Mind your language – whats the problem with ‘disclosure’?

There has been a great deal of talk recently about police investigations which start from a premise of ‘believing’ the ‘victim’ and a great deal of reasonable concern about what happens to those investigations if they begin from the premise that the ‘victim’ is telling the truth.

See for example the independent review carried out by Sir Richard Henriques in October 2016 of the Met’s investigations into ‘non-recent sexual abuse allegations against persons of public prominence’ . He is clear that use of the word ‘victim’ to describe a complainant at the outset of an investigation should cease. This terminology arose out of the stated policy of the College of Policing in 2016 that when someone makes an allegation of crime, “the police should believe the account given”.

As the review makes clear – this is a nonsense. To begin an investigation from a starting point of ‘belief’ is to corrupt the investigative process itself. How can any investigation that follows a commitment to ‘believe’ a ‘victim’ be carried out fearlessly and impartially? A botched investigation into serious allegations has very significant consequences for not merely the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator but for society as a whole.

The impact of ‘I believe’ on family cases

It is clear the the culture of ‘I believe’ is not confined to criminal investigations but still operating in family cases. The consequences here are no less severe, as while family cases may not involve a loss of liberty they often involve what many would perceive as a far worse punishment – the loss of one’s children.

An interesting Twitter conversation was started by David Burrows on February 1st 2018, responding to a request to complete a survey for the NSCPCC to ‘inform a new resource to help professionals deal with disclosure’. David pointed out that it was shame the word ‘disclosure’ was used in this context, given the lessons we all should have learned by now from history.


Paragraph 33 of the judgment in AS v TH (False Allegations of Abuse) (Rev 1) [2016] EWHC 532 (Fam) (11 March 2016) says this:

  I have in this case heard extensive evidence from those professionals to whom the children made allegations and from those professionals who subsequently assessed the children and/or investigated those allegations (I pause to note that despite the fact that the use of the term “disclosure” to describe a statement or allegation of abuse made by a child has been deprecated since the Cleveland Report due to it precluding the notion that the abuse might not have occurred (see para 12.34(1)), every professional who gave evidence in this case (except the Children’s Guardian) used the term “disclosure” to describe what the children had said to them).

Those of us old enough to dimly remember the Cleveland and Orkneys scandals of 1987 and 1991 respectively, can remember the horrible consequences of pursuing allegations of sexual abuse from a starting point of ‘well, they MUST be true” – children sobbing in interviews, being told they would be allowed to go ‘when you tell us what daddy did to you’.

But the twitter conversation was a sobering reminder for me that I am a lot older than I care to remember – these events are now nearly 30 years old and for the new generation of social workers are now part of history. We weren’t even sure if it now formed part of the social work training

This is concerning on so many levels. What does ‘disclosure’ mean?  It is ‘the act of making new or secret information known’ . To call allegations or comments by a child ‘disclosure’ means you start the investigation from a perspective of ‘belief’ – exactly the position decried in the Henriques report.

And are children any safer because of this? Quite the reverse. Botched investigations in family cases risk allowing dangerous adults remaining as carers for vulnerable children and/or innocent adults being found as a matter of fact on the balance of probabilities. that they are a child abuser.  Either way, the truth of a child’s experience becomes obscured when interviews of a child become no more than a forum for getting the child to repeat ‘the truth’,  rather than an opportunity to test the credibility of what is alleged. Children, just like adults, can be subject to outside pressure, can get confused, make mistakes, exaggerate  – or even outright lie. Children are more susceptible than most adults to pressure from an interviewer and often have more of a desire to ‘please’ their interrogator by saying what they believe the adult wants to hear. See for example with regard to children’s suggestibility,  the work of Professor Ceci.

It seems that use of ‘disclosure’ to describe allegations is a persistent and serious problem.

I considered further the judgment in AS v TH:



David throws down the gauntlet – time to grapple with this issue?


All of us who are involved in investigations of abuse against children will have horror stories to tell of the botched ABE interview, the assumptions that were made at the very outset of investigations that set the course of proceedings very badly awry. It is high time that we tackled firmly any approach to any investigation that commences on a subjective assessment of ‘belief’. Because – if your investigator can ‘believe’ you – they can also ‘disbelieve’ you. The dangers are apparent. Children rely on us to keep them safe. And to be kept safe they need efficient and effective investigation into the behaviour of adults who have hurt them.

As Judi Evans put it

45 thoughts on “Mind your language – whats the problem with ‘disclosure’?

  1. David BURROWS

    Many thanks Sarah. This ‘disclosure’ thing is not just dressing. As MacDonald J fears, it is at the root of attitudes to children interviews and the damage it can cause, as you say. Cleveland Ch 12 is very clear. It is entitled ‘Listening to the Child’ and summarises the evidence of a number of the child psychiatrists who gave evidence to the inquiry in 1987 (over 390 years ago). The purpose of the interview must be ‘to hear what the child has to say’ (§12.12) where the child is of sufficient ‘age and understanding’ (§12.10). The interviewer must use open questions (§§12.24; 12.34.4) and understand that there may be a variety of reasons why the child is speaking or is not willing to: (1) the abuse has occurred; (2) the child does not want to speak or is in denial; or (3) the abuse has not occurred (§12.25). Interviewers must have an open mind (§12.34.3: which makes the term ‘disclosure’ such bad practice). Those conducting interviews must be trained (§12.34.2&11).

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      thank you for starting off a necessary conversation! I am still seeing, in 2018, cases pushed off course by poor investigation at the outset. As Henriques also commented – this goes way beyond terminology. To call someone a ‘victim’ or an allegation a ‘disclosure’ at the very beginning, sets your ship on course for somewhere you might not want to sail to.

      But are you really saying the Cleveland Inquiry was 390 years ago?!? i am older than I thought!

  2. looked_after_child

    I see a clash in cultures as much as anything.
    The NSPCC particularly wrap themselves ‘in the flag of child protection’ . They see themselves as protectors and no-one else can be trusted with this, or so it seems. There are two problems with this – they need to raise cash ( so they sensationalise and simplify ) and they also drive national policy and guidance.

    They also seem very good at collecting info and very bad at analysing it – eg Childline information seems to be mainly sensationalised statements? I can say hand on heart their policy people knew nothing a year ago about neurodisabilities and they had no interest in learning. They also seem to have no interest in any form institutional neglect or abuse. ( a very uncomfortable subject for all children’s charities I’m guessing). A number of charities have become brands and in pursuit of growing and keeping the brand strong they have lost sight of the ethics involved.

    To be honest I think this really should be challenged at every level because this approach is harmful to children.

  3. looked_after_child

    I could not then and cannot still get my head around the fact they could’ent see the need to make a connection between disability and child protection – their thinking just seemed so liner – they’ve drawn the lines and everything ‘ child protection’ related must fit within the lines they’ve drawn. -that is why they are very comfortable using this parent blaming language.

    Sorry for letting off steam on this but….

  4. looked_after_child

    …SocialWorkTutor and his legion of followers did not occur in a vacuum – they are a product of organisations like the NSPCC who are relentlessly negative about parents. There seem to be no boundaries at all to the use of this kind of language and somehow that is in the best interests of children?

    1. EJ

      “relentlessly negative about parents”

      What a greatly apt phrase to describe the attitude that has soaked through the dementedly hysterical safeguarding arena for way too long. All common sense has been lost for a long time, however I do not think it’s accidental, I believe it has been very deliberate from the top down.

  5. Pingback: Listening to children and ‘disclosure’ | dbfamilylaw

  6. looked_after_child

    I would like them to get to grips with human rights – this would be a massive cultural change I think because they come from a very different place of – Me -good, You-bad -I’m the expert, D’ont dare challenge AND KNOW YOUR PLACE.

    1. HelenSparkles

      I can’t stand the NSPCC and their emotive fund raising attempts, there is some good research on their site, but they over simplify child protection and demonise families. They have been treading that path for a while, others may follow and have.

      1. Angelo Granda

        The problem with all organisations of do-gooders e.g. social services,NSPCC,OXFAM is that, whilst they mainly attract angels ,they also draw many with unquenchable machiavellian Instincts and it is the latter types (the donkeys) who rise through the ranks and become the powerful voices and directors of operations.
        I predict that whatever alterations to front line practices they are discussing and researching will end in it being even more easy for them to liquidate families.You could say they go through the motions but avoid the real issues.

  7. looked_after_child

    ……………Child protection social work needs to reject its assigned role of disciplining the poor in the name of child well-being…………..Child protection can do more than the dirty work of neoliberal social hygiene. …
    We ( social workers) need to trust our practice skills. We need to better understand how the big picture of social power and resources pans out in the lives of citizen service users, including the effects of isolation, racism, prejudice, stigma and shame. We can do this by building trust rather than creating fear; by getting close to the lives of people rather than assessing their danger from a distance. This respectful engagement allows insight into the way in which pressures associated with poverty impact upon communication, choices, relationships, resistance and the possibilities for change (Krumer-Nevo, 2017). We need to listen and speak our truth – not somebody else’s clinical language.

    1. looked_after_child

      Language matters a lot to me because if you control the language you control the narrative..It is as simple as that when there such massive power imbalances.
      Health and social care and police do not speak the same language (sw’s have got themselves in no end of difficulties around the language of attachment for example and are still trying to extricate themselves from the attachment swamp and now moving into the trauma swamp as far as I can see..but then I never formed my own institute to promote my views so what would I know.)
      Take this extracted from:-
      Joint Serious Case Review Concerning Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adults with Needs for Care and Support in Newcastle-upon-Tyne David Spicer February 2018

      9.19 Mental Health and Learning Disability
      The cases included victims whose cognitive impairment had been identified previously and others in which no impairment had been identified but was suspected by professionals involved in addressing the exploitation. There were also circumstances in which cognitive difficulties of parents and the impact on their ability to protect had not been considered.

      During the Learning Events discussions identified uncertainty about –

      • Differences between learning disability and learning difficulty and relevance
      • The extent to which either is susceptible to formal diagnosis
      • Whose responsibility it is to assess
      • Education services responsibilities
      • What is the relationship with mental ill-health
      • The meaning and impact of mild, moderate or severe categories
      • Skills to work with impaired victims and when victims are unwilling to engage
      • Handling and distinguishing capacity to decide some things but not others
      • Impact on capacity of drugs and alcohol, abuse and mild cognitive impairment
      • When to expect that impairment will have been identified during childhood
      • Sources of expertise, advice and consultation for practitioners and availability from mental health services or the Community Learning Disability Team

      This is unsurprising. Uncertainty is widespread. NHS Choices explains that learning disability is not the same as learning difficulty or mental illness but “it can be very confusing as the term “learning difficulties” is used by some to cover the whole range of learning disabilities.”
      There is a difference in the language used in the education, health and social care services.
      Learning disability is assessed taking account of a combination of IQ and intellectual and social functioning rather than an absolute diagnosis. Terminology might determine eligibility for services and for benefits.

      Recommendation 1.15
      I recommend that: Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board and Newcastle Safeguarding Adults Board should arrange for guidance to be issued to practitioners on the differences between learning disability and learning difficulties and the relevance for safeguarding judgments and services.

  8. Angelo Granda

    By the use of such terms as disclosure regarding false allegations, malicious referrals and rigged interviews with toddlers and other children all of which occur at a very early stage even before the most basic factual investigations have taken place and checks made with parents, we can see how cases enter cloud -cuckoo land .When they use misleading terms ,this is why I often say that the lawyers and management are very experienced in deceit and why me and others describe the malpractice as disguising opinion and hearsay evidence as fact.
    The interesting post above tells me we are not wrong. Basically very often right from the start ,cases enter the realms of fiction as in Cleveland because they are not bona fide or conducted correctly.
    There are other ones I can think about such as claiming in statements that parents are IN DENIAL. That assumes allegations and reports are forensically correct, confirmed ones when they are not. Parents may have denied them and proven them wrong but the court will be told they are in denial rather than the truth which is that the LA knows allegations are wrong but are in denial themselves.
    So when procedure is flouted and the LA investigate the case is poisoned long before barristers enter the fray. Cases should be thrown out early on . As per the human rights to a fair hearing mentioned just above. This abuse of language is failure to tell the truth. It is dishonest and it is calculated deceit.It is at the root of all that is wrong with the system as David claims( not just dressing). Will it ever trickle down to front-line lawyers? Let’s hope it does now!

  9. Angelo Granda

    Incidentally ,the post talks of victims but very often there is no victim in reality. No-one has complained but concerns have been raised about children and that is all. Nothing amiss has really occurred in a family but the LA sets about family’s solely on the basis of fears of what may have happened in other cases, predication of antecedents, character assessments and so on. The LA is the complainant not the children.

  10. Angelo Granda

    They merely conduct a witch hunt which I have described before as ‘ McCarthyite’ . The terms like denial and disclosure are very, very close to the type of language used in those hearings in America back in the 40’s and 50’s. Check out the transcripts. They accuse people of being ‘culpable’ and ‘guilty’ of talking actions or saying things which aren’t the slightest bit wrong !

  11. looked_after_child

    Same comment in two threads just I think it applies in both – I was recently made aware of this material prepared by adoptive parents.


    It portrays a very ugly picture that all parents of children who enter Care are neglectful and abusive. Nowhere was the point made that children enter Care for lots of reasons often to do with poverty and or illness and the lack of resources to address these.
    I spoke to the chair of an adopters and special guardianship group about it in the interim. She was pretty horrified and would have preferred a film that showed the results of abuse and its impact on a child and family as this is verifiable unlike “virtual reality”.
    Her main point was false narratives just create distrust and this is bad for children.

    Why are there no checks and balances to prevent this happening?

  12. looked_after_child

    ..and you would’ent be able to produce this kind of info about any other group with committing a hate crime, yet if your child enters Care this is what you can expect. Innovation Funding was provided to the organisation that produced this.

  13. Angelo Granda

    Sarah and David, another misleading term to look out for in your day-to-day work is ‘CLEAR EVIDENCE’.
    L.A. lawyers will refer to clear evidence but when you see those two words, examine it closely and you will probably find it is shoddy at best and by no means conclusive.
    Yet the impression given is that the evidence is rock solid.Hope this helps.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Thanks for the tip Angelo, but I do not rely on my opponent to tell me about the strength or otherwise of their evidence. That is a decision for me, after a careful review of all the evidence. That is what my job entails.

  14. Angelo Granda

    But why is it that Police and professionals acting for the LA can access,question and tape interviews with children but parents and respondent lawyers cannot? It seems the gags are only removed from the child once their legal parent leaves the room. Children are not to be interviewed by Police formally without the attendance of his or her parents as a rule. I understand it happens quite regularly under the auspices of the CA.
    Therefore if we want a Judge to make a decision after a careful review of ALL the evidence , surely the parents together with their barrister should also be allowed to see and question children in order to be fair. They would then be able to angle the questions in any way they want the same as professionals. Perhaps ” Do you want to go home to Mum?” or “Do you love your family? or ” Has any one abused you or hurt you in care?” This is what the Judge should want to know but professionals always seem to want to cover the children’s likes and wants up!

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      How on earth can a child be interviewed about allegations of sexual abuse by one or other parent with that parent in the room?!? that makes no sense at all.

      And to say a parent should be allowed to ask ‘do you want to go home to mum’ doesn’t seem very helpful. Most children will say ‘yes’. That doesn’t mean its safe or it should happen.

  15. Angelo Granda

    In Cleveland and many other areas years ago as well as now in the present day ,in many cases there are no allegations of sex abuse by any children ; they are usually made by child-protection professionals only.
    Parents have great concerns about the professional approach to proportionality. If allegations of sex-abuse are made by social workers to Police what do you think they do? They investigate ( if it is made against parents) ! First of all the children will be examined by the Police Doctor for physical signs of sex-abuse. If there aren’t any and there aren’t any concrete accusations by any witness detailing what happened, how, by whom and details of when ( dates) it happened plus if children cannot give any detail, they simply will not press charges or even bother questioning parents on the subject. Please note I know one family who were involved in the eighties and the Police did not interview them formally and just laughed at the allegations.
    Fact, when social workers remove children unlawfully into care ,it is likely they have unlawful aims not legitimate ones as I have pointed out elsewhere. Whether they sexually abuse the children themselves or not ( I do hope that happens rarely) they cause children great and significant emotional harm and trauma.
    Thus, they have to come up with reasons to justify their actions.

    On the contrary,Sarah, parents will say that the children’s wishes and feelings are very important. Especially when respondents have been excluded from investigations, not kept informed ,children have been interviewed behind closed doors etc. and cases are to be heard in ‘secret’ courts. I feel they would expect their lawyer to be arguing that if children want to go home and are quite happy with parents that ,on the balance of probabilities, it is likely to MEAN it is safe and should happen, especially if there is no evidence of parental abuse and when no charges are to be brought.

  16. Angelo Granda

    Another comment on ‘disclosure’ of evidence and LA’s allegedly disguising wrong evidence as fact to help this thread along.

    We know some SW’s spend on some estimates 6o% of their time at their computer consoles and some managers 80%.
    We know from the comments of SW’s also that computer databases , although they contain much non-factual information in the shape of unconfirmed notes, hearsay ,unconfirmed Police intelligence and unqualified opinion none of which is checked for forensic certainty, are taken as an oracle by those preparing evidence . The computer database is their ‘evidence base’.
    ‘If it isn’t on the database, it never occurred’ was a comment which tells us all that these computers should not be regarded as full and complete or accurate and should never be disguised as such.

    However, I find that LA lawyers usually refer to CS notes, files and databases as though they are checked meticulously for accuracy. They will not say ,it is the opinion of the SW or the view of the Guar4dian that blah -blah-blah! They will write ‘ Child-protection files state this , that or the other or Social Work Archives record blah-blah-blah!

    The use of the words ‘archives, recorded, child-protection and files ‘ is misleading in the same way as disclosure as described by the writer of the post above. The evidence is wrongly assumed to be true when it is not by any means certain.

    Another point about the use of computers ,tick- boxes etc. is one which has unwanted consequences in other industries besides child-protection. Summarising and power point programs and so forth which are used to make presentations in what I can only describe as a template form. These programs appear to use templates which are designed for ease of use and appear to give the impression the subject has been fully analysed and accuracy checked when it has not. They are assumed to be fully-comprehensive when they are by no means so. They are merely designed the opinion of the SW making the presentation and put over one view. They also make it quicker for SW’s to follow a template at the cost of completeness and accuracy. For example, the programme will instruct the user to make a few bullet-points for emphasis and brevity and the user will enter three or four. Yet there may be twenty points which should be included ( many of which may be contra-indicative of removal). These templates spewed out by computers tend to mislead disguising codswallop as fact. They give the impression of officialdom with the assumption it is irrefutable.
    Hope this helps.

    1. HelenSparkles

      Not really. Unfortunately or fortunately, computers don’t spew out anything. I have to put it all in.

      & the % of time spent at a computer is usually in the SW’s own time, I will be working all weekend on the admin.

      The SW assessment is the SW assessment but it can be challenged and should be if in court.

    2. looked_after_child

      I’m not sure if this has veered off track but this is a pet hate of mine for lots of reasons.

      At the risk of sounding like the man from Tunbridge Wells – codswallop in, codswollop out, irrespective of how nicely presented – always question, test and sense check . If you do’nt really bad stuff can happen because of cumulative errors if nothing else. I’ve also had the dubious pleasure of having some very naive person rewrite a report I’d prepared because they do not think whoever the reports are for will like the message.
      My response to that is unprintable.

      1. HelenSparkles

        Reports are either good or bad, accurate or inaccurate, there is no such thing as a computer generating them – they are created by humans who are fallible.

    3. Sam

      Angelo You put up a comment on another post recently , which I can’t find now about reports being non existant I think. It sounds like a conspiracy theory; however I know it is not. It is what happens , slapdash practice removing children from their families. What really gets my goat is that the professionals involved , including many judges and lawyers are well aware but argue for and make the orders anyway. A Independent inquiry is needed sooner rather than later.

  17. Angelo Granda

    Sarah,If a so-called ‘disclosure ‘ does not send Police off to somewhere they should not go and indeed if they don’t even bother investigating alleged ‘allegations ‘ made by a child and where no action is taken might we say that it is malpractice for an IRO to put on file and circulate that the child ‘made disclosure of historic sexual nature by his parent or carer’ whilst. Also that the child was seen at hospital for screening (without mentioning the outcome) and that a Police Officer had been allocated the ‘case’ (when there is none).
    These awful people destroy families with these misrepresentations of fact .

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      No ‘might’ about it. ‘disclosure’ means – the secret fact that is made know. Recording what a child says as a ‘disclosure’ is assuming that it is true. It may well be. but if a parent denies it, an allegation cannot be a ‘fact’ unless it is proved in a civil or criminal court. No professional should be writing stuff like that. Those kind of recordings are a dangerous and potential misrepresentation which can harden into ‘fact’ with serious consequences for any further investigations.

      1. Angelo Granda

        Sarah, thanks for your reply. Just for interest, when challenged by the parent,the guilty professional ignored her completely saying the stock-in-trade phrase “it is our job to protect children” and will not change the archive entry. I don’t think Mum has the strength to make another official complaint only to be fobbed off again after months and months of delay.

        QUOTE:I began by explaining how liability worked and what expertise entailed. It was like talking to a twelve year old: UNQUOTE

        looked after child, we all know the feeling.

  18. Angelo Granda

    Sarah ,another term used by LA’s in its files and archives which disguises hearsay and falsehoods as fact which respondent lawyers should look out for. It is calculated to deceive and to lead decision-makers into believing allegations were true. Why? Because it fails to mention investigations and whether the evidence is credible or not.
    A child/children were removed from home AMONGST SEVERE NEGLECT ISSUES.

    Of course all those Children’s Legal Panel Solicitors who also act for Local Authorities are well aware of these deceptions because they are instrumental in drafting them.

  19. Angelo Granda

    It is also true that after a so called ‘fact-finding’ when the Family Court decides that threshold are crossed this still does not mean that any allegations are fact and it is a deceit by the system to call them findings of FACT. The only fact is that the Court has found the threshold crossed after seeing and hearing all the presented evidence. When decisions are taken on the ‘balance of probabilities’ it cannot ever be said with certainty that the allegations are fact at the most it can only be said the allegations are fifty-one per cent likely to be factual. We all know that the system is unfit for purpose and it can be said with reasonable certainty that where due process has not been followed meticulously then the findings are more than 90% likely to be wrong.
    Therefore it is deceitful to state Family Court findings as matters of fact in any future hearings especially when parents apply to discharge care-orders.
    I repeat that David is correct to say that this issue is not just ‘dressing’; it goes to the heart of systemic malpractice and a dysfunctional judicial system.
    All comments welcome as usual.

    1. HelenSparkles

      Except beyond reasonable doubt would not protect children, it would leave them exposed where there isn’t the evidence to meet the burden of proof.

  20. Angelo Granda

    QUOTE: I would like them to get to grips with human rights – this would be a massive cultural change I think because they come from a very different place of – Me -good, You-bad -I’m the expert, D’ont dare challenge AND KNOW YOUR PLACE : UNQUOTE

    Readers, I agree with this quote from looked after child. We really should be absolutely clear about human rights. Professionals ,in particular ,the judiciary have to change their approach . Sarah has produced an excellent post above and David Burrows has expressed his opinion ( with which I agree) .McDonald J is clear also that this sort of twisted approach to evidence goes to the heart of all that is wrong .
    Yet, despite this, professionals will continue to tiptoe around this problem and other such issues and ,as we have seen with others ( e.g. in camera confabs between judge and barristers), correct practice will never trickle down . In my view, each child condemned to the care system or adoption should have the benefit of a full-blown ,legally -funded appeal when family are given the opportunity to have decisions reversed if cases are conducted wrongly. They are entitled to a fair hearing and a proportionate care-plan and they aren’t getting one. Only after a superior court gets involved by exposing dishonest, professional practice will the abusers of our human rights achieve trickle-down.
    Please note my previous comments that when a child’s rights are abused by removal without a court order , for example, when LA’s contrive to obtain a referral and then misinform Police about family background, the next thing they have to do is concoct reasons . In Cleveland and very often nowadays ,they will come up with ‘disclosures’ from children. There was a contribution to this thread not long ago where a fellow told us how his daughter had apparently accused him of raping her everyday for several years. He claimed innocence and ,as in Cleveland, he probably is .
    Were the general Public and a jury allowed to examine the evidence, in many, many cases I suggest it will be found that such accusations:-
    a) generally appear to crop up during care-proceedings . When there is no real evidence to support the LA’s aims , a SW or lawyer will visit a child and hey presto , allegations emerge.
    b) No matter how serious the allegations, there will be no real evidence or prior concern and Police will take no action thus folk are unable to defend themselves in a real court. The only questions asked are during the course of an illegitimate enquiry if they are mentioned to the accused at all. Usually, the disclosