    I have seen a case where a child’s bed was described as full of faeces (without forensic testing) by police and social workers in initial statements.It was later discovered to be chocolate. No criminal charges were brought as there was no realistic chance of conviction,obviously.

    The Local Authority Social Services took the case to the Family Court but the CS failed to investigate properly according to guidelines.
    The court was presented with the initial statement only along with a photograph which showed brown marks on the bedcovers.
    The CS ‘forgot’ to mention that there was no confirmation to support the assertions or that it had found to be chocolate or that the child had been examined by doctors within an hour and found not to have been in a state of neglect or that no charges had been brought.
    The CS never forgot to report that the parents had both been arrested on suspicion of neglect nor did it forget to mention the initial referral and quote it in full.It did,however, forget to report that , on investigation,the details given in the referral had been found to be untrue. It also quoted the key social worker as saying he ‘thought’ the child was neglected.

    Consequently the Judge found that the bed was stained with faeces and the child was in a state of neglect! She stated she preferred the sw’s evidence.

    This is why it is futile us discussing evidence. If the evidence is not impartial and enquiries are not carried out according to guidelines,it’s worthless.
    So let’s not go down that route.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      What I am annoyed about is a knee jerk reaction to such an appalling statement of a child’s suffering – o how do you know the police didn’t lie? Well I don’t do I. I wasn’t there. But I will rely upon the fact that a court heard evidence from a landlord, the police, a hospital and found the child did suffer.

      refusal to accept or engage with the evidence in one particular case doesn’t get us much further forward I accept, but it usually is illustrative of a pretty closed mind.

  21. angelo granda

    It is a job for Police to investigate whether allegations of conspiracy are theory or not. They are the only ones who can break down doors, sequestrate documents and computers, question departmental staff, grill parents and relevant professionals, interview children and bring enquiries into the actions, financial payments made and motives of fostering agencies etc.etc.
    Why not concentrate on persuading the Police to do their job or perhaps call for a public enquiry instead of arguing amongst ourselves.

    1. angelo granda

      Sarah, if a case were brought in a family court against the CS for acting wrongly or dishonestly,would parents be wise to ask you to bring it?
      Are you absolutely neutral or biased towards the CS? Perhaps you would ‘recuse’ yourself because of a ‘conflict of interests.
      What do readers think?

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        I rely on evidence. That’s all. I don’t care about the status of the person or the organisation who brings the evidence. I want to look at the facts. That’s why I represent ALL parties in care proceedings and have won (and lost) for all. If what I am doing on this blog and elsewhere is not sufficient to reassure people about that, there is nothing else I can do.

        People must draw their own conclusions – and I hope they will do it on evidence also.

        1. EJ

          The trouble is what is defined as ‘facts’ though isn’t it. A good example is the one given above about the ‘faeces’ being chocolate in reality. The judge decided it was fact that it was faeces without evidence of this. This is therefore decided as fact.

          I can tell you of countless cases where children with autistic spectrum disorder or ADHD have been falsely labelled as having attachment disorder and their neurodevelopmental conditions misrepresented as signs of emotional abuse or neglect or trauma. And if a parent is falsely accused of MSBP/FII and diagnostic negligence has occurred with the child, it effectively stops all further imedical or clinical assessments of the child leaving only one outcome, loss of the child. If a parent denies fabrication they are refusing to accept their crime and if they admit it, well they admitted it and either way lose their child.

          1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            Yes, of course they key issue is what is decided to be a ‘fact’.
            I would be surprised if a Judge made a decision about ‘faeces’ rather than ‘chocolate’ on no evidence in support.
            Clear evidence in support would be a social worker, nurse, doctor, teacher etc noticing it and noticing that it wasn’t chocolate. Or if faeces were noted to be smeared on walls, clothing near to the child etc. Then its a more reasonable assumption that what was on the face was not chocolate.

            If the judge found it was faeces just on the say so of the SW then I would expect that to be on the basis that the Judge preferred the evidence of the social worker AND the Judge explained WHY he preferred the evidence of the social worker.

            If the parents are adamant that it was NOT faeces but instead chocolate, that’s where their lawyers come in and the SW etc are cross examined. Did you realise that the parents had just been to the shops to buy sweets? It was a hot day wasn’t it? The chocolate melted quickly didn’t it? How did you know it wasn’t chocolate? Did you get up close? Or are you just assuming etc, etc, etc.

            Absent us all being recorded 24/7 with high quality recording equipment that produces instantly available to view images that can’t be tampered with – we have no other choice to but to try and find ‘facts’ in the way we do. By testing people’s recollections/opinions in court with challenge and questions.

            I don’t for a moment accept that this system is infallible – it clearly isn’t. It is operated by humans therefore it can’t be.

            But nor do I accept for a moment that it is as arbitrary and cruel as IJ suggests. Judges have to give reasons why they accept or reject evidence. If parents think the judge has done a poor job, they must instruct their lawyers to consider an appeal.

    2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Well, while I am waiting for that to happen I would rather get on and do something myself.

    3. angelo granda

      The Police would also have unfettered access to those social workers and support care-workers already in prison for child sex abuse and general criminal abuse. In return for extra priveledges (such as access to table-tennis tables,t.v. or a cell to themselves) they might be persuaded to ‘blow the gaffe ‘ once and for all!

  22. Sam

    Sarah I apologise if I seem biased against the police. In my experience police and other professionals lie, if you want to see written evidence I will email it to you. They may not have lied in this case, BUT the amount of police corruption that is now coming to light means that it may, just may be a possibility.

    I have already told you that I believe my finding of fact needs reopening, I may actually have Angelo’s very important case . The problem is I am scared after having had a bad experience with a solicitor of finding one that will listen and understand what has happened.

    Yes the debate needs broadening out, just remember some of us are not being deliberately awkward we have just gone through an immense amount ourselves.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I don’t deny that the police lie, I would be have to be pretty stupid to deny that. But when they do lie it seems more out of enthusiasm to fit up some Irish people or escape blame for poor decisions at football stadia.

      I don’t have any evidence to suggest that child protection officers routinely enter homes with the express purpose of making up some report about the appalling conditions in which the children are left. And I think it is sad that this is the response generated in you by reading about this little girl.

      I don’t doubt you have your own enormously stressful personal battles to contend with – as do we all. But it is not going to help to damn an entire profession or an entire system on the basis of our own personal injustice. I am not for one moment saying that it is not important or that you don’t deserve redress…. but if you are looking for a miscarriage of justice case, this Latvian one does not appear to fit the bill at all.

  23. angelo granda

    Sam, Don’t accuse Police and professionals of lying or you will be riduculed for it by solicitors and it will be assumed you will not accept concerns or that you require treatment. It may be used in common parlance but don’t use that word ! Just bring evidence and let the solicitor come to his or her own conclusions.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Sam is entitled to talk of police and professionals lying – of course they do, of course they will continue to do because they are human beings, ergo weak and fallible.

      But I honestly don’t think lying is routine or commonplace. And I am very sad that anyone reading that utterly heart wrenching description of that little girl, left alone soaked in her own urine and feces, and their first response is – how do you know the police aren’t lying? WHY? WHY would they lie about that? What’s in it for them? Seriously, what is the motivation to fabricate such a detailed and distressing account of a child’s suffering?

  24. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    Sam’s suggestion was that how did I know the police weren’t lying. See her comment at 7.33am

    I thought that a sad first response to that particular passage.

  25. Sam

    I am sorry I wasn’t trying to derail the debate and I had actually read the judgement.It ‘s just that I struggle to always believe that the police , particularly in public protection units do not work hand in glove with Children’ s Services. Perhaps I have just been through more trauma than most with them. I would like to point out ,that at one time , like the vast majority of the population I trusted them
    Just one of the things is the social worker and I suspect the management above her did something extremely malicious in context of the domestic violence I suffered. I in fact am still traumatised by what they did to this day. There was a criminal case in my area where a woman received a two and half year prison sentence for something very,very similar. I told the police what had happened , showed them some written proof and they refused to investigate. In fact a DCI was outstandingly rude to me in an email.
    There are another couple of examples , where the police failed my children and myself which frustratingly I cannot say anything about.

    It’s may be you don’t believe it until it happens to you and then you perhaps are too suspicious.

  26. angelo granda

    I did not really want to start discussing evidence but in support of Sam, I make the following points:-

    1.The fact that no charges were brought against the Mum concerned and that none are even contemplated should be ample indication to all of us that the evidence presented to the Family Court was at the very least incomplete and misleading even if we accept that a Policeman actually made that description in all honesty.

    2.Was the description given orally under oath? Or has it just been reported by a social worker and attributed to a Police Officer? If the former, was the officer’s description tested rigidly in detail by an experienced criminal lawyer? No , although allegedly criminal offences were reported, the case was taken to a civil court only.

    3.There are several indications in the evidence itself that it is not impartial and we have to remember that (some) CS managers are very experienced masters of deceit.

    A) An ANONYMOUS referral in February 2010.As no action is reported and no comment made as to its truth suggests that the child was well-cared for at that time. Was the child up and screaming at 2am every night or not? I doubt it, but even if CB was,I don’t believe it is unusual for babies to wake up screaming in the night even when well cared for.

    B) The Police found CB at home without an adult.This suggests that CB may have been in the care of a minor (possibly a babysitter) and that the report does not clarify the full facts suggests a lack of impartiality.

    C) CB was immediately taken into police protection. Unless CB was in imminent danger of serious bodily or moral harm ( emergency) the Police cannot issue an emergency protection order.The Police Officer has the power to initiate one but when he or she does, it can only be issued by a Police Inspector.I don’t believe a dirty nappy , dirty bedding and a damp patch on the wall ( reported to the landlord) warrants emergency removal. The child was otherwise unharmed and the Police Officer could have supervised the child until Mum returned.Does the signed order exist and if it does, was it produced and analysed? What were the reasons given?

    D) No report is made of where Mum was or when she returned and no report made of any statement or indeed whether she was ,in fact, cautioned and asked to account for the situation.Had she just popped out to the shops or had she gone out for nefarious reasons? We are left to guess.Had the baby been changed that day or did she just ‘ look like’ she hadn’t. Was an ‘in-depth’ enquiry made about that , indeed was anyone asked at all?

    E) On examination at hospital CB was found to have contact dermatitis related to her soaking condition.Whose interpretation was that? Was it questioned rigidly? Contact dermatis is caused by allergy to acid and oil etc.Whilst nappy rash may be caused by a soiled nappy , no nappy rash was reported by hospital! Funny.

    F) Mum’s new housing did not materialise and her existing home was in a very poor state: effectively unfit for a child.This suggests a possibility that the landlord called the Police originally because he wanted the family out!

    G) ‘I have seen too many cases with too many children left in a similar state of appalling neglect.’ Sarah you haven’t seen the children; you have only seen the biased reports.SW’s often use the same templates and I can honestly say that I have seen identical descriptions used.

    I hope readers don’t think me ‘sad’ for making these comments. I repeat that if the scenario was so bad,why was Mum not charged and convicted?.

  27. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    Read the judgments. The evidence was thoroughly tested over many days in court.
    She accepted a caution for one offence – i..e she admitted guilt.
    Criminal trials are only bought when evidential AND public interest tests are satisfied. If her child has been removed, usually no public interest in charging and convicting such parents.

    I haven’t just read ‘biased reports’. I have seen scene of crime photographs that will never leave me.

    But believe what you want to believe. I can’t help you with that.

    1. angelo granda

      Sarah, I don’t necessarily believe she was innocent; I am merely putting a different interpretation on the evidence than you.

      I have no doubt she accepted a caution because she was guilty of going out and leaving the child without a responsible adult. There is no getting away from that. BTW, Sarah, when parents are persuaded to sign S20’s ,is that also taken to mean they accept a level of guilt? Because if it is,then that should be put to them before they do so.

      Humanity is the name of the game, Sarah.Have you considered the cultural differences and recognised it is quite normal for children to be left without an adult on the continent? Clearly the Police took more realistic and proportionate decisions than the family court did. They warned her as to her future behaviour and referred her to the SS for support ( which she clearly needed).

      You can believe what you want too Sarah ;we are all different but if you think what she did warrants removal,then I believe you are a hard woman. Haven’t you heard of compassion, mercy and magnanimity? There but for the grace of God go thy and all that? Does a child really deserve to be removed permanently especially when she was not harmed seriously and Mum accepted a caution? Surely,there was a less intrusive alternative.

      As a lawyer, please learn not to overact to evidence.At first sight, we are all shocked by it but the child had a dirty nappy and was wet; that’s all! Apart from the bed looking dirty. The bedroom had a damp patch but that could quite easily have been sorted.Did they offer the family support,possibly a hostel?

      Most of all never underestimate the capacity to deceive of the CS. Listen to what Sam tells you.

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        Read the judgments. If you don’t have time, or can’t be bothered – here is para 7 of the most recent.
        The third is that the District Judge heard oral evidence from both a chartered clinical psychologist and a child and adolescent psychiatrist. The psychologist, whose evidence was effectively not contested, was of the opinion that the mother did not have a personality disorder but did have maladaptive personality traits. The psychiatrist, whose evidence, although challenged, was accepted by the District Judge, considered that CB had a disorganised attachment to her mother and attributed the global developmental delay, reported in August 2010, to the care given to CB by her mother and as being caused by neglect, both physical and emotional. The District Judge described the psychiatrist’s evidence as compelling:
        “His evidence was compelling when he said that observation of CB with the foster carer and with her mother was clinically dramatic for him, such was the difference in her presentation. I found his analysis of the available evidence persuasive and compelling and unshaken in examination.”
        The fourth thing to be noted is the District Judge’s core finding:
        “CB has suffered significant harm in the care of her mother. I find that CB has been subjected to significant neglect, both physical and emotional, causing her physical harm, emotional harm in respect of her primary attachment and causing her to be developmentally delayed in all areas of her development. This I find is attributable to the care given to her by her mother.
        I find that her mother is in no better position now to prevent harm to CB than she was when CB was removed from her care on 5th March 2010. The personality traits and psychological deficits identified by [the psychologist] will still be present: one can follow her avoidance of issues throughout these proceedings and see her denial in action. I have no doubt that if CB was to be returned now to her care, that CB would continue to suffer harm through emotional and physical neglect.”

        If I am ‘hard’ then part of what has contributed to making me ‘hard’ is now nearly 20 years of having to confront the horrible things that human beings do to the vulnerable children in their care – who never asked to be born.

        Of course professionals make mistakes – and sometimes it is worse than that, I fully accept. They panic, they lie, they take against a parent. It happens.

        But what should we do about that? Do we tackle the evil at its root and call for better training, supervision, more resources for a breaking system?

        Or do we continue to make excuses for these parents and trot out exculpatory nonsense that its ‘their culture’ etc?

        I profoundly disagree with that. If there is indeed any ‘culture’ that sanctions the neglect and abuse of children then we need to be able to stand up and say loud and clear ‘this is a BAD culture and we don’t support it or cut it any slack’.

        And section 20 is NO admission of ‘guilt’. It is sometimes a sensible approach when parents are struggling. It can cause serious problems when it is allowed to drift.

        1. EJ

          All of that is arbitrary however. The person I know of who wrongly lost her child to forced adoption had some similar things claimed. Only about 30% of the population is securely attached at any given time. Look it up. Psychiatrists and psychologists are guessing a lot of the time, based on their own narrow beliefs and training. A child of that age will show disordered attachment with the mother once they have been traumatised by being removed. When they are put with the mother again for observation, the child will be in great fear of being retraumatised by being ripped from the mother again and therefore will emotionally distance themselves to protect their emotions. Global development delay is something later to be diagnosed autistic children are sometimes initially labelled with. It can also happen with connective tissue disorders which up to 20% of the population have. Children don’t all develop at the same rate either.

          Anyone can attribute anything to anything. That doesn’t make it so. And unless all factors are taken into account by experts in the field and unless parents are fully allowed to present their testimony (to include their own expert witnesses) then it will never be the case that a differential assessment has been made, resulting in no justice and no best interests of the child being properly considered.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Have you read the judgments. If, having read the judgments you accept the findings – do you think this mother is capable of looking after a small child?

      If you had a small child, would you have left her in this mother’s care?

      1. ian josephs

        I have 12 grandchildren and would only leave the Young ones in the care of another family member or more rarely someone the family knew very well.
        I find that the safest way to deal with parents who contact me every day for help is to assume that the allegations of social services are true and then ask myself if fostercare is justified and it rarely is;
        Forced adoption of course is never justified.
        In the case above Angelo Granda has analysed the case with 8 well made points sufficient to indicate that a severe warning would have been quite sufficient ,plus possibly a supervision order.One strike and you are out is too severe as a sharp warning could bring about a change in circumstances.Sometimes if the “SS” take a fancy to someone like Baby p’s mother they take her children to see her in jail then send her off with a new name and a new life all at vast public expense;Pose a risk to your children of emotional abuse however and they are liable to be adopted by force and you may never see them or hear from them again !

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          You are entitled to your opinion.

          Just as I – who have read the judgments in this case – are entitled to respond that you are wrong. This was certainly not a ‘one strike’ case.

  28. angelo granda

    I find none of the psycho evidence compelling.
    No personality disorder,maladaptive traits,global development delay not diagnosed until several months after removal blamed on mum.
    The mental torture and degradation which the child has been condemned to throughout her life (also that Mum will suffer) is more compelling.

    I am interested in your comment ,Sarah, that lots of parents write to you for help but when you see the individual judgments, you realise straight away that any appeal is unlikely to be granted. Next time, please bear in mind that if the LA conducts a case wrongly,presents unlawful evidence and misleads the court and Judge then the Judgment will be even more misleading in fact morally invalid.
    If a parent comes to you claiming the judgment is wrong, don’t begin by giving it credit.Do your job and start by examining procedure in great detail, non-disclosures and court orders as well.
    The judgment will be even more damning than the evidence because the Judges have to do everything to cover themselves.In the CB case the most compelling evidence for removal appears to be the psychopinion that Mum doesn’t show any acknowledgement of her failings and thus she is likely to be unable to change! Well,well,how typical? Also no treatment is likely to be completed in time-scales.
    This is why parents are sent for psychological assessment without consulting GP’s first to establish the need for one. For litigation purposes not to provide help and support.Let’s all wise up!

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Well bully for you. Two experts and the court did.

      I am interested in your comment ,Sarah, that lots of parents write to you for help but when you see the individual judgments, you realise straight away that any appeal is unlikely to be granted. I DID not say that. Ironic that you complain of shoddy evidence when you twist my words so.

      I clearly said that when I read the judgments I see instantly that these parents have not been honest with me. And are not being honest with themselves. I see a litany of years of violence, police intervention, children left alone at very young ages and referred by anxious neighbours who have seen – with their own eyes – the children in dangerous and neglected states.

      But you want to turn this into an argument about my naivety in swallowing evidence that isn’t compelling. that’s your narrative. Knock yourself out. I won’t engage with you any further about this. It is a genuine waste of my time.

  29. angelo granda

    Sam,I may be wrong but I believe that although the LA legal team creates a case, it then has to send it on and instruct a private firm of lawyers who will then appoint an independent barrister like Sarah to represent them in court.

  30. angelo granda

    I apologise for not checking the wording of your previous post before commenting , Sarah.I was wrong not to.I usually try to read posts in forensic detail.That was just an impression I got.
    Please understand that I am not having a go at you personally. I have acknowledged that we all believe what we wish to, that we all view evidence differently and you have acknowledged the weaknesses of the system.
    If you were in court engaged in a disagreement with a participant,would you tell him or her to go knock themselves out? I don’t think so. Try and respect different opinions as I do. Or if you don’t have the time,put off commenting until you have,for pitys sake.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      There are some opinions based on nothing more than prejudice, hostility and misunderstanding.

      Why on earth should I respect those?

      I don’t respect those. And I won’t moderate that lack of respect or the language I use to communicate that lack of respect.

      If people find that unacceptable there is a simple solution. Don’t come onto my site and provoke me with comments that are not worth my time or patience.

      I can reassure you that I have been just as blunt with opponents. There is no point pretending I think someone has a sensible or respectable argument when it is clear to me that they do not.

      If I get it wrong, I hope I have the grace to apologise. But I am NOT pussy footing around people who think they can spout whatever rubbish they like and I must respect it.

  31. ian josephs

    Suespicious minds and pink tape disagree with my views on forced adoption but at least they use reasoned arguments whilst you Sarah rely on words like stupidity,hostility,rubbish,prejudice and misunderstanding to quote a few of the many you employ; Sad isn’t it to see an obviously well educated person reduced to continually employing these terms in place of argument?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      As you find my comments and methods of debate so objectionable, I invite you to take the rather obvious step to preserve your sensibilities – please leave and don’t come back.

      I imagine that would have an immediate and positive impact on the amount of rationality and sense in the comments.

      It would certainly do wonders for my blood pressure.

      1. ian josephs

        I don’t find your comments objectionable Sarah (you do love misquoting myself and others!) just sad coming from someone who could obviously do much better !

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          Not wishing to sound any ruder than I have already been – but your opinion about my worth is not going to carry any weight with me.

          there is little point in either of us continuing to engage in a conversation which is proving so profoundly disappointing to us both.

  32. angelo granda

    I knew I shouldn’t have started discussing evidence! Sarah, if you see criticism and opposition to some of your views as hostile,then yes, I am hostile but I am not the only one.
    I admit I may misunderstand some issues, but many parents misunderstand the Family Court system.
    I don’t admit to prejudice but you are entitled to your view,of course.
    I agree with Mr.Joseph’s view that there should be no punishment without crime but then again the Family court does not exist to punish anyone.It issues protective orders and endorses sanctions and care-plans (too many of which entail removal because the CS won’t or can’t provide support).
    I think we disagree mostly about proportionality and humanity. I am sorry for personalising it and calling you a hard woman.I regret that.
    I don’t know about Mr.Josephs or Mr.Hemming but I accept that sometimes removal is necessary even in cases where there has been no criminal conviction.However,I think children should only be removed as a last resort into TEMPORARY foster-care, always with regular frequent contact and always with an eye on rehabilitation home to parents when possible. I believe enforced permanence plans and enforced adoption are inhumane .
    I am of that view and if you aren’t then I think the LA should have to demonstrate something approaching deliberate malice against children before placement for adoption orders are made by the Court.
    All comments welcome.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Thank you for your apology.

      Again, I find myself apologising for being testy.

      I have no wish to stifle debate.

      But equally I have no wish to keep going round in circles.

      Some parents couldn’t care for a pot plant. They are dangerous and abusive and their children need rescuing immediately. Some parents could look after their children with the right help and support. some parents find themselves caught up in circumstances beyond their control and findings are made about their parenting which are not based on proper evidence; this is usually cases involving physical injury to the child with no other concerns about their parenting.

      I take it no one would disagree with that? I suspect the largest group of parents in care proceedings fall into the second category. There are real and urgent discussions that need to be had about the levels of support that is (not) available for them.

      But parents in the first group are NOT rare. They are a minority, but not an insignificant one. I get fed up with some of the comments here because they seem to come from an assumption that this first group is vanishingly rare and whenever we find an example of one, we must proceed on the basis that the more likely explanation is that they have been ‘fitted up’ by the police, SW or whatever.

      Anyway. Whatever rude things I may say about your commenting Angelo, I have to give you credit for responding politely and wishing to continue the debate. Hopefully I will be in a better frame of mind for more constructive discussions after the weekend.

      I am afraid I have a very strong mental picture in my mind of what it must have been like for that little girl and I am finding it hard to engage with the usual line from some that the State has no business intervening.

    2. ian josephs

      Angelo ,just try telling a law abiding citizen mother who has just given birth that she is not being punished at all when they take her baby at birth and give it to strangers for adoption (maybe because she had a violent partner who shouted too much,blaming her for failure to protect another child; or a childhood where she was herself abused thus they say the risk that she would do the same to her baby !
      Sir James Munby (president family courts) himself said such adoptions were the worst punishment possible for a woman since the abolition of hanging !

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        maybe because she had a violent partner who shouted too much.

        Because of course, that is all violent men do isn’t it? Just raise their voices from time to time.

        Have a little shout.

        No harm. No foul.

        Mr Josephs is sailing his boat far into the wide horizon on the Sea of Wishful Thinking. Lets hope it doesn’t get scuppered by a big Wave of Reality any time soon.

        1. ian josephs

          The reality is that in Italy for example all couples scream and shout at each other so there would be no children left with parents if they were removed for shouting, but the family link is stronger than that in the uk as in Italy they tend to take care of their old folk not put them into dodgy care homes!

      2. angelo granda

        I agree with you,Mr.Josephs.It is punishment practically but not technically.Wherein lies the confidence trick played by the CS. Folk are promised impartial investigations for their and their children’s welfare in accordance with the law when the CS have often already made a decision to remove and the whole thing is a sham! I think to take a baby from its mothers breast is barbaric.

        Who started this letter to Ian Josephs thrad anyway?
        I think you should be given the last word on it out of courtesy.

  33. Sam

    Violent men do not just shout too much. If they did it would still be abusive. They hit, strangle, kick and they often step up their violence when a woman is pregnant. They play mind games, tell the woman she is mad. They isolate the woman from family and friends. They financially abuse her and stop her working. They often turn the situation around and play the victim. It can be coupled with alcoholism or drug addiction. It can happen to men as well particularly those who get involved with addicts.
    The victim will be in survival mode and denial, even if she/he manages to escape they will still have doormat written on her forehead and abusive men will automatically zoom in on her. Unless she gets help, picks up self confidence , self assertion skills and very importantly learns to spot an abusive man. Please look at the resources here

    Society has supposedly moved on , we have equality, though personally I would question whether some of the mainly middle aged male judiciary have cottoned on that we are not still in the 1960’s and woman should still be wearing aprons and warming men’s slippers.

    Sarah is right some parent’s simply should not have children, others simply need support which is practically non existent in some areas.

    Angelo is also right in that the processes need to to more transparent and open to scrutiny. If I had three wishes please can we have recording of all communication between social workers and families, abolition of Section 20 and something akin to the direct payment system adapted from adult social care to apply to every child on a CIN or child protection plan.

    1. angelo granda

      Sam, Who told you all this?
      Social workers are full of theories (true or false) and they storm in to the lives of families with all sorts of irrational fears based on whatever they have learnt at college and after passing their college examinations usually by taking pot-luck when answering multi-choice questions. They are badly trained,badly managed,badly organised ,overworked,mixed-up individuals and when told to go and investigate a referral,find the facts and make an open-minded,impartial report, they don’t know what impartial means.
      Because of it , cases enter cloud-cuckoo land,as I call it, right from the outset.Perhaps a child arrives at school with a miniscule bruise which neither parent or child can explain .
      So , the irrational fear is that because it is unexplained Dad might be a childbeater or and wifebeater. They ask the child does your Dad smack you ever? If the answer is yes then they will report that the miniscule bruise may have been caused by Dad. If the answer is no,they will report that a possibility exists that the child lives in a state of fear and will not implicate Dad. It’s called ‘OBTAINING BEST EVIDENCE’.
      They’ll ask Mum. “Do You ever argue?” She will say all parents argue and they will ask “does he ever raise his voice?” She will say sometimes perhaps and then they will say. “Has he ever hit you?” If she says a definite no then they have (irrational) fears that she may(just may) be a woman who is cowed and afraid to speak out.
      They simply do not listen to parents and cannot distinguish between fact and fiction!
      When they raise the subject with Dad and he denies it then they will say that theoretically controlling men are very good at concealing their wrongdoings and turning the issues around!
      I am not prejudiced against social workers,I’ve heard it on tape.
      The fact-finding missions of simple concerns are turned into madcap INQUISITIONS where facts no longer matter. Later, when parents present the true facts, the lawyers turn round and say mum and dad are in dreamland with the fairies!

      1. angelo granda

        I would add that at interview,sw’s will say to Mum and Dad “you seem to have difficulty understanding our concerns”. If either parent so much as changes their tone of voice, let alone raise it, then they have displayed agressive traits and their children are doomed. The report to a psychologist that Mum or Dad will not acknowledge concerns ,will they advise?After reading all that BS and without asking relevant questions of the parent/parents ,the psychologist may diagnose maladaptive traits( ergo the parent cannot adapt to the false evidence) and Bob’s your aunty! You need 3 years therapy and its Goodbye to your children.
        Checkout as many judgements as you can and that is the general pattern which emerges.
        This is a parent’s view and I”m sorry if it bores readers.

  34. Sam

    THIS IS THE REALITY OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE . A friend shared this with me, I recorded it and this is the transcription. I have sent a copy of the original recording to Sarah but unfortunately neither of us could work out how she could open it.

    This is Jenny’s ( not her real name)story ” I was with my husband from being a teenager actually, we met when I was 16 we were together on and off for 24 and I realise looking back the first incident of domestic abuse happened just a year into the relationship when we were dating and still living at home but for years and years I just put it down to he is a bit moody or he gets stressed and also because of the lines he fed to me I always assumed it was my fault. You do blame yourself ,you think if I could be a better wife,if I could do this better ,that better he wouldn’t need to get angry. I realise that is all rubbish, that he had emotional difficulties and took them out on me I realise that now um I attempted to leave him twice, once was in 2001, once was in 2005 but both times I went back to him but in 2011 I left him and left him for good it has been three and half years now.

    Questioner What did he actually do to you Jenny? Similar to what the previous speaker said I guess it was mostly verbal ,psychological,emotional abuse criticising me and putting me down on a daily basis .Shouting at me ,calling me names and completely degrading and demeaning me all the time. But it did become physical at times as well he did slap me about ,he did push me to the floor , he did, a few times he pulled me off the bed so I smacked my head on the floor and one time he tried to strangle me and I had to run outside of the house in my pyjama’s .I was very embarrassed that I was in my pyjama’s . He used to smash things as well , he got a radio because I have always preferred radio to television and he likes his telly better but because it was my radio and was so precious to me he threw it on the floor and jumped up and down on it smashing it to pieces. Sometimes that was even worse than if he was attacking me.Um he used to chase me up the stairs with clenched fists and threaten me.Yeah oh Yeah

    Questioner So when did you first notice it was affecting your mental health? To be honest I think it did from the very beginning because um I also experienced domestic violence from my Dad growing up and I was 13 when he, when my Mum finally had the courage to ask him to leave, and I was only 16 ,as I say when I met my ex husband so I think my whole life I have had anxiety and depression. Undiagnosed a lot of the time but that has become my normal. I think I have been so used to experiencing abuse from loved ones, male people around me that feeling down and getting het up and stressed has just become my normal so I can’t really answer that question very well. I think I have always struggled with mental health probably.

    Questioner OK I understand that so would you say it’s a sort of circle of abuse in a way. You have just gone from one thing to another? Yes I basically married my father.

    Questioner Yeah I understand that and um now you are out of it how have you changed? Well I have done all sorts of things I thought I could never do by myself. He made me feel I was useless and small and worthless I thought I couldn’t do much I am not very capable have done all sorts. In a few days time I am just going to be moving into my own house that I bought.

    Jenny is an intelligent woman, degree educated and formally worked in a managerial position. She does not have children As her friend I am very proud of her, for having the courage to share her story.

  35. angelo granda

    P.S. As you know Sam,sometimes they don’t bother consulting or involving parents AT ALL (especially when it is a s47 investigation).

    Another point is that the great majority of social workers and family lawyers ( even the barristers) appear to be of the gentle sex therefore if a man (who has not been informed of his right to an advocate) is frustrated and alters the tone of his voice or shows traits common to men, he is too easily construed to be aggressive. If a male were to question him, he would not be thought aggressive or out of order at all!

    Sorry if Sarah or anyone else thinks that a nonsense contention but I think it is valid.

    Sarah,please note also when assessing my comments that the relatives of Hillsborough
    Victims were accused by Police and the press of ‘getting off on their feelings of injustice’.
    It took 23 years for the truth to emerge with that debacle!

    The TRUTH is that 99percent (my estimated statistic before you question it) of men are able to control their anger and are not violent.They should not be deemed without concrete FACTS to be stereotypical of the one percent who are! Plus,even in this day and age most working class mothers see their husbands/partners as the head of the household and ‘man of the house and rely on them to provide and control the financial affairs.When this is expressed, do not
    assume they have an old-fashioned ‘warm his slippers and put the dinner on the table relationship (as described in the text-books).
    Establish the facts and you will discover that many men these days do all the shopping and do their full share of other household tasks.
    The problem is they don’t want to know the true FACTS, they prefer to contrive the situation where a judge has to make findings based on their ‘professional’ conjecture.
    Sorry if these three posts are over the top ,Sambut its about time someone said something FOR men.

  36. ian josephs

    Going back to my original comment about shouting men Sam I think you missed the point.
    I was certainly not defending violence in any form.I was trying to defend the many women who get rid of a violent man ,then ,find a completely different type of new partner of gentle disposition ,have a baby ,then lose it to fostercare and/or adoption because of the first man she chose who still poses a risk etc
    Punishment without crime is always wrong. Please don’t tell me mothers whose babies are taken at birth are not punished, . Quite simply they would all say “yes we are ,and it is wicked!”

  37. angelo granda

    Before anyone takes wrong inferences,btw,please be assured that any case which I may or may not have been involve in personally has not had any connection with domestic violence. I am speaking out for other men!

  38. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    Angelo, I am going to delete any further comments from you which seek to minimise and deny the truth about violence, its likelihood and its impact.

    There are many, many MRA fora which will happily put up with this guff. I will not.

    Sam is right. Listen to her why don’t you?

    It is so far from the truth that ‘99%’ of men can control their anger to be laughable. And how does this anger manifest itself? In murder, rape, stabbings, beatings, kickings, trashing of home and property, emotional control and psychological torture.

    Have a look at the crime statistics. 30% of the female population have experienced abuse.

    If that abuse is being committed by only ‘1%’ of the men in this country, then gosh they must be very busy indeed.

    The only thing you have said that in any way chimes with reality is that yes, there are far too many women working in the family justice system and yes, I agree that many of them display attributes which are not always what is needed when you are dealing with angry young men. It is wrong that there are not more men prepared to do this work – but you would have to ask men why they don’t want to get involved.

  39. Sam

    It is clear both Angelo and Ian are blinkered. Please both of you read through the true account again. I do have another one to post, which will shed further light on the subject I just haven’t time at the moment.
    In particular it is important to note that she married a man who behaved just like her father. In my experience, and i know a far bit about DV now, it is very rare that a woman falls into a relationship with a gentle man after being a victim. They normally go for what is “normal” another dominator.Children are traumatised by seeing domestic violence. Mine will be and I feel guilty for that. Not that guilty though because I tried so hard to be heard despite how difficult it was to speak up and I was failed by the authorities.
    I may be wrong but is not DV with or without addiction a major reason for children being placed on a child protection plan?

    1. ian josephs

      I simply say newborn babies should not be taken from mothers because a previous partner ,no longer around was violent.Do you disagree Sam? What’s blinkered about that?

  40. Sam

    Do you ask who the father of the newborn is? Do you look at the dynamics of the relationship? How does the mother prove that the new partner is not violent?
    I am far from an apologist for the system as you would have worked out, but you should also be aware that I am concerned about mothers and children being trapped in violent or dysfunctional relationships.

  41. Sam

    This is the other account , once again from a friend.

    I was a victim of domestic violence for about 13 years and after that I did manage to get away and the majority of it was mental cruelty and he directed his anger at objects rather than me, usually while he was drunk.

    Questioner How did that make you feel? Terrible I thought it was my fault. I always thought I had to be better wife and mother so he wouldn’t be angry. I wasn’t making him angry he was already angry .I have learnt that so much later on of course.

    Questioner What do you think the short term effects were on you? I was frightened, I was frightened to answer the telephone, I was frightened to go out of the house.I was frightened to meet people because I am sure people would know what had happened to me and as I said I thought it was my fault.

    Questioner At what point did you decide you had had enough? After I had been raped

    Questioner Did you consider going to the police? I did think about going to the police but I thought they wouldn’t believe me and because it was a man raping his wife it wouldn’t matter.

    Questioner How does that make you feel now? I wish I had gone to the police and I think I should have left him sooner for the sake of the children because they were involved in this going on at the time.

    Questioner And what has been the more long term impact on your mental health? The long term effect on me has been anxiety and depression.and sometimes stress.

    Questioner And what way does that come out ? It manifests itself in things like being frightened to drive the car,frightened to meet new people because when you meet new people because when you meet new people they always want to know what your story is. “Hello my name is Ann ,I have three children and I have been married for so long . People always want to know that and that kinda thing and I am frightened to tell them about that .

    Questioner So how many do you think you have been affected? I think I have been affected since about 1980 .

    Questioner So it’s an awful long time. Err how have you managed to get your life back together? Well I had a hospitalisation,because I had suicidal ideation. In that hospitalisation I was put under the care of a psychiatrist and when I was released from hospital it was a CPN who helped me and eventually after a number of years this CPN giving me support at home I was referred to an organisation called MIND and they helped me with practical things like being able to meet new people and um stress control and um helping with anxiety and confidence building.

    Ann once again is an intelligent ,very capable lady who before she had a breakdown could confidently deliver training to up to 500 people at a time. She is back on her feet and has rebuilt her life. She has been a great support to me and I am proud of what she has achieved.

  42. angelo granda

    Sam, I am not trying to minimise the problem of domestic violence and I understand it is increasing.I may have not read crime figures before because I haven’t sought them out but I am certainly not blinkered and having opened the link provided by Sarah,I am shocked at the figures.

    I deplore domestic violence in any shape or form.I recognise the effect it has on children involved in abusive,morally and financially impoverished households and I understand how criminal behaviour is stoked by the pervasive presence of organised,top-level crime( drug-peddling,sexual predators et al).

    I recognise one cause of it all is the breakdown of families due to traditional orthodox behaviours not having been drummed into folk from an early age. Moral instruction,spiritual training and respect for each other appears to have diminished disastrously since socialist, atheistic,materialistic policies and so-called sexual liberation became popular in the 1960’s. I am also convinced that the lack of useful work on which men can expend energy plays a large part.Work is for man, not man for work and an idle brain is the devil’s playground!

    I note your emphasis that not only financially challenged families are affected but others like Anne’s.

    I recognise how difficult it is for Police to bring charges due to lack of corraborative evidence when they come across chaotic situations where families with children are embroiled in dv and other crime.I recognise the helplessness of children and the weaker sex when the main instigator of the violence is Father.

    Before I read your views and others on CPR, I understood that impoverished families are caught in a continuing cycle which is passed from generation to generationi
    I fully agree that social programmes are called for and I recognise the need for ‘social engineering’.

    However, I think that the liquidation of families is not the way forward. I believe the separation of children from natural parents Is SUB-HUMAN and that the persecution of mothers who are who have previously been involved in dv is an invasion of their civil rights. I certainly do not believe they should be denied their fundamental human right to have more children and that if they do, that the helpless,innocent babes should be removed at birth.That is barbaric with a capital B! Such sanctions ( historically practiced by the ilk of Herod and Stalin) are pernicious and deadly to families.Despite that they are commonly imposed upon us by our system with the full endorsement of lawyers and the Courts and despite the Children’s Act which lays out the requirement for support and so on.

    I believe the way forward lies in long-term education of families. Might I suggest you google DANILO DOLCE FOUNDATION and learn how similar social problems have been tackled in Sicily.
    I think you will find it enlightening if you have the time.Italy is not a third-world country either,it is a civilised country and Sicilian families were infected by all the symptoms of poverty brought about by organised crime and materialism as many of ours are.

    Please will you read my previous three posts again and comprehend.I was not denying your dv concerns. I was attacking the incompetence of the CS and their investigations which are biased against fathers,in my opinion, due to their misunderstanding of the theories you discussed.

    As far as my estimated statistic is concerned;Assuming there are about 30 million males in this country,one percent is 300,000 males.Looking at the statistics on the link, there seems to be roughly 100,000 offences against women per year. So I have allowed for 3 men per offence. Was I so far out then when I estimated that 99 percent of men are able to control themselves?

    I am no statistician.If you spread offences over 20 years, I guess and multiply 100,000 by 20, that is 2 million offences.Allow 3 males per offence then we have 6 million males . What percentage of the total number is that? 20 percent.Two per offence will be about 12.5 percent and one six percent.Still 94percent innocent.

    How many men are there per offence in your opinion?

    I find it hard to credit that abused women will deliberately seek out another abusive partner? I would have thought the opposite.Is it a myth propagated by the CS or are we to believe it?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      thanks for your thoughtful comment Angelo and for reading the link.

      What you need to remember however is that that link records convictions. there will be many more offences which do NOT result in a conviction or which are never even reported. One estimate is that a woman will suffer up to 30 incidences of physical abuse from a partner before reporting it. I don’t know how that figure is calculated but it is certainly my experience that toxic and dangerous relationships will drag on for years and years before one partner finds the courage to escape OR is so badly hurt that the police intervene.

      I am afraid it is not a myth that women in one abusive relationship will seek out another. If you are interested, research further the work of Erin Pizzey who set up the first women’s refuge in Chiswick back in the 1970s. She was pilloried and hounded by the women’s movement for saying this, as they wanted to make violence purely and only the problem of the perpetrator – which of course it is. BUT relationships are a dynamic between two people and to focus solely on the perpetrators ignores the fact that the ‘victims’ very often agree to be ‘chosen’ by such men due to their issues of low self esteem etc. Sam has explained it very well.

      This does not of course in any way excuse the behaviour of violent men. BUT it makes social workers very wary of women who have been in abusive relationships and then move on to another, without any kind of counselling or therapeutic intervention. I am afraid it is very likely that they are simply repeating a pattern that they can’t get out of and the risk to the children is obvious.

      Women’s Aid probably have some useful statistics to back all this up. I don’t have them at my fingertips I am afraid – but it is most certainly not a myth.

  43. angelo granda

    Ian Josephs has expressed his views with far fewer words than I. He also deplores d.v. Just like me and you, he doesn’t think women and children should be persecuted for it!
    Keep Mums and kids together and support them-

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      And that sounds lovely in theory. But in practice, I have had direct experience of many cases where women said they were leaving violent men, were given places of safety such as refuges and mother and baby placements by the LA, were send to the Freedom Programme and yet were meeting up with their violent ex behind everyones backs and the first we knew of it was when the police were called round yet again, to intervene in a dispute where yet again, the children had to either see or listen to their mother being attacked.

      the damage done to the children in that kind of scenario is obvious. They are afraid, the adults they love and trust most cannot be trusted not to hurt each other. They may get caught up in the violence – some children do try to intervene to protect their mother. The more likely response is that they ‘freeze’ and become wary and distrustful of all adults.

      Very often being drunk is a factor in these types of situations. So people have to address not only their dysfunctional relationship patterns but their alcohol abuse. I appreciate that there often isn’t much support out there, but equally often, when support is there and is offered, they won’t take it. And you can’t make them. But you can take steps to protect their children.

  44. angelo granda

    Sarah, As a constructive and instructive( for me) exercise, if you find any of my comments above to be tedious hyperbole, don’t delete it all.
    Why not edit the offending phrases and use more professional terms which you think are more acceptable and I can adapt to the CPR and comment more to your liking.

  45. Sam

    Hello Angelo
    I see you are trying to understand the issue.It is very difficult to do so from the outside as just like addiction it is not logical. There is a link to the statistics here . Domestic violence abusers attack whether physically or mentally not from bad temper or mental health issues, though they may be present but because they are self centred and have a sense of entitlement. They are king of the castle, not dissimilar to a school playground bully.
    Just from observation many of them are also king of the road, the type that regularly indulges in road rage and normal rules such as double yellow lines do not apply to them..
    So is a self centred parent, who has to have their needs put first a suitable parent? I was brought up at a time when there were traditional role models i.e Dad worked full time, Mum worked part time and did most of the housework. My Dad was not selfish though, he worked for his family, his needs did not come first . Equally importantly I can only remember my parents rowing once and only then because I overheard it when I was in bed. They obviously did row but they would not do it in front of the children. They never ran each other down in front of the children and I can only remember my Dad swearing once and Mum twice.
    Contrast this with the king of the castle. Something may be going wrong with his day, it will be nothing to do with his family , someone could have served him too slowly in a shop, which runs contrary to having his needs met at all times. He will not explode at the shop assistant, but will have to take the bruise to his ego at on someone. The safest person for him to explode at is his partner or his children ,after which he will feel better about himself again. His explosion is NOT TEMPER is is controlled at all times. Unless interrupted he will not stop until he achieves his goal, which normally is total submission.
    He will do this in the privacy of his own home, or anywhere else he is unlikely to be caught and does not care if it affects his children after all he is more important than them. If say a neighbour happens to call the police he will be all sweetness and light as if nothing at all has happened. It may help to look up the definition of a socio path, though some are more likely to be psychopaths.

    I cannot see how it is logical for a man like this to have anything other than supervised contact with his children unless he demonstrates change . It will be difficult for him to change as he will have to look deeply at himself, . I applaud any man who can actually do this. They certainly should not be given residency of their children unless they demonstrate change.

    With regard to the courts, I don’t think that there is an actual understanding by all judges of the of DV and the like-hood that a mother would have PTSD rather than some other mental health condition. Mothers who have gone through this should be supported not blamed. You don’t normally blame a victim do you?

    I agree that new born babies should not be removed from mothers that have previously had violent partners,BUT they would need to learn about the dynamics of domestic violence in order to keep their children safe. Even if this new partner is every inch a gentleman ,what is to say she will stay with him?

    1. angelo granda

      Sam, A suggestion for the sub-committee.
      I agree that mothers should be taught about the dynamics of positive childcare with an emphasis on the elimination of abusive behaviour in the form of violence ,arguing,shouting,boozing in the home etc. Also proper child-care,hygiene practice in the home,cooking,budgeting,say no to drugs,respect for others,moderation etc.,
      In short they should be guided and it should be made clear what is expected of them.

      Family centres already carry out this sort of work centred upon practice not psychological therapy.The Social Workers only bring psychologists into it for litigation purposes and to bamboozle courts.
      In serious cases,a month-long residential intensive crash course may be a good idea rather than one day per week attendance at the family centre.Both parents and baby to attend.
      Keep the psychologists out of it.

  46. Sarah Phillimore

    Sam, this exchange makes me think it would be very helpful to have some kind of workshop at the next CPConf, looking at impact of violence and abuse on families and what help and support is out there.

    Would you be intertested on being on that workshop sub committee?

  47. Sam

    Yes Sarah I would be very happy to do that. Coming back to your comment regarding accepting help you are right. The peer support group that has helped me so much has around a 98% drop out rate. nationwide. It’s nothing to do with the members, or the way it’s run I think it’s because the person has to look at their part in the family dysfunction. Which sounds horrendous but in practice isn’t , it is actually a positive experience.

  48. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    Excellent. Consider yourself co-opted onto the subcommittee. Do you have any suggestions about who else in this field would be good to approach – shall I try the Freedom Programme?

  49. Sam

    That’s certainly a great place to start. I am sending you an email with another suggestion for the conference.

  50. ian josephs

    The scenario I see far too often is a woman who escapes a violent partner and finds a new placid non violent man who fathers a new baby with her; Social workers descend like vultures to take the newborn baby for adoption because the mother did not “protect” the baby from emotional abuse whilst she was getting beaten up by her previous man so they punish her twice (a) for daring to be a victim and (b) for daring to try and thwart the predators by finding a new man.
    Sam asks how a mother can PROVE her new Partner will not be violent.Suely the new guy is innocent until proved guilty? A concept foreign to social workers way of thinking but one that sensible contributors to this blog should surely repudiate………..

  51. Sam

    I strongly agree a woman should not be punished for having been beaten up. I also want to add , that in some areas the current system to actually encourage woman to leave and the support afterwards is not fit for purpose. As I keep trying to demonstrate it not normally quite as simple as the first partner is a frog and the second is a prince with whom the woman will live happily ever after.
    I really cannot add any more to what Sarah posted above without going around in circles again.

  52. angelo granda

    That is true,Ian,and this is why the Law says that all citizens are entitled to a fair hearing in court after an open-minded,impartial investigation of the facts of a case.
    What Sam presented and what we have discussed is a template for the removal of children from parents based on past precedent of. Dv cases,statistics,psychological studies etc.
    That is fair enough. The problem comes when the CS take a case, take a template and adapt their evidence to fit the template rather than be open-minded and impartial and report the true facts. We can’t stop them doing it.
    The Law recognises this can happen and has laid down procedural safeguards.We have to ensure the safeguards are applied otherwise injustices are bound to occur.It’s up to our lawyers and courts.
    I suppose they have other templates for issues such as the CB Latvian case, also others for depression, obesity etc.
    My main concern is for our rights to a fair trial and so I await Sarahs planned post on the Human Rights thread as soon as she has the time.

  53. angelo granda

    No amount of campaigning can get us a fair hearing.That is up to the lawyers and when the judges start rejecting LA cases due to procedural irregularities,the CS will have to change.

  54. angelo granda

    My other argument is about ‘proportionality’.
    The domestic violence and abusive behaviour we have discussed is dire. It is ‘UNCIVILISED’ and beyond the pale in a civilised society.
    Presented with such a case, any Court will feel bound to issue a protective order and rescue a child.

    However,in my opinion,even if a parent IS charged and IS convicted of a criminal offence, permanent removal is over the top. Reform is preferable even if a man has to be gaoled or the family has to be supervised 24 hours a day to force it to change!

    Whatever the case,reform and education must be the answer.

    Liquidation as practiced against aboriginals and Red Indian families considered ‘uncivilised’ by normal standards is inhumane.

    Forced adoption and permanent foster-care is totally unacceptable,in my eyes, except when something approaching deliberate malice can be demonstrated and there I mean in cases like that of Fred West who was torturing children.

    On the other hand,as a last resort, I recognise there is often a need for temporary foster care whilst immediate problems are sorted out and the process of reform begins to take effect.I guess it might be necessary when both parents are violent or where Mum won’t go to a women’s shelter.All alternatives such as an extended family placement would have to be examined first,naturally
    Can you compromise on that,Ian?

  55. jp.

    hi Ian , how are you ?.
    seems only yesterday, we were fighting side by side against an unjust and corrupted secret system. As JFK pre warned, before he was murdered by system.

    [Rest of comment deleted. No. I am not permitting this kind of conspiraloon frothing on this site. If this is what you want to waste valuable time discussing there are many more suitable fora on the internet – try David Icke or Sabine McNeill, if she is out of prison yet.]

  56. Kelly Taylor

    I have discussed with a senior child physcologist, who also worked for the court assessing neglectful mother’s. Do you know what she said? In every case of maternal neglect she saw the mother had experienced sexual abuse as a child. Once supported therapeutically the mother’s were able to go on and support their children effectively. There are also some interesting stats from the 90’s about child referall and protection rates. I forget the exact numbers but the outcome was there were less children IN care who had ACTUALLY been harmed than were the kids were triaged out of the system with no further help. That is more children were harmed in the ignore list that the take action list. Therefore, an abusive parent today is highly likely to be a failed Child from the previous generation. Intervention, therapy and parenting support should have all have been exhausted before a court hearing us even considered. I believe forced adoption at birth should be made illegal and a crime against humanity.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I am sure that many people who were sexually abused as children go on to find it is difficult to parent well, but equally many people who suffered trauma and abuse are able to parent. I am very wary of drawing conclusions that ‘every’ parent who suffered X and Y will go on to be a neglectful or abusive parent themselves. There are many different variables.

      ‘forced adoption at birth’ is something unknown to law. An adoption order can only lawfully be made after a final care order and a placement order are made and no court proceedings can start until a child is born so an adoption order is highly unlikely to be made before about a year after the child is born. That gives a parent opportunity to engage with their lawyers and present their case to court about why their child should not be adopted.

      If you think that this process is unlawful, then unfortunately you are going to have an uphill struggle persuading policy makers to over turn it – the Children Act 1989 has been tested in the European Court and found compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

  57. Angelo Granda

    QUOTE :the Children Act 1989 has been tested in the European Court and found compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.:UNQUOTE

    Commentators have made the point elsewhere that we really have to get to grips with human rights.

    1. Am i correct to say that it is unlawful to implement forced adoption or any other interference with family life unless there has been a FAIR ‘trial’ of issues as per the Children Act 1989?
    2. Can there possibly be a FAIR ‘trial’ where the Court decision-maker ( the Judge) and most other professionals are biased towards the complainant LA?

    My answer to both questions would be ” i don’t think so” but what do lawyers think. It is known there is inevitably an element of bias in Civil Family Courts no matter how well-meaning the participants are thus the hearings cannot be entirely fair.

    3.Would it be best if we limited the power of inferior courts and refer serious cases to better ones able to make ‘proportionate decisions’ AND issue more appropriate sanctions such as probation and other reformatory orders?

Comments are closed.