Helping parents leave the jurisdiction

What happens if you don’t know the whole story… or you don’t care? The links between Hemming, Booker and Josephs.

“Any person who embraces one party’s version of events and treats it as the whole truth is making a serious mistake. In most family cases the version given by one side is partial and tendentious; on any view it does not give the other side. The only sensible course is to see what the court says in a judgment on all the evidence”.  Sir Nicholas Wall

This is a post by Sarah Phillimore

On the 27th July 2015 the BBC reported that Marie Black had been found guilty of child sex abuse charges. EDIT – and on May 13th 2016 her application to appeal against her conviction was dismissed. 

Marie Black, 34, of Norwich, stood trial with nine others, including five women, at Norwich Crown Court. Black denied 26 charges. A jury found her guilty of all but three counts.
She was convicted of offences including rape and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. Two men were found guilty of child sex abuse and another woman was found guilty of assault.
Michael Rogers, 53, from Romford, was found guilty of 14 counts including cruelty, rape and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. Jason Adams, 43, from Norwich, was convicted of 13 similar counts. Carol Stadler, 60, from Atkinson Close, Bowthorpe, Norwich, was found guilty of assault causing actual bodily harm but cleared of nine other charges, including serious sexual assaults.

Six other defendants were cleared of all charges.

Allegations were first made about Marie Black in 2010. Further evidence was available in 2012 and she was arrested in 2013.

Christopher Booker and Marie Black

But this is not the first time Marie Black’s name has appeared in the media. On 7th July 2012 Christopher Booker wrote about her in an article in the Telegraph. Marie Black and her partner had ‘fled’ to France to give birth to their daughter after being under investigation by Norfolk Social Services. Norfolk wanted to apply for a care order for their child but the court ruled that the child was habitually resident in France and therefore the Norfolk LA had no jurisdiction. Christopher Booker commented:

This is a landmark case which should give cheer to those scores of parents who flee abroad for the birth of children threatened with seizure by our social workers. For this reason, perhaps the British taxpayer’s expenditure on this episode – estimated at £250,000 or more – was not entirely wasted.

He wrote about her again in 2013 – ‘Another couple flee to France only to have their baby taken away’. This was to report on another parent who had successfully left the jurisdiction to escape care proceedings and relied on the Marie Black case as precedent.  Christopher Booker referred to the ‘happy ending’ for Marie Black and her child and applauded the help she had been able to give another parent in the same position:

The mother had already been in touch with Marie Black and Brendan Fleming (although there is still no order from a British court to authorise all that has happened). When the couple appeared in a French court to contest the demand that their baby be deported, the judge was shown a statement citing the Marie Black judgment, making clear that, since Britain had no jurisdiction over the child, deporting her would be illegal. The judge, seemingly out of her depth, adjourned the case, suggesting that it should be heard by a more senior judge in three weeks’ time. We may hope that the new judge can recognise that the law is clear, and that the British authorities had no legal right to arrange what amounted to an act of kidnapping.

But the ending for Marie Black (and presumably her child) we now know was very far from happy. She has been convicted on 23 charges of serious child sexual abuse, including rape.


Encouraging and supporting parents to leave the jurisdiction

Christopher Booker is sadly not alone in simply accepting uncritically any complaint made by parents about the child protection system. He is often supported by the former MP John Hemming and Ian Josephs.

John Hemming has also been subject to serious judicial criticism . Of interest is also this article by Jonathan Gornall in 2007 which explains why Hemming first became interested in ‘waging a war’ on children’s services. 

Booker goes rather further than simple uncritical acceptance but instead often ignores published judgments and established facts when writing his articles.

And its not just Christopher Booker’s reporting about the family justice system which is criticised. As George Monbiot commented in the Guardian in May 2011

I have begun to wonder whether there’s a single subject Booker has tackled in recent years which he has not distorted out of all recognition. For how much longer can this go on?

Sadly for all of us, its still going on.

Its one matter to simply write things that are stupid and wrong. It is another, and more dangerous matter, to encourage and even pay for parents to leave the UK, rather than face investigation into the quality of their parenting. I don’t know if Christopher Booker has ever given a parent money to fund leaving the jurisdiction – but he certainly associates with and is sympathetic to those who do.

He has apparently commented on the criminal trial of Marie Black in May 2015 – making his disdain for the criminal process clear and likening this case to  ‘crazy’ allegations of ritual abuse in previous cases which were like an ‘epidemic of collective hysteria’. 


The ‘mums on the run’ network – giving money to parents

It is clear that there is a network of people who act to help these parents ‘flee’ the UK.  This website describes it in these terms (and then goes on to discuss articles written by Christopher Booker):

The situation can be stated in a very simple manner. There is now a network of Good Samaritans spanning six countries. The countries are the UK, Ireland, Belgium, France, Spain and Cyprus. Parents, mainly mothers, are fleeing with children and heavily pregnant women and teenaged girls are fleeing to have their children born in a foreign country where their citizenship will make it difficult if not impossible for the British authorities to bring them back for forced adoption.

Now for the very simple bit. The hard-pressed volunteers in the network are seeing no Irish or continental European parents and none from Cyprus. All the fleeing parents are British, desperate to escape from UK Social Services, now commonly referred to as the ‘SS’.

We also know that some in the network put their money where their mouth is. One who openly admits giving cash to parents to help them leave the country, is Ian Josephs. He is based in Monaco and is the author of the infamous ‘ten Golden Rules’ which advises parents not to co-operate with social workers and to think very carefully before reporting even sexual abuse of your children.

BBC Radio 4’s Face the Facts programme in January 2014 ‘Forced Adoption and the Mums on the Run’ examined the network of people helping parents leave the UK rather than face investigation.

Mr Josephs was interviewed and confirmed that he has spent about £30,000 helping parents and he did not conduct any kind of risk assessment about the danger these parents might pose to their children. An article in the Daily Mirror in July 2014 confirmed this figure and said it involved 200 families.

Ian Josephs helped Marie Black leave the UK. She wrote to him from France. 

Hi Ian,

We hope you are well.

Attached is a recent photo for you of L, she will be 10 months old this thursday and is trying to walk already! She is so happy and laughs so much. We feel lucky everyday to have L home with us and we are looking forward to her 1st Christmas.

We get on well with the social worker here and she took us swimming last week and this week will be a baby group. She is also looking into if she knows anyone who can help us with French lessons too.

She commented on how happy L is! We have even been to see Mr Mondin the manager of social services who helped us in Court with a shining report and he has a photo of L on his desk, he was so happy to see us all together last week.

Thank you again in our rescue operation!

Best wishes

Marie, Joe & L

No risk assessment before they leave, no follow up after they’ve gone.

In the interview with the Mirror,  Josephs claims he ‘ploughs through’ ‘piles of documents’ before agreeing to help but other than that he is silent on what criteria he uses to judge whether or not it is safe to send these parents out of the country. He is reported as saying:

I know what I do is controversial. People ask how I know the people I’ve helped don’t go on to do something wicked, but my reply is that even killers are entitled to lawyers. These woman are entitled to a fair chance to keep their children if they have not been convicted of any crime of cruelty and aren’t on drink or drugs.

Not only is no or no adequate risk assessment conducted before giving these parents money, there is no formal follow up or investigation as to how their children fare once they leave the jurisdiction. Sadly, the poll conducted by the Daily Mirror attached to its interview with Ian Josephs, shows 66% of those responding agreed it was right to help ‘pregnant mums’ leave the UK. So its not only Christopher Booker who is willing to uncritically accept reports of a ‘happy ending’.

Ian Josephs later said he does ‘not care’ if the parents have done anything to justify intervention. Because forced adoption is wrong and that justifies his actions. ‘ I don’t care who it is. They have every right to escape’. See this video from 6 mins 50 seconds.


Connections between Booker, Josephs and Hemming

Ian Josephs has close connections with both Christopher Booker and the former MP John Hemming, in their self appointed roles as critics of the child protection system and champions of its many alleged victims.

For example:

  • both Booker and Josephs appeared at a ‘Stop Forced Adoption Conference‘ in Birmingham in December 2012, together with Brendan Fleming, the solicitor who represented Marie Black with regard her daughter.
  • There is cross fertilisation from Josephs’ website to Booker’s articles.
  • Also see this article.
  • See this post from Head of Legal in 2013, discussing the joint activities of Booker and Hemming around the ‘forced C-section case’.
  • John Hemming was interviewed for the January 2014 Panorama documentary ‘I want my baby back’ and there advised parents to leave the jurisdiction as they wouldn’t get a fair hearing in the UK. He continues to promote ‘mums on the run’ on his blog – see this post from July 2015. [EDIT – JH now appears to have removed this blog post]
  • See the Justice For Families e-conference with John Hemming and Ian Josephs on 3rd September 2014, ‘Refugees from the UK’. Brian Rothery claims one family arrives in Ireland every week.


It’s not always a ‘happy ending’

However, as the Marie Black case demonstrates, it is naive and dangerous to simply take at face value a parent’s assertions that they are nothing but the ‘victims’ of the corrupt family courts. Marie Black has been tried and convicted in a criminal court, on the criminal standard of proof and found guilty by a jury of her peers  – this is just what Ian Josephs has been campaigning for, that no parent should lose their child without a criminal conviction. He said to the Daily Mail in March 2012 

 ‘It’s time the criminal rules of justice applied in the family courts. We need parents to be considered innocent until proven guilty and also be free to talk about what is happening in those courts without being thrown into jail.

So presumably Marie Black would not now qualify for his help to leave the country.

Just how many more ‘unhappy endings’ are out there? If Josephs has paid 200 parents to leave the UK, just how many dangerous parents have been helped to escape scrutiny in this way? We don’t know, because he doesn’t care to find out.

How much longer are Booker, Hemming and Josephs going to be permitted to carry on like this? Just what kind of tragedy will it take to shine a light on their activities?

Apparently Christopher Booker will be writing about the Marie Black case in tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph. It will be interesting to see what he says and how – if at all – he will try to  justify his role in these events.

If he isn’t actually handing over cash to parents to get them out of the country, with every dangerously false and inaccurate article he writes he is certainly encouraging and supporting those who do.


EDIT Sunday 2nd August – there is no article from Christopher Booker in today’s Sunday Telegraph. Further speculation is probably unhelpful given that I am not clear if Marie Black intends to appeal against her conviction. I hope it is a safe conviction. If its not safe I hope it is overturned speedily.

BUT whether the conviction stands or falls, the activities of Booker, Hemming and Josephs remain open to serious criticism. If Marie Black is not a child sex offender, the risk remains that other parents might be. And they are being supported to leave the country with their children – not merely with encouraging words in a newspaper, but with cold, hard cash.

I hope I am not alone in finding this both appalling and dangerous.

EDIT Sunday 9th August 2015 Christopher Booker has now commented in more general terms.

EDIT September 28th 2015. Marie Black is sentenced to a minimum term of 24 years.

EDIT December 4th 2015 – for the latest wilfully misreported case, see this blog post by suesspiciousminds about the Latvian family ‘helped to flee’. Christopher Booker reports the child’s injuries as a ‘slight mark’ whereas in fact they were more akin to a rope burn, the child said his father did it. It’s ironic that Josephs continually asserts that only parents who are convicted in a criminal court should lose their children; but he helps them leave the country before they can be charged with any criminal offence.

141 thoughts on “Helping parents leave the jurisdiction

  1. Sam

    As I have previously stated I don’t always agree with what Sarah says as we come from different perspectives. This is one of those times. I actually think some of John Hemming’s idea’s are sound such as recording of child protection conferences. I did read his last private members bill and asked my MP to back it. I do understand that Christopher Booker can write inaccurate articles, but quite frankly I think most journalist’s do . Sarah is probably now saying I am too simplistic, she maybe right.
    I am not sure about fleeing abroad, I have not been in that position to make that decision. What I do understand that if a mother has already had multiple children removed she may feel that she has very little choice.
    What cannot be ignored is that there have been miscarriages of justice over the recent past due to our child centred /state knows best rather than family centred /parents know best culture.
    For any radical system change you need a few rebels, those that say enough is enough and actually do something just as John Hemming and Ian Josephs have. I am not saying their methods are right , they may have done the wrong something. I am saying they are catalysts to the changes to the system, just as this website is .

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Yes Sam, we are going to have to accept our different perspectives on this one. Booker isn’t merely ‘inaccurate’. He choses to write things that are untrue, even when the published judgments of cases are in front of him. He choses to support those who pay people to leave the country – and at least one of those women is now shown to be a convicted paedophile.

      If you think this in any way helps bring miscarriages of justice to the light, you are of course entitled to that opinion.

      Just as I am entitled to think it very wrong indeed. Booker and Hemming have set back the hope of change to the system by several years with their infantile and dangerous posturing.

      1. Melissa

        I’m sorry but none of you know what you are talking about I am a mother now about to lose my son for the risk of future harm I can show you report after report from different professionals stating I’m an excellent mother but because there was domestic violence in the relationship (which I am no longer in) and nothing has happened since my son of 8 months has been born this is grounds to remove my son because of future risk of harm social worker lied in court three times and nothing was said but because I with-held information which is my human right I’m going to have my son taken on Wednesday you people make me feel sick judging and debating on these mens motives they are the only hope us parents have we are victims of a system that IS currupted they state they can’t pay for families to have mediation or therapy but they can pay foster carers up to £700 a week +extra to look after children that can stay at home within their own families I’ve read so many statements from adults that where adopted or fostered and the effects it has caused and countless admissions from ex solicitors judges social workers stating themselves there is curruption going on
        Why is it we parents can’t speak out about what is happening

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I am sorry to say this an I am sorry if it hurts you to hear it – but you are NOT an excellent mother if you are involved in a relationship with a violent man and if your children get exposed to that and people can’t be reassured that things will be different in the future. Being exposed to violence is really really bad for children.

          I know it often feels like punishment for the mother who loses her children in this way and I hope I do have at least some understanding of how difficult these relationships can be to escape. It is not necessarily ‘your fault’ – but your children do need to be protected. They are vulnerable in many more ways than an adult.

        2. Angelo Granda

          Melissa, No matter how many professional reports from no matter how many different professionals there are which state that a mother is an excellent one AND no matter that a mother parts from the perpetrator, some CP professionals will dispute it ; this is because they know you may find your lawyers ignore it preferring to go along with the CS who state you are not an excellent Mum. They will do so without seeing witnesses, your child and without ensuring the CS follow legal guidelines thus corrupting the evidence on which the Court works.
          It is my understanding that in their judgements, the Judge must declare why it is that he or she prefers one set of evidence to the other. In my experience, you are quite correct to complain about an unfair hearing ( in contravention of ECHR [art 6] convention rights). Judges display bias when they ignore the plethora of errors and inconsistencies in the LA submissions and statements etc.; yet they prove they are able to spot inconsistencies when they manage to spot the slightest inconsistency in those of a respondent and cite it as their reason to discount his or her claims.
          You deserve sympathy .Try engaging with your lawyer and instruct them you want to appeal the case on those grounds . Make them submit it to Court . Let us know what they say!

    2. Kazy

      [REDACTED] is himself a paedopile and abused me and many others during his time in [REDACTED], I am happy to bring him to court to serve punishment for his sins against children and The physically handicapped he pretended to be serving. How anyone can listen to his view on abuse is hilarious and sad as little do u know that he himself is the wolf….

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        Sorry Kazy I will have to remove that name as its a serious accusation and I can’t allow it to be published unless you are able to prove that it’s true.

  2. Deb Page

    Sorry but you’ve really just scanned over the top of this haven’t you, where’s the in depth reporting looking for the truth, all you’ve done is written whats been in the papers and really not much more, so are you saying that all parents that have left the UK to keep their children are in some way dangerous or criminals. I beg to differ, have you spoken to any of these parents, have you any idea of what goes on with regards to social services in their adoptive countries, apart from reading a few articles and basing your biased opinion do you really know anything about these cases at all, have you read the trial transcripts for the Marie Black case, do you know anything about her, have you ever bothered to speak to her.
    The sooner people like you learn about how the system really works the better because what you’ve written above is just someone else’s words turned around to suit what you’d like the reader to see. Next time perhaps you’d like to gather more information and really look into some of the cases that you have chosen to mention.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Where on earth have I said that ‘all parents who leave the UK are dangerous or criminals’ ??

      The fact that you complain that I turn someone else’s words around is deliciously ironic.

      Please read again what I wrote and then I can engage with you in useful debate. I can’t respond to something that I never wrote – but you wish I had.

      1. nicky Herron

        well said satah. not all runners are good parents. some do later loose there kids again. ive met sarah and she is trying to change the system.

      2. Lucinda Titchmarsh

        I don’t really understand the frenzy, over one case? Or why anyone is sniping at a journalist? Children’s services, have aided and abetted in thousands of child rape cases, the level of children abused in care is astronomical. Many of whom were removed on some very flimsy grounds. The Marie Black case, is hardly a barometer of truth.
        The laws, and legislation regarding family cases are not being followed. A rouge case in the face of thousands of horror stories from children in care isn’t proof of anything, or grounds to take jibes at people doing their part. Christopher booker is a journalist, it’s his job to highlight corruption, and I don’t believe his articles ever gave details of marie black, on whether innocent or guilty, the article was highlighting. That British people are seeking asylum abroad, because of local government. When migrants seek asylum in the uk, sometimes it turns out they’re not nice people, and can be guilty of crime, it doesn’t change the fact that what they’ve fled from is real

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          The reason I am concerned about Joseph’s activities in the Marie Black case should be obvious.
          He has said in terms that he doesn’t care what she did or didn’t do. He didn’t take any steps to find out. The simple fact that she was involved with the LA was enough.
          It turns out that she is now a convicted paedophile.
          IJ has helped at least 200 other families. How many of those other families contained adults who were similarly dangerous?
          We don’t know because he doesn’t know and he doesn’t care to find out.

          If you don’t understand why that is concerning, I can’t help you understand as such a lack of understanding points to something far beyond what I can assist with.

          As a journalist, Christopher Booker has a professional obligation to be truthful in his reporting. He frequently is not. Interestingly, he remains silent on those cases where it is clear that social workers have behaved appallingly. He seems to wish to concentrate on fictitious and exaggerated cases. I can’t understand why he thinks that this is sensible, helpful or right.

    2. Nicole Fiolet

      I agree. Having been a fleeing mother myself. I am no criminal. Paedophile or whatever else you like to call us desperate mothers… all I suggest here .. in front of this very spiteful patronising and judging article [Redacted as abusive. If you would like to post a comment that is not abusive, I’m happy to post it. If you can’t restrain yourself, you won’t be published here.]

  3. Winston Smith

    This is disgraceful.

    The motivation in the attacks on John Hemming, Ian Josephs and Christopher Booker seems to be nothing is wrong with the Family Court, which those who have been in it would strongly dispute.

    it is like trying to represent people at a 17th century witch trial or before the Holy Inquisition.

    In view of the fact there is a 99.7 % conviction rate of families and SS depts. are allowed to tender the most amazing evidence.

    Given this families have no choice to flee abroad before court orders are made.

    Then there are the unfortunate what used to be called International Incidents with Eastern European governments over attempts to Forced Adopt their nationals’ children whilst working in Britain.

    incredibly British judges have issued court orders for foreign countries when they are clearly outside their jurisdiction , such is the arrogance of British Family Court judges.

    If a case is likely to end in Forced Adoption again the family have no choice but to flee abroad or go back to their country of orgin fast.

    You do not seem to ask why it is that Children’s Pimpernels and Underground Railroads have incredibly emerged is an indication that something is seriously wrong.

    Then there is the Dread Christopher Booker. Unfortunately most of the DCB’s articles are correct, and therefore exposing serious injustice. .

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      My motivation in attacking Hemming, Booker et al is nothing at all to do with trying to say that ‘nothing’ is wrong with the family justice system. Even a casual glance at this website and the articles I have written, show that assertion to be complete nonsense.

      My motivation in attacking Hemming, Booker et all is that they support and encourage people to pay for parents to leave the country without any or any satisfactory checks into their background or the safety of their children.

      One of those women helped to leave has now been convicted as a paedophile rapist.

      You may not think this is shocking. I however do.

      1. Winston Smith

        Iamunable to reply directly because the caseis stillgoing and there is likely to be an appeal.

        However I am very familiar with this type of case from 21-25 years ago when it was in vogue in Britain and America. Problems will arise from repeated questioning of children over a period of time by those with an agenda,

        I can only advise you check these cases and subsequent official reports.

        Under these circumstances I would have to accept there was a revenge motivation by Norfolk SS.

        “Emotional Abuse” is the most abused term in the FC,, you will be accused of it on no evidence and is a favorite ground of taking children into Care.

        Oh yes, secrecy was instituted in the new Family because of the cosmic mega-scandals of the late ’80’s early ’90’s.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          sorry, would you prefer ‘utter complete nonsense’ ?

          Codswallop? Piffle? Tosh?

          Next time I write about Mr Booker, I will be sure to have greater recourse to my thesaurus.

          1. ian josephs

            Sarah, I have already commented in a long piece exposing the fallacies of your “arguments”.However ,I NO pregnant mother deserves to face the vultures who prey on them by seizing their babies at birth for risk of emotional abuse and persuading compliant judges to rubberstamp their applications to give these babies away to complete strangers for forced adoption.
            I am proud that when the hospital abroad reports to local social services these mothers find for the most part kind and welcoming social workers in France,Ireland,Belgium,Spain,and N;Cyprus unlike the arrogant childsnatchers they endured in the UK.
            I finance only pregnant mothers who prove to me that they are threatened with forced adoption;a crime Sarah in which it appears Sarah that you may even be complicit yourself ! Shame on you…………………

          2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            I think you might be replying to a comment of mine which I deleted when I realised you had in fact provided a longer comment about your own activities.

            I am not aware that you have exposed the ‘fallacies’ of my arguments.

            My argument is that it is both dangerous and stupid to give people money to leave the country when a) they have or will shortly have responsibility for the care of vulnerable children and b) you ‘don’t care’ what if any risk they pose to those children.

            Please do help me understand what is ‘fallacious’ about this argument. Seems pretty sound to me.

          3. Anonymous

            Even if Marie Black was a pedophile (I’m not going to get into the whole debate of whether or not she was or wasn’t) there was no evidence of this when Ian or anyone else offered her help and support. The accusations made against her by social workers had nothing to do with her sexually molesting children and there were no prior convictions that would raise suspicion.

          4. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            There is no debate. She has a criminal conviction. And her appeal against it failed. She was convicted of more than 20 sexual offences against children. I am quite prepared to believe that Josephs knew nothing about the investigations then brewing into her behaviour. And that is precisely the point. He doesn’t bother to undertake any kind of risk assessment, he doesn’t care, he is dangerous and irresponsible.

        2. Melissa

          Regardless of what these idiots say about you ,you give hope to thousands of families don’t stop the good work you do

          1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            Really? thousands? How do you calculate this?

            And how is this balanced against at least 50 cases I have seen where his influence has been extremely unhelpful for the family – and of course the child.

  4. eugene lukjanenko

    why argue?why not to open family courts? On my case my council is absolutely paranoic of not being disclosed if they are so sure they are tight, why not to disclose themself?

    Open family courts, like in any other European Country and parents perhaps will not flee as much as they do

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I agree with you. There urgently needs to be more transparency. The lack of openness provides a breeding ground for the dangerous nonsense of Booker to flourish. This has to stop.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I think I have said rather more than simply that.

          which part of ‘dangerous nonsense’ do you not accept?

          1. ian josephs

            :-MR JUSTICE MOSTYN said”PARA 35. The proposition of the merits of adoption is advanced almost as a truism but if it is a truism it is interesting to speculate why only three out of 28 European Union countries allow forced or non-consensual adoption. One might ask: why are we so out of step with the rest of Europe? One might have thought if it was obvious that forced adoption was the gold standard the rest of Europe would have hastened to have adopted it. The relevance of this aspect of the case is surely obvious.”
            ii.Link –
            He has the right idea I think !

  5. eugene lukjanenko

    orders on different countries?? I was threatened with jail just for the mere wish not to surrender Dutch passport of my son to so called child solicitor. Why such a zest to get passport of my son? again and again they called Dutch embassy… I brought passport there… not in jail lol,but they cannot accept that ss will not get Dutch passport of my son. Arrogance? Stupidity as well. o I can write tons

  6. louise bevan

    i have been jailed for speaking out about the miscaridge of justice my family have suffered through these corrupt courts
    i continue for the return of my family that were so wrongly stolen for profit our lives have been ruined forever

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I am sorry if you have been imprisoned for talking about your case. I think people should be able to talk about their case. Its the only way we are going to be able to understand what really went on and whether there was a miscarriage of justice or a parent who lacks insight/understanding into their own problems.

  7. Sam

    Yes greater transparency please . Also where I find Ian Joseph’s a bit blinkered is that he doesn’t do psychobabble. Any parent that has been through even one removal is going to be traumatised, which unless they get help will impact on their future parenting ability. I have seen this pattern emerge where parents have been bereaved of a previous child and the parenting is either over anxious , or detached or a mixture of both. I am not criticising ,I am just saying look at situations realistically not through rose coloured spectacles I wish I had the foresight to see it years ago.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      but the flip side of ‘calling a spade a spade’ and not doing ‘psychobabble’ is that he appears utterly unable to accept that emotional abuse exists and that children should be protected from it. As I spend much of my working life trying to pick up the pieces for adults who are now utterly broken by the abuse they received as children, you can imagine this grates on me a little.

      I completely agree however that too many people with too little understanding are rushing to ‘diagnose’ parents with emotional problems which are not actually linked to their parenting.

      1. ian josephs

        I never said emotional abuse does not exist.I have said and still do say that “RISK “of emotional abuse does not exist in real terms and can never justify the snatching of a baby at birth from its mother.That act in iself is flagrnt emotional abuse of the baby !

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          If something exists, then the RISK of that something happening must also exist.

          1. ian josephs

            Sarah Phillimore has a Crystal ball and claims to prophecy disastrous futures for the unfortunate mothers whose babies she helps to abduct ! If any reader wants to know the future I would recommend consulting an old gypsy in a tent who earns her living making prédictions rather than the very amateur efforts of Sarah Phillimore and her social worker pals who thrive on taking babies at birth from the mothers who love them and beg in vain for a chance to bring them up ;

          2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            As I look into my crystal ball I can predict that if one gives money to 200 people to leave the country without caring what it is they have done or might be capable of doing, it is highly likely that some of those people are going to turn out to be very dangerous indeed and you have just given them money to allow them to escape scrutiny and put their children at risk.

            As would appear to be have been proven by the recent conviction of Marie Black for serious child sex offences.

          3. ian josephs

            Might as well arrest you Sarah if you look into the window of a jeweller’s shop because there is a risk that you might steal something ! Snatching children for risks that may never happen is absurd especially risk of emotional abuse because every single one of us will suffer emotional abuse from someone else (and vice versa) at sometime in our lives;Who can predict emotional abuse?certainly not social workers and lawyers even with tarot cards and Crystal balls !

          4. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            Let me suggest this example. I have previous convictions for stealing from jeweller’s shops. I am unrepentant and say I wanted the diamonds because they look so pretty. Six months after my release I am found outside a jeweller’s shop at 3am with a large brick in my pocket.

            do you think the shop owner has a right to be worried about the risk I pose?

            Your constant assertion that children are ‘snatched’ from loving homes for no reason is untrue and very damaging for the vulnerable and desperate to hear.

          5. ian josephs

            You cannot see or touch a risk it is an opinion and all in the mind;Different minds would assess risk in different ways and risk can no more be defined than when you say someone is a nice person.Nice to you perhaps but not to others so that it can never be an excuse to confiscate babies at birth to give them to strangers.

          6. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            Yes. But opinions based on clear evidence of past behaviour are well informed and valid opinions.

            If someone is an alcoholic, is there a risk they will drink tomorrow?
            If someone is a drug addict, is there a risk they will take drugs tomorrow?
            If someone has neglected their children yesterday, is there a risk they will neglect tomorrow?

      2. ian josephs

        Is Baroness Hale (a supreme court judge) wrong too .Quote from Lisburn trust case
        The United Kingdom is unusual amongst members of the Council of Europe in permitting the total severance of family ties without parental consent. (Professor Triseliotis thought that only Portugal and perhaps one other European country allowed this.) It is, of course, the most draconian interference with family life possible.
        Forced adoption = an adoption contested vainly in the court by parent(s) and not one of the 200 odd families I have helped over a period of around 12 years lost their children to adoption in the countries to which they fled so as to avoid that fate in uk.

        1. Sarah Phillimore

          Yes. She is also wrong. Every European Country permits adoption without parental consent. Please read the post in my earlier comment.

          1. ian josephs

            Well I invented the phrase “forced adoption” about 12 years ago and so named my site defining it as adoption forced through despite opposition in the courts by parents.I have not heard of forced (contested) adoptions in the countries you mention and I suppose adoptions of abandoned children or children of parents who are indifferent to the adoption may happen but in the UK we have large numbers of contested adoptions where parents are literally forced to give up their babies and young children to strangers by an unfeeling State.
            Lastly your example Sarah outside the jewellers shop is a good one because the worst that could happen to you would be arrest for “loitering with intent” which would be a police matter and hardly the concern of the shop owner .Nothing the terrible equivalent of adoption could be levelled at you .
            There should be no punishment without crime.As a lawyer you should appreciate that laws are there to keep order and people who break them are punished;It makes no sense to tell the citizens “break the law and we punish you but do not break the law and we will still punish you by arranging the forcible adoption of your children by strangers !

          2. Anonymous

            “Every European country permits adoption without parental consent”. You make this as a blanket statement. Yes it’s true but not every European country does this completely based on subjective hearsay ‘evidence’ and perception of ‘future risk’. We are at a point now where a social worker and a family court can literally separate any child in the country from his or her parents. I am however going to point out the fact that the UK child protection industry copied it’s model from Israel and the USA, where exactly the same nonsense exists.

          3. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            I don’t agree with your assertion. From my experience, it is simply not true. No case is ‘completely’ based on ‘subjective hearsay’ – what does this even mean? or future risk. Hearsay is not excluded from family cases but it cannot determine them. Future risk has to be based on findings about what has actually happened in the past.

    2. ian josephs

      Not sure what you mean about me not doing psychobabble Sam ! I really do not think I need a shrink !
      If you mean those shysters the court use to rubbish families;well Professor Jane Ireland did a survey for the goverment on court experts and found that 20% had no qualifications and most were what she called hired guns who had no outside patients but just testified in court that parents were unfit because of non existent ills such as borderline personality disorders so that adoptions would go ahead and satisfied social workers would recommend them again to get thousand of pounds for writing negative reports about perfectly normal parents who were naturally very upset when their children were taken !
      I have nothing against mentoring by people as long as they are not employed by the State or by social services! I give free legal advice myself to more than 1000 parents per year but I DO THIS ALONE AS ANY PARTNER MIGHT GIVE DIFFERENT ADVICE TO ME AND WHOEVER WAS WRONG WOULD GETBLAMED ;I STAND ALONE THEREFORE HELPING PREGNANT MUMS TO ESCAPE TO MORE CIVILISED COUNTRIES AND NOBODY CAN TELL ME SUCH MOTHERS ARE MORE OF A RISK IN France OR Ireland THAN THEY WERE IN UK SO WHY NOT HAVE CONFIDENCE IN SOCIAL WORKERS ABROAD,,? Excuse capitals but I forgot to change back and cannot bother to retype !

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        But you don’t stand alone do you? You are supported and encouraged now and have been for many years by Christopher Booker and John Hemming. Presumably also by Brendan Fleming who seems to have a professional advantage by his association with you as it gives him access to a number of parent clients.

  8. ian josephs

    Sarah Phillimore is fond of adjectives,”stupid,innaccurate, wrong” but never backs them up with any evidence. She castigates me for helping pregnant mothers escape the uk criminals who steal their babies to feed the billion £ adoption and fostering industries.
    Forced adoption (against the will of parents expressed in court) is a wicked crime against humanity and the perpetrators should be jailed.I finance pregnant mothers to help them escape the horror of having their babies confiscated at birth for “risk of emotional abuse”.That is always always wrong and needs no research to justify such help. When these mothers have their babies in Ireland,France,Spain, or N.Cyprus inevitably social services of those countries are called by the hospital but time and again mothers have reported back to me how kind and helpful the social services in those countries turn out to be in contrast with the unpleasant and aggressive babysnatchers they met in the UK. I break no laws by helping mothers and I am happy to finance these ladies so they can escape these uk babysnatchers whilst Sarah P makes money persecuting these mothers in court! Who actually cares for them then?
    True a British High Court Judge forced social workers who had taken baby Luna from Marie Black in France for “care” in UK to return utterly humiliated to France to return [name redacted] to her mother and father. You_haven’t heard the last of this they said and sure enough her remaining kids were brainwashed for six months in care before accusations were made by them.
    268 “alterations” were made to official court documents according to a police witness who confirmed that the purpose was “to remove any leading questions to the children” and to also remove anything that might incriminate the carers .The court hearing was postponed for 6 months as a result and there is still an ongoing police enquiry into all this but the perpetrator was never called to give evidence !
    Inevitably Marie was in my opinion “fitted up” by her own counsel who decided not to question any of the children at all and who told an unwilling Marie ( unlike the other nine defendants ) not to give any evidence herself to deny the allegations ! If I had been on the jury knowing nothing of previous events I would have thought “well she does not deny anything in person and her counsel does not even question the kids so she must be guilty !” Poor Marie ! She herself said to the judge after the “guilty” verdict that she was stitched up and I believe her own counsel (maybe with ambitions to be a judge herself) did actually stitch up her own client to curry favour with the establishment.
    So the paedophile ring of ten was reduced to poor Marie (gagged by her own counsel) and her two exes who had never met each other before the proceedings ! Sad,sad,sad but at least baby [name redacted] is safe in France with her father supported and encouraged by the wonderful social services in France !

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Sarah Phillimore is fond of adjectives,”stupid,innaccurate, wrong” but never backs them up with any evidence Everything I say is backed up with evidence. Mr Booker has been stupid, inaccurate and wrong on times too numerous to set out exhaustively, but I have given sufficient examples in this post to prove my point.

      If Marie Black’s conviction is unsafe, then I hope it is speedily overturned. If is safe, I am glad she is locked up and children are safe from her.

      But her guilt or innocence has nothing to do with your disgraceful actions in continuing to give parents money to leave the country when you have said, in terms, that you ‘do not care’ what they have done.

      1. ian josephs

        Sarah says “Sarah Phillimore is fond of adjectives,”stupid,innaccurate, wrong” but never backs them up with any evidence Everything I say is backed up with evidence. Mr Booker has been stupid, inaccurate and wrong on times too numerous to set out exhaustively, but I have given sufficient examples in this post to prove my point. –

        Still plenty of adjectives and still hot air with no evidence whatever !

      2. ian josephs

        I have never helped a fugitive from justice escape . I have never broken any laws in financing pregnant mothers so they can find refuge in more civilised places. If they had broken any laws they would have been charged with an offence or convicted of one .On the contrary it is social workers who do not care what really brutal mothers do.They took the children of baby p’s mother to see her in jail (she now lives a new life under a new name at huge public expense) but they helped to ensure that Vicky Haigh got sentenced to 3 years jail by a hostile judge for talking to her own daughter in defiance of a brutal court order forbidding her any contact.. I later encouraged a pregnant Vicky to escape to France where she gave birth to her new lovely daughter now 3 years old and she is now established once again as a racehorse trainer in maison Lafitte.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          How do you KNOW that these parents pose no risk when you say you ‘don’t care’ what they have done.
          What follow up do you have? What procedures have you got in place to be informed about what happens once they are gone? Do you just wait to hear from them about their ‘happy endings’.
          Can you tell me with confidence what has happened to the children of the 200 families you gave money to?

          1. ian josephs

            Sarah you are obseessed with “risk” ! No mother desrves to have her baby removed for mere risk of something that may never happen.If she has broken no laws the crime is with those who snatch her baby not her.
            We are all at risk in this life but few of us can predict the future with any certainty and definitely not social workers or family court judges;
            A huge risk to a child is to be put in care according to stats showing how many end up in prison or as prostitutes or both !
            Adoption cuts a child off not only from parents but from siblings,grandparents,aunts,uncles,cousins,and friends ! How cruel can you get?
            If a mother has been neither charged with or convicted of a crime against children talk of being a her being a risk is futile.
            None of the families I helped escape the uk had their children adopted in the foreign countries they escaped to (they would have told me loud and clear !)
            I have never heard of contested adoptions in France,Ireland,Spain,Belgium, or N.Cyprus (our chosen countries of refuge).Maybe some adoptions are carried out without consent from parents who are not to be found or who do not give consent but do not object in the courts though even these must be very rare.
            Finally it cannot be wrong to help pregnant mothers exchange harsh uk social services for more enlightened ones in France and other countries.When mothers give birth abroad the hospital always notifies the social services of the new country so where is the harm in that?

          2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            I don’t disagree with you that ‘risk of future harm’ are the most difficult of all cases – they are also amongst the rarest. The vast majority of cases I deal with encompass ACTUAL neglect and/or violence which has often been going on for years.

            If a mother has been neither charged with or convicted of a crime against children talk of being a her being a risk is futile.
            what about this example; a mother has had 3 previous children. All taken into care due to neglect. She shows no insight into her parenting. She is pregnant with her fourth. She has not been convicted of any crime. But she says she has done nothing wrong and she is not going to change. What would you recommend we do about her fourth baby? Just leave the child in her care until he or she is harmed by the mother’s parenting? I think that is what you do recommend isn’t it? that a child should suffer a documented physical injury before removal is permitted?
            I think you have helped to shine a light on injustices in the family system in some areas so I have to give you recognition for that. But I am afraid I think the negative impact of your continued campaigning in this manner far, far outweighs any good you have done. I have had a number of clients now who would have kept their children if they could have worked with Children’s Services – but they listened to you, took your ‘advice’ not to co-operate and now their children are gone.

          3. ian josephs

            Most of the families settled happily in the countries of their choice helped after giving birth by friendly helpful social workers there to assist not legally steal children.

          4. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            ‘Most’? so some didn’t? How many and what were the reasons they didn’t ‘settle’? What happened to their children? What records do you keep?

          5. ian josephs

            There is no reason why a pregnant uk mother who chooses to give birth in Ireland for example should pose more of a risk there than she did (if indeed she ever did) in the UK. As I said before the ss from the UK soon track down fugitive mothers and make false promises that they can keep their babies if they return to uk and a few who believed them lost their babies as soon as they landed back in Britain ! These mothers do not vanish into thin air abroad ,they jus tescape forced adoption and usually keep their babies after engaging with helpful foreign social workers.

    2. Anonymous

      I have to disagree with the advice of telling parents that Ireland is this safe haven for parents. It may have been a sensible choice a decade ago but now it’s like jumping from the frying pan and into the fire. I have witnessed the child and family agency and Irish district court judges at work. Even most high court judges nowadays are biased. I have friends in Ireland who took this advice and lost their children over shoddy hearsay evidence. Ireland also now permits adoption without parental consent. The Irish authorities are completely complicit in assisting the UK. I have seen many children who have never set foot in the UK sent there under a Brussels II of the Hague convention. There are a legal team assisting parents who flee to Ireland but they charge upwards of £20,000. If you have that type of money you are better off gaining residence in a former Soviet country. Said legal team are also very selective about which cases they take on to ensure they win cases and gain a decent reputation. Not to mention the paying of ‘lay advocates’. I’m sure that encouraging parents to flee to Ireland is big business for a lot of people. I know you mean very well Ian and I appreciate you standing for this cause but you and many others supporting this cause need to stop encouraging persecuted families to go to Ireland. I understand that many families don’t have passports and leave things until the last minute and that Ireland may be their only hope but I can’t help but feel that the dangers over there are underplayed. I always advise parents to be prepared early on and I explain to them that Ireland is very hit and miss. The only advantage that exists in Ireland over the UK is timescales in care proceedings. Even this doesn’t always mean much as care proceedings can be transferred, even ones concerning a child that has never set foot in the UK and the Irish courts are just as petty as the UK ones nowadays. I have just witnessed a family I know recently succumb to a full care order after years of fighting and they never harmed their children.

  9. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    Read the post. I have cited many examples in support of my conclusions that Mr Booker is to truth and accuracy in reporting as Eric Pickles is to synchronised swimming.

    Do you not accept the criticisms of a judge as pretty clear evidence? If not, who would provide you with good enough evidence?

    1. ian josephs

      Judge Bellamy lauched a stinging criticism of Booker for understating the injuries to a child whose parents were before him.I was a McKenzie friend of the mother and was pleased to point out to the embarassed judge that he had in fact quoted from my site “forced adoption” where I had printed a draft version of Booker’s column on a Friday two days before a more accurate version was published on Sunday in the Telegraph by which time the doctor’s findings were known. I was flattered when he read out my golden rules to the court and even in those hallowed precints I felt that more people there agreed with them than the contrary !Booker’s column was 100% accurate and both the judge who quoted from my site and Sarah Phillimore were as usual quite wrong ! I pointed this out at the time in Telegraph comments and elsewhere without contradiction even from those whose views were opposite to mine. .

    2. ian josephs

      This was my comment on the human rights site you mention earlier and of course nobody could dispute the sorry truth it exposed !

      IAN JOSEPHS | May 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm

      Judge Bellamy has made such a hash of this case that I wonder how he ever passed law school let alone became a judge !The only FACTUAL criticism he makes of the “Booker Article” is that judge Bellamy claims that Booker wrote that the mother was alerted to the need to take their son to the doctor because of slight bruising when in true fact it was a floppy arm.
      Well in the Telegraph Mr Booker did write exactly that !! The judge took his information not from the Telegraph but from my website on which was printed a draft the day BEFORE the paper was printed and that was afterwards corrected !I

    3. ian josephs

      My campaigning is not negative taken overall as I suggest obvious reforms that would stop the injustices.
      Your example Sarah of the mother whose previous children were taken for “neglect” dépends if the neglect was criminal (in which case they may have been rightly taken,or it was not in which case they should never have been taken from the mother and certainly neither should her new baby. When you use phrases such as “she showed no insight into her parenting” you sound rather like those bossy social workers who believe only their insight is valid when in fact we all have different insights into parenting for example ,a traveller might think in a completely different way from you about parenting but still be a good parent. Facists and Communists may have what we believe to be most undesirable ideals but should not lose children for that reason alone;Lastly continuous shouting between parents is said to be emotional abuse and children are often removed for this reason yet if this principle was applied in Italy not a single family in the country would keep their kids because they all scream at each other but look after their old people better and the family unit is probably stronger there than in the UK;

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        So you confirm that ONLY cases which result in a criminal conviction should lead to removal of children?

        in fact we all have different insights into parenting for example ,a traveller might think in a completely different way from you about parenting but still be a good parent.
        I agree. But a parent who beats, starves, neglects or otherwise abuses their child is not a good parent according to the laws of this land, whether or not they want to argue that their behaviour is culturally sanctioned. The law intervenes when children are at risk of significant harm. This is not about cultural differences in approaches to child rearing.

        Lastly continuous shouting between parents is said to be emotional abuse and children are often removed for this reason – Do you accept that children who grow up exposed to their parents shouting and screaming at each other or worse, are going to suffer serious consequences to their emotional health? I am not talking about an argument here or there – we have all been exposed to that – but daily, constant, shouting, screaming, swearing etc, often leading to physical fights.

        Do you really think it is ok to leave a child in that kind of situation?

        Have you ever bothered to speak to adults who grew up in that situation and wished that someone had helped get them out of it?

        1. ian josephs

          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 !

  10. Sam

    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 al 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.

  11. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    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?

    1. John Smith

      While I may disagree with Sarah on money being the most important thing, it does play a significant role. Using balance of probabilities it is clear that people who are low income earners and/or foreign especially Eastern European/African/Middle Eastern make up the vast majority of these unfortunate cases. This would appear to draw the conclusion that they seem to have a much more likely overall predisposition towards child abuse.

      The law is the same for the rich and the poor alike. Legal aid in these cases are non means tested giving them legal reps to help them. If there were some great injustice the CoA would have addressed it.

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        I don’t agree with that. Child abuse is not restricted to those being of low income or who are not of English origin. The low income families are more prevalent in care proceedings because they face more challenges and are more vulnerable because of their poverty.

        The law is not the same for the rich and the poor alike – the poor have less access to it, particularly as legal aid continues to be withdrawn. Parents may get non means non merits tested public funding for the care proceedings but they will NOT get help with any legal actions subsequent to that such as applying to discharge the care order or appealing.

        I am not willing to swap one poorly reasoned, unevidenced theory for another. If you have got the statistics to back up these assertions, please provide them or withdraw.

  12. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    I think these two comments are worthy of a separate post and I will write it now.

  13. Pingback: An open letter to Ian Josephs | Child Protection Resource

  14. Pingback: Censorship and the protection of commercial interests – the woeful state of our debate about protecting children. | Child Protection Resource

  15. TotallyConfused

    You have forgotten a person: Brian Rothery. I worked with him for over 8 years. He was a lovely, intelligent and articulate man of principle. Then, Hemming, Josephs, McKenzie and Sabine got their claws into him; I warned him they were dangerous and in my view ‘nuts’. I was cast aside within 24 hours having spent thousands of my own hours and a few thousand of my own money to help the cause that he and I had worked on for years. I don’t know what power these manipulative people have over him, but it seems to be huge. TC

    1. Amber

      Totally Confused- I worked with Hemming & was treated appallingly. JFF gave wrong advice & breached confidentiality many times. They seem to have the view that parents can do what they want as children are they ‘property’. It was only months ago I had a client contact me state they were terrified with their case, went on youtube and took Hemmings advice (treated as he was then an MP) to flee. Lost children because of JFF advice.

    2. ian josephs

      What a strange accusation to make “totally confused” ! I have no claws at all ! Brian Rothery approached me years ago ;not vice versa and we still work together with never a cross word for nearly ten years of cooperation. It is not a very constructive argumen to say that I and others are dangerous or nuts !
      Ihave never taken a penny from anyone asking formy advice or help and I reckon that the others you mention could probably say the same. Pehaps you spnt your “thousand of pounds” on bent lawyers??

  16. angelo granda

    Ian,Take advice from one of my other posts.Don’t bother responding to wayout allegations and insults.
    It’s pointless and you should know by now they will keep coming.
    Just ignore all criticism and remain silent.(Take a leaf out of the CS book in that respect.
    I think your actions speak for you. Why bother defending yourself or others who call you dangerous and nuts anonymously.
    That is actually what happens often in care proceedings.False and outrageous allegations are made against parents apparently by people who prefer to remain anonymous on many occasions.They will often not be called to give evidence in court.The respondent. Naturally stands up in disgust and says to the Judge “These allegations are absolute,bleeping rubbish with no bleeping truth in them whatsoever”.
    Result,the Local Authority says the parent will not accept concerns ,won’t work with sw’s, has an self-evident anger-management problem and personality issues and rests its case!
    Please note, I proffer this advice to you but I reserve my own opinion about you because I don’t know enough about you to comment.

  17. ian josephs

    Extract from my site to say who I am angelo !

    WHO AM I ? You may well ask…..

    Who are you dealing with? and What do I do? You may wish to know……..

    I am not a solicitor or barrister but I do have a law degree from Oxford University.I am a business man owning and running two language teaching companies :- and (See for yourself!)

    I was born in London in 1932,I now live in Monaco, and have been happily married to my second wife( who is french) since 1971 ,I have 7 children and 11 grandchildren .I still ski,(badly!) and work harder now than when I was 20!

    Unlike most who fight them,I and my family have NEVER been troubled personally by UK social services even when we lived in Kent .Eventually ,we left UK to live and work in Monaco in 1984.However I always detested the arrogant brutality that UK social services showed to those least able to defend themselves.

    It all began in 1962. I was on Kent County Council and was asked for help by a mother whose son had, she said had been wrongly taken from her by social workers and put in a very expensive private school (owned by a senior Kent Councillor)where he was paid to sleep with teachers !The authorities tried to “hush the matter up” but after a widely publicised court hearing the boy was successfuly returned home and I was asked by other parents to deal with similar problems .I therefore applied in the courts for discharge of care orders against my own council for many such parents and never lost a case.

    Unfortunately I spent so much time on these cases that my language school deteriorated and my first marriage broke up when my first wife departed leaving me with two young children and a fading business to take care of ! I then stopped helping parents and concentrated on my business and my second marriage . Both proved successful ! (Happily married since 1971 with Danielle and 5 children together!)

    It was in 2003 that the Meadows cot death scandals and adoptions without parental consent exploded into the news and I wrote to the Daily Mail saying things seemed worse in 2003 than they were in the 60s when I was helping parents. I got nearly 50 letters from desperate parents.The law had changed so that I could no longer speak for parents in court,there was also forced adoption, court secrecy,and gagging orders, so I set up my site “forced-adoption”,(a phrase I made up to describe the very worst feature of the uk family courts). I now help bereft parents with advice and help in more than 1000 cases per year…………

  18. angelo granda

    Thanks for the information.You have had quite a career.
    As far as helping parents leave the jurisdiction is concerned,it is such a shame that ,in the 21st century,parents should feel it necessary.
    The Law appears to say that ‘forced adoption’ should only take place very,very rarely as a last resort when nothing else will do etc.etc. Clearly,it should not happen except in the most serious cases of abuse.

    Do they have civil family courts abroad which can order forced adoption? Or do they prosecute serious abusers properly in a criminal court?

  19. Pingback: The woeful state of our debate about child protection, Part II | Child Protection Resource

  20. Pingback: The woeful state of our debate Part VI: 8 questions to ask family judges. | Child Protection Resource

  21. Pingback: Why do I worry about John Hemming? | Child Protection Resource

      1. Angelo Granda

        Sarah,you asked Ian above if he would consider making a donation to assist the work of the transparency project.

        You say funding is a big issue. Regarding last years CPR conference,i understand that you , personally, had to underwrite losses ,costs etc. This cannot be right.

        I would be quite prepared to donate £3 p.wk. to the CPR by direct debit if you can establish a charity,perhaps. Then you can make an appeal on the site as do the FRG . I think many will donate.

        Of course, many more would not donate for differing reasons.Only a few would.But my donation will add up over a year and even if only two or three others did ,you will soon build up a surplus, i hope ,which can be used to formulate and bring test- cases or to finance committee work.

        We have to be more constructive! Once you have set up the CPR as an official charitable organisation ( it already is in essence) , you can e- mail contributors and appeal to them. You could appoint a voluntary fund-raiser who could appeal to businesses like Ian’s and also write an application to the lottery fund.

        Please discuss. All comments welcome.You may already thought of it ,i suppose. If so,what are your reasons for bearing the cost yourself?

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          Thanks – I have been thinking of the idea of a ‘donate’ button for some time – I haven’t applied for charitable status as I have seen from what we had to do with the Transparency Project that it takes up an enormous amount of time to draft the application and then places a lot of responsibility on trustees. So it seems like an enormous effort and one I am not sure I have time for now.

          But it is kind to offer to donate – even a small amount would be great. I will think about it some more.

          Fortunately, the total loss I had to underwrite for the conference last year was relatively small – about £300 – because almost all the speakers very kindly did not claim their travel expenses and I had some donations from other professional colleagues.

          I agree that we need to be constructive. That is why at the next conference we will be discussing that we come together to start a Community Interest Company (CIC).

          This will be with aim of a)providing training for social workers to avoid the kind of issues that you have often referred to and
          b) set up nationwide parent advocacy scheme – train parents to help support other parents through these proceedings
          c) Map what is going on locally in terms of support for families so we can develop on line directory of what is available

          That may make more sense than the CPR setting itself up as a small charity with limited reach.

          My frustration with the likes of Hemming/Josephs is that they both claim to be independently wealthy men. Setting up a small pilot scheme for parent advocates would not be very expensive and could do an enormous amount of good. But they are not interested and would prefer to put their money and energy into very negative and frankly ludicrous campaigning about bogus conspiracies.

          I will post later more detail about the practical aims of the conference – it would be great if you were able to participate in some way. If you wish to make a donation, the TP project is a registered charity and is open to donations, so that would be good place to start.

  22. Angelo Granda

    Unfortunately,in my opinion, having read some of the Transparency project, it seems to comprise too much hot -air between lawyers ,sw’s etc. For example, they discussed the other day ‘what does ‘forced’ mean when we refer to forced adoption? Parents know what it means!

    Also, i will not normally go on Twitter which i find a very confusing facility like facebook which does not seem compatible with my aging home computer.

    Also .as you know,i am mostly interested in appeals and test cases in past injustices. For example, a test case about Article 3 or Article 6 or 8. I want to achieve some sort of justice for those children and parents ‘huing out to dry’.

    Just as i believe the LA’s have templates to remove children permanently,i think lawyers should devise templates to stop them. Points should be made at ICO hearings and at ICO renewals as cases progress . Also that a winning template for permission for appeal applications should be devised in cases which have been wrongly conducted. Also one for out-of-time appeals where procedural errors have occurred or when false statements or perjury can be proved following complaints investigations.

    Nothing is promised to anyone on the CPR ,but i would like professionals to consider automatic appeals etc.etc. So ,i wouldn’t mind donating to the CPR.

    I think this resource ( which has adopted a very sensible domain name,wide -ranging and open to all) should grab a place as the leader in spreading opinion and ideas for reform.It is led by a professional and read by other professionals too ,some of whom might be persuaded to pack up their own sites and amalgamate.

    I hope you don’t object to these suggestions particularly to my view of the TP.

    Might i suggest you arrange for work on the charity application to be done by the legal centre at the university.It would be good practice for them.

    Anyway , discuss it with others at the conference.Where is it to be held?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I think you are very wrong to dismiss the TP as ‘hot air’ between lawyers. In the past 12 months we have produced a guide on the law to recording interactions with parents and professionals which has challenged the unlawful policies of two local authorities; we have produced a guide on section 20 accommodation and one of our members spent about 5 days working for free to enable a journalist to report on care proceedings. So its rather more than ‘hot air’ and its people working for nothing to try and do something positive.

      The conference is in Birmingham on June 3rd. Details are here.

      I would also like to see the range and influence of this site increase but probably the best way to achieve that is by joining forces with others rather than trying to push forward as essentially just one person who also has to work at a paying job at the same time.

      1. Angelo Granda

        I agree it isn’t ‘hot air’ to professionals ,it is useful work.
        However, it is to me . I am an amateur and don’t find it interesting .perhaps because it is banal to me.

        Keep up the good work .I don’t know a lot about tweets but i understand one has to say things in a limited number of characters. I am too long-winded with my own hot air for it.

  23. Pingback: ‘Veteran of all McKenzie friends’ helped convicted child rapist keep her baby | HOAXTEAD RESEARCH

  24. Tom Dobbie

    This history is full of hot air in all directions.
    It is like watching a species of idiots.
    Opinions, opinions, opinions…..smoke and mirrors…
    Claim and counter claim ….
    I became involved in this ugly mess in 2010. In the beginning, i thought i was talking to and interfacing with decent professional people. The more the authorities got involved, the more bizarre and criminal their behaviour.
    I am still trying to expose the truth about all of this, and those criminals at the top of the mess are going to great lengths to gag my children and me.
    It is only when you try exposing this industrial scale child abuse caused by social services and the family court system, that you experience the long gnarled strangling hands available to those in lower. To say it is an exceedingly one sided abuse is grossly understating things.
    However, having used myself as bait yet again, we will be going to the Crown Court in a criminal public trial. This time, with improvements forcing much more of the hard evidence showing the breadth and depth of this evil system to the public.
    As a consultant physicist with years of global experience at ceo level, I am too used to plans, strategies, projects, audits etc. So, I am preparing QUANTIFIED as well as QUALIFIED arguments based on hard evidence .
    THE conclusion is to scrap a system that is not only not fit for purpose, but ruins far more lives than if simply nothing existed in place of social services and the family courts.
    The current system injects despair and anxiety and mental damage into society on a horrific scale that is so bad, I had to invent a new unit to quantify the effect of abuses.
    I have a website with one case that is a horror story – that of my children and me. The public face to the website is mostly redacted evidence.
    There is a special unlinked subset that has raw data showing how social workers, cafcass, barristers , family court judge, police all accepted to cover up child rape, child sexual abuses, child abuses and a whole pile of crimes – all to protect their own organisations.
    There were over 26 social workers across this organisation that knew of the abuses and the cover up, and they all kept silent.
    Much more still to happen here that will take an entire local authority and put quite a few of them in jail.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I hope, if what you say is true, that your case will be heard in an open criminal court and thus the public will have access. I have no difficulty at all in hoping that any who operate outside the law are found and punished.

      I am however confused by what you say at the very beginning of your comment. I do not offer ‘opinion’ in this post. I offer facts.

  25. ConstantlyWoken

    Why bother defending yourself or others who call you dangerous and nuts anonymously.
    That is actually what happens often in care proceedings.False and outrageous allegations are made against parents apparently by people who prefer to remain anonymous on many occasions.They will often not be called to give evidence in court.The respondent. Naturally stands up in disgust and says to the Judge “These allegations are absolute,bleeping rubbish with no bleeping truth in them whatsoever”.
    Result,the Local Authority says the parent will not accept concerns ,won’t work with sw’s, has an self-evident anger-management problem and personality issues and rests its case!

    I agree Angelo Granda, it is hard to defend yourself against people that use such language anonymously. I tend to ignore those things and people that have no direct impact on my being. As for the same process being used in care proceedings, I agree also. I say this because I can add to the many one sided stories from parents , so called by Sarah P, that the same thing you speak of has happened to me. The only difference is it is not at the care proceedings stage yet but it seems the LA SS are trying their damndest to create a case to take it in that direction and if I don’t comply with their demands, these very tactics you have mentioned will be used as they have been used already at this stage and I have questioned and challenged all the way, to no avail because they play like they are concerned with my point of view, but actually it is just a tick box process to validate that they have done what is expected and not actually taking on board what is being said. _
    The things that have been written about me and my family by the professionals, at first glance makes us seem like the scum of the earth, and I have challenged them to be told it’s not SS job to validate what is said in police reports, but yet that info is still being used as fact. distorted reports being used as fact, and they are trying every way possible to validate those reports by making me go through processes. SW has said that I have come off medication for depression without my doctors concent, in her report, which is a lie. I went to my GP feeling stressed because of problems at work and feeling victimised and bullied and the first and only thing he done was prescribed me with anti depressants. I took the full course and never went back. Now because of the SW statement , obtaining a statement from my GP which he replied in a generic form stating although he does not know me well he thinks I should seek support services and because I am tearful at times they want me to undergo psychological assessments I feel in an attempt to further obtain reports against my mental capacity and there is nothing wrong with my mental health.

    We are here engaging in back and forth scripted debate, asking for facts, calling out the discrepancies and some disguising opinions as facts, yet facts get misrepresented or even lost in the battle of words we exchange.

    I always have said it is just as easy to write lies as it is to speak them. The written one’s can hold more than verbal in a court.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I don’t recognise this description of a family court hearing. Evidence has to be challenged. The person making the accusation needs to be in court. That is why I often end up cross examining police officers, doctors, teachers etc. If parents don’t accept allegations they must say so. They must demand that the person making the allegation prove it. That is the law.

      If you think the police reports are wrong; you must challenge them. No, it isn’t the SW job to ‘validate’ police reports – how could they? they act on the information received. If that information is wrong, it must be challenged.

      If you are sufficiently depressed to need anti depressants and your GP thinks you would benefit from support, then yes, you do have a problem with your mental health. That doesn’t mean you are ‘scum’ or can’t be a good parent. But it does suggest you need help and it might be better to take the help that is offered than divert your energies into fighting that opinion.

      1. Angelo Granda

        In reality if one challenges evidence against one, right or wrong ,it will be held against one in court. It will be said the respondent will not accept concerns etc. etc. and that their heads probably need testing.
        Best to keep quiet and cooperate. Ask any Children’s Legal Panel lawyer! Does anyone recognise this description of proceedings?

        Sometimes barristers actually agree with one and agree something is untrue but then leave it saying it is not protocol to question the evidence of a guardian or an expert. Does anyone recognise that description of what goes on?

        I know it sounds daft, but sometimes I suspect the whole hearing is a bit of a show as if the lawyers have conferred beforehand and already know what the outcome is going to be. Why make things difficult especially when the Judge is constantly carping about his schedules and reminding barristers of the need to keep arguments short? Any one recognise that description?

      2. Angelo Granda

        Sarah, If you don’t mind me giving advice to lawyers( you ,personally probably don’t need it) they should make sure they question the right Police Officers in court.Make sure the ones who have conducted the full investigation including the grilling of parents are called to give evidence because they are in possession of all the facts.
        L.A. lawyers sometimes tend to call only those frontline officers who have noted down reports of allegations and first impressions made on-the-spot .These notes are made in the context of reasons for suspicion requiring further investigation and proof.They are not FACTS!

        1. helensparkles

          I am interested in how many family court cases you have attended/been involved in Angelo and that comment gives me more cause to ask.

          Police officers are not often called as witnesses in my experience, they submit written evidence in the form of a police report. It is quite clear in those reports whether allegations have been made, retracted, substantiated and if prosecutions/convictions resulted. It also isn’t often that those facts are disputed, that generally happens when the police have not been called, and witnesses give a different account of events.

          Sarah does have more experience of being in court than I do, so would be interested to know what her experience is.

          1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            It is very rare for police officers to be called. I have cross examined the police on a handful of occasions when there was serious dispute about the accuracy of notes. But generally, the police are perceived as having no axe to grind and neutral. Calling a serving police officer to give evidence is clearly a serious matter and the court won’t sanction it unless its really crucial. Police notes are ‘evidence’ – what the notes say may require more scrutiny and an appreciation of context but they are clearly relevant evidence.

            Much of my police evidence is simply logs of calls made complaining about violence etc, or criminal records. These pretty much speak for themselves and there would be very little point in challenging them.

          2. Angelo Granda

            Sarah, From my experience in a s47 investigation, the SW’s will not investigate when serious allegations have been made, they will pass the task on to Police. The
            Police investigate all the facts and may well clear a parent of all allegations for lack of evidence of wrongdoing , THEY MAY find allegations are entirely unrealistic and false. One would imagine that the CS would have a duty to report it to court but no, they just put the false allegations themselves without commenting they were known to be false and then because there was no other real conclusive evidence ,they called for the original PWIN reports which detailed the allegations and then because these were inconclusive too, they called the officers who had made the PWIN reports to attend court where they replied to leading questions (in my view) based on their own opinions but without any forensic certainty. I don’t believe that would carry much weight in a normal court but every little bit put on the balance in a family court affects the decision . Had the investigating been called they could have given the true facts but, of course, the respondent solicitors did not think of that.
            Helen, I can’t tell you how many cases I have attended because I’ve lost count but clearly not a fraction of those you or Sarah have been to. It doesn’t matter. My point is that when procedures are not followed and when the truth is not tested rigidly, then the system is OPEN TO ABUSE. Even if 99% of cases are conducted correctly, the system is abusable! (if that is a real word).
            I say that if the possibility of abuse exists and even when found out the Court turns a blind eye, we may as well do away with the court altogether and let the LA’s do what they want. It would be a lot cheaper too! I know you deplore abuse of the system just as I do and I have said countless times how much I admire SW’s who conduct cases correctly. I accept your opinion that not many are guilty of abuse but I also accept that of parents who describe it so clearly . I have guessed about fifty – fifty.

          3. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            It is not my experience that SW just pass the task onto the police. That is because SW and police have overlapping but very different roles. The police are there to prevent crime and arrest criminals. The SW in child protection teams are there to protect children. So regardless of what the police are doing, the SW will need to conduct their own investigation and decide what they need to do to protect a child.

            Of course, if the allegation is a really serious criminal one – such as rape of a child – the SW team would not duplicate the work of the police. They wouldn’t interview suspects for purposes of providing evidence at a criminal trial. Very often, child protection cases rely on evidence from the police but that isn’t the same as just turning a matter over to the police wholesale.

          4. Angelo Granda

            Whether I know what the correct process is or not is irrelevant. I am not trying to describe the correct process. I am describing some facts as to how a S47 was conducted in one case. I believe it was not conducted fairly.
            If you believe it was o.k. not to report to court that the allegations were investigated and found to be false ,say so.

          5. helensparkles

            I am asking about how much you know because you constantly say the correct procedures are not followed, but you don’t know what they are. It doesn’t give me confidence when you criticise procedural matters in other contexts.

            Of course I don’t think false allegations should be reported as true, but they are often more complex than that, and can be damaging in themselves. You just need to look at the Barnet case to know that.

          6. Angelo Granda

            Helen, thanks for your interest and replies, I have copies of official sheets explaining when and how S47 enquiries should be conducted. All you need to know is that sometimes they are not conducted correctly and I don’t think even you will deny that. I know the one I am talking about wasn’t because a qualified barrister told me so .There were several reasons which I don’t want to bore you with and the barrister deemed it wrong the way the SW gave the false evidence in her core assessment without pointing out they had been found false on enquiry even though she knew it full well. Assessments are supposed to be impartial and a SW is meant to give all evidence contra-indicative of removal as well as that supporting the LA case. That is common law ( see judgments from McFarlane )
            It also says in a letter from the Director of Social Services to MP that when the CS initiate a child protection conference or a pre-proceedings meeting that they should wait until all the facts and circumstances of a case have been subjected to enquiry first. I should imagine that in a case where the CS decides it cannot wait until the outcome of the Police enquiry, it would be reasonable for SW’s to at least talk to the parents and ask them for their account of the circumstances, wouldn’t you?
            Please forgive me if I make any technical errors, as you know I write as an ordinary parent not a professional.

          7. helensparkles

            There are timescales for CP conferences so they are often held before investigations are concluded but the police attend and update.

            I will absolutely deny that I have any experience of a S47 enquiry being followed incorrectly. I would say if I had but I haven’t. That computer you hate so much doesn’t let anyone do it wrong!

            You appear to have an example of evidence being given poorly, not an S47 procedure being carried out incorrectly. The strategy meeting decides if it is a single or joint agency investigation, based on roles and responsibilities.

          8. Angelo Granda

            Thanks Sarah, You appear to agree with me that, in a s47 investigation, the CS should carry out some sort of investigation of facts ( alongside the Police enquiry if on-going).It would be reckless for a SW to put evidence on oath before ascertaining whether it was true. I think they should and I think they would have to talk to the family concerned and ask relevant questions. The parents should be allowed to give their account of the case circumstances and reply to any allegations.
            Sarah, I think it would be reasonable for them to at least talk to parents! However , it is up to them, they are allowed to do as they wish. Their true crime would be to issue a statement to court saying under oath that a core -assessment ,parenting-assessment , care-plan or whatever had been compiled after full involvement and consultation with the parents. That would mislead the Judge into thinking that fair, impartial professional enquiries had been conducted in accord with the law.
            Yet the SW may not have even talked with either parent and asked questions of them. You say you check that statements are true or false. I don’t think most lawyers bother. They just take such false statements of fact at face-value and if a parent complains, they ignore it and accept the SW’s word.
            The SW’s know they should consult parents , that’s why they always say in the statements that they have. My advice to lawyers would be to pay attention more and ask the CS to give times and dates plus records of what was said at these consultations. If none can be produced, then would that be perjury or just simply perverting justice or neither? Do you bother checking statements like that or do you just take their statements for granted?

          9. Angelo Granda

            It is the over-arching priority of the Police (PPD) involved in a child-protection enquiry to ‘protect’ the child/children involved. I have seen this stated by the Police PPD itself in a letter to an MP.
            It is false ideology that the social workers are responsible for ‘protecting’ children. They do not have the power nor the brief to do so. The task of the CS when it receives a referral is to carry out full, impartial and independent enquiries into the circumstances of each case and then to report what they find to a child-protection conference ,court etc.
            We should not put so much emphasis and onus on the poor SW’s. They cannot protect the children. It is up to those with power. The Police and the Courts.

          10. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            SW have extensive statutory powers to safeguard children, subject to the approval of the court. Child protection is NOT the primary role of the police.

          11. helensparkles

            Are you familiar with ABE Angelo? There isn’t a choice for SW it is about roles & responsibilities & that is decided in a strategy meeting.

            Not sure why you think SW have no role in protecting children, children come off child protection plans without going near a court or police investigation because children are protected, as the result of SW intervention. Nothing poor about that.

          12. Angelo Granda

            Yes, Helen, I am fully aware of ABE procedures and how strict the procedures are. A friend of mine and I examined them closely and it quickly became clear to us that the correct procedures had been abused by SW’s ; you see, many of them are badly trained and managed. You can always rely on them to get many basics wrong and, as usual, they did. There are supposed to be specially trained personnel doing the interviews especially with vulnerable children.
            Armed with the knowledge of how interviews should be conducted, my friend had the evidence thrown out and the case was dropped.
            I respect your loyalty to fellows, Helen, but I suspect that like many of your colleagues and many legals, you are stricken with a mild case of the Hillsborough disease.
            Perhaps without realising it, I don’t know, you talk the language of denial even down to attempting to belittle the knowledge of ordinary parents. I have said many times that parents are not idiots, we know that our cases have been conducted incorrectly and we know that evidence is untrue and there are so many of us. It is no use continuing to deny the undeniable.
            I don’t really think you,personally, have a leg to stand on following all your honest revelations on other threads. You told us how you take information from computer databases and will present it as evidence to court without any attempt to vouch for its truth and you told us how much of the data is just ‘intelligence’ provided to you by Police which has not and cannot be vouched for. You should always check out the facts scrupulously before giving evidence to court. It is reckless not to. Courts respect and trust SW’s and they do sometimes abuse it.
            Instead of bickering about statistics and denying that sometimes procedures are abused ( even you know they are sometimes) the CP professionals should accept it and work proactively to devise a system which cannot be abused.
            Perhaps a full list of procedures should be given to all SW’s before each case with boxes to be ticked as and when they are performed.
            I suggest the first one should be, call the parents to the office and ask for their account of circumstances. Do not rely on allegations and Police ‘intelligence’ reports.
            All other suggestions welcome.

          13. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            I present evidence to the court all the time that I haven’t ‘checked’. Are you seriously suggesting I should go – for example – to a hospital ward and interview all the medical staff to make sure they filled in their notes correctly? If parents want to challenge the evidence presented in court, that is why they have non means, non merits tested public funding for their own legal representation.

          14. helensparkles

            I am absolutely confused by your comment. I was making a comment about joint vs single agency S47 enquires.

            Otherwise what I have actually done is talk to you about the way
            information is shared, and how it is used, including checking it with families. Putting your own slant on that only makes you look like you are putting your own slant on that.

            You don’t have any respect for me and you shouldn’t have any respect for blind loyalty, I don’t either have it or respect it.

            No idea why you think any of what I’ve said is bickering or belittling but you can carry on talking to yourself here. Absolutely pointless me being here, and if that makes you happy that you’ve seen me off, it’s a bit of a pyric victory.

          15. Angelo Granda

            No,Sarah, it is not their primary role but it is their over-arching priority in child-protection cases involving alleged domestic violence etc. The CS don’t have the power to protect children. They have no power. They must either seek help from the Police or the courts. They can instigate safeguards by convening a CP process ,conferences etc. but their primary role is to provide support to families and services. The CP conference makes its appraisals partly on the CS reports that’s all. That’s why they should be impartial and carried out scrupulously.
            I know I’m repeating myself but as I have said I am going by official information letters from the D of SS to an MP. It explains the CS role in detail and particularly explains the CS inability to act as it does not have the authority. You wouldn’t have thought it ,the way they lay the law down and pass out commands, would you?
            Of course I don’t believe it necessary for lawyers to check all hospital reports; they aren’t medically qualified to do so anyway which is another reason for wrong appraisals being made. However ,if a SW claims to have fully involved a parent in a core-assessment or care-plan and the parent tells you that no SW has spoken to her about either, who would you believe? Who would the Judge believe? If the SW claims to have offered help and support to a family and that the family have refused it and will not work with professionals when they have not refused because it hasn’t been offered. Who would the Judge believe?
            I can tell you, the Judge would ‘prefer’ the professional evidence. Yet it would be false evidence presented under oath.

  26. ConstantlyWoken

    We as modern humans incorporated in society tend to over complicate things with the constant bickering from left to right and it goes nowhere and quite frankly it gives me a headache and in my opinion can cause and create the very disorders in people that are used to describe characteristics of mental illnesses. The stress of the whole whole SS process is detrimental for families.

    But again what is my opinion worth as I have no degree of professionalism, so I have no sort of qualifications t actually know what I am talking about. A notion that is held to high esteem by many.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Your opinion is worth the facts it is based upon. Nothing more, nothing less. Professionals don’t have ‘superior’ opinions just because they are professionals – but because usually we can trust them to have the knowledge and experience that helps others make a decision. That’s why you go to a doctor if you are ill, not your next door neighbour. Doesn’t mean the doctor is inherently superior in every way – he/she just knows more about how to help you if you ill than someone unqualified.

      1. Anonymous

        Anyone with C GCSE grades can become a social worker. That’s what makes the job so attractive and why business is booming. Social workers are not particularly intelligent or talented people. They essentially earn a middle class income for writing subjective reports and visiting people’s homes. The job and the qualifications are not academically difficult.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          Great. Then why don’t all the people moaning about them, train and get a job and turn the profession around? If its so ‘easy’. Which I don’t accept. I know many people now training as social workers. It is difficult and demanding training. For a good reason.

  27. Angelo Granda

    Helen. I have several times I respect your comments and information and that I welcome discussing issues with you. Why don’t you listen to parents instead of ignoring them. I have said I empathise with SW’s and realise the toughness of their job etc.etc. What more respect can I show? Everyone makes mistakes ,we all do and we have to grant some grace to SWs . Or perhaps you think I am ‘disguised compliance’ ?
    I can even believe you never do anything wrong but can’t you just accept that many SW’s abuse the system.
    How would you render the system impossible to abuse? I know we can’t make it impossible but we can try?

    1. helensparkles

      I don’t need your respect Angelo. I mention it because you say you do respect SW but everything else you say indicates you don’t. I do listen but you can’t hold both positions, they are incompatible.

      I don’t know what you being disguised compliance would mean, that doesn’t make any sense.

    2. helensparkles

      I’ve already responded to your comments about checking accounts with families, which SW do routinely. I also explained to you really carefully how information is used, shared, & stored, I take my lead from your response to that. Which is a shame.

      That and your other comments prove how pointless it is for me to engage with you. If I ‘don’t have a leg to stand on’, am subject to ‘Hillsborough disease’, unable to ‘deny the undeniable’ or that even I know about abuse etc. What exactly would be the point in engaging with you on any other subject. There isn’t one.

      I suggest you read stat guidance on SW roles so you understand exactly what they do and what the police do and what powers lie where. You may not like it but it is all there and some of what you don’t like is SW following that, all of SW is framed by the law. Which takes me back to lobbying those who create law.

  28. Angelo Granda

    I thought I had explained that I am ‘middle of the road’ having seen both sides of the coin. Same concerns of the same family examined by two different authorities with two quite opposite outcomes. So I can hold both positions that is why I believe when you say you act correctly at all times. So did the first LA. alas, not the second.
    Anyway, what measures would you introduce to count out any possibility of abuse?

    1. helensparkles

      Two outcomes at two different times (only one LA would be the case holder at any given time) isn’t unusual.

  29. Robert Brain

    Hi in need of help in the right direction my partner is 4 month’s pregnant on child number 7 this is our first baby together.All other 6 children have been taken from her by social services in which I can’t understand as she is a fantastic person and a loving mother.Dont want to lose this one to them. Ty.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      The first and most essential thing is that you must understand the reasons why six other children have been removed. This won’t have been done lightly and this will not have been done to meet targets to take children.

      The court has made these orders so the court obviously agreed it was the right thing to do. You may disagree and you may be able to argue that with some help and support, baby number 7 should stay with you – but you can’t do anything unless you can understand what has been going on.

      Does your partner have any of the paperwork about the previous court proceedings? Is there anyone in the LA who is prepared to sit down with you and help you understand what has happened? Are there any advocacy services you can use? If the LA decide to issue court proceedings you and your partner will get legal aid to instruct a lawyer and I think it is really, really important that you do. You need to find a lawyer you can talk to and who will take the time to explain things to you.

      1. Ashley walls Aka Poptart

        I need help it’s long and I’m very wore out confused and stressed and at Mt point all alone in this I just need someone to help or advice opinion if it’s to tell me you disagree with me or you think I’m over reacting I rather not hear it please though my children are all I have and I am lost in this world a family who has forgotten me and a daughter who I was made to believe would be with me to and my son taken at 4 months over nothing but me having to move more than one time and not having family he didn’t know a soul but me never was sick or sad and he has been kept from me I’ve had foster parents yell and make hostile verbal threats at me taken my son without allowed me to know where or why I’m being punished by them not letting me Even so much as text any more cause the foster man has a issue of not liking me so I have to write questions to ask of him and they hide him at doctor appointment s I’m told I don’t matter and that it doesn’t make a difference anything I say or do or prove he is gonna be with the foster parents whether I approve or not. Laughed at denied any type of information I requested my lawyer said he didn’t have time to speak to me at court please I have a Phoen for today only 2568680209 anyone please I’m not sure how much I have left to deal with this

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I am sorry to read this, you do indeed sound worn out.
          i am sorry your lawyer won’t speak to you, he is the person you really need to speak to as he will be able to explain what is going on. Please try and make contact with your lawyer again. Say it is very important that he make time to speak to you as you don’t understand what is going on and you are confused and upset.
          If your lawyer will not speak to you, say you want to speak to whoever is in charge of his firm and complain.
          No one else reading this can help you as no one else will understand what is going on in your case.

          Or you could ring the Family Rights Group? its a free number.

          I hope you can get some answers.

      2. Anonymous

        “This won’t have been done lightly”. What is your personal definition of lightly? There are social workers who think it’s a big deal to dress your child in clothes from a charity shop. There are social workers who make ridiculous accusations that children are inadequately fed when said children are neither underweight nor malnourished upon physical examination. There are social workers who are not happy because a child spends too much time watching things on an ipad, or because parents squabble with one another about petty things. Family court judges buy this nonsense and agree to permenant family separation over such matters. Yes, these are real examples of things I have seen written on social work reports and court documents. We have gotten to a point where children’s services and family courts can remove children from essentially any home they desire. If they want to find something they will. They actually have that sort of power.

        Of course it wouldn’t be at all beneficial to them to remove every child in the country and redistribute them to government approved ‘adopters’ and ‘foster carers’, but the fact of the matter is is that they could separate any family that they desire. I say this very objectively.

        The fact that there are no longer government targets for adoption doesn’t mean that child ‘safeguarding’ and fostering and adoption are not big business. Child protection, fostering and adoption are huge and there are a lot of people making a lot of money out of the tax payer for doing jobs that require little skill or talent. The whole industry is creating very simple job positions on a mass scale that pay a middle class income. Those at the top are actually substantially wealthy.

        Every point you make is simply invalid.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          Right back at you ‘anonymous’. At least I use my real name.

          The points you make are not accepted by me. Every single case I have ever been involved in over 20 years has involved allegations that go far beyond the petty trivialities that you mention. I am not quite sure what is going on with all these cases where children are simply stolen on a whim, but I have never seen them.

          1. i the man made in God's Image

            Sarah. First of all you try to attack Anonymous’s person by attempting to trump their most valid points…

            [REDACTED Guess what? This is my website. I run it. I pay for it. So I don’t post nonsense from anonymous people with made up names.
            You want me to publish what you say, cut down the insults, the conspiracy theories or have the courage to post in your own name. Or of course, set up, run and pay for your own website where you can comment to your heart’s content]

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  32. Anonymous

    Parents leave the UK because there is simply no rhyme or reason in the world of children’s services. They cannot be trusted to tell the truth and they are irrational and unfair. A judge that can actually think independently is a grave exception. Children’s services and their ilk virtually rule the family courts. They have unlimited power in the majority of situations. I have very long winded experience and let me tell you, leaving the jurisdiction to avoid care proceedings is the intelligent thing to do. Just don’t go to Ireland, you will be jumping from the frying pan and into the fire. I don’t support the fact that families are being lead there only to face the same sort of injustice that they would if they had stayed put. Ireland may have been a safer bet more than a decade ago but now it’s virtually the same as the UK in terms of child ‘safeguarding’. Ireland has even recently legislated contested adoptions. Parents have managed to avoid proceedings by paying top notch lawyers but I know of the legal team in question and I know of parents to recieve legal bills for £20,000. If you have that sort of money you are better off moving to the former Republic of yugoslavia where child ‘safeguarding’ hasn’t quite yet become a wicked cult, although the UN are doing everything they can to try and change this.


    What families suffer in public family law proceedings and in terms of child ‘safeguarding’ is simply persecution. Parents fleeing the country are noneother than refugees. As for some cases of parents being a possible, genuine danger, that’s not a valid point to raise. Simply because the cult of ‘safeguarding’ has completely watered down any meaning of the word ‘danger’ and children’s services are even less trustworthy than those they often propose to remove children from. If you see a report and a parent says it’s all lies, and you have on one page something about burnt toast and a spilt glass of water, what is any rational person going to think?

    I have read many a blog post on this site and I have to say my current judgement of you is not a positive one.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Happily for me, the negative comments of someone who posts anonymously mean absolutely nothing to me. If you have faith in what you argue, then why are you anonymous? I have redacted a lot of your comment as its the same tedious old comparisons with Nazis etc which I will no longer permit on this site.

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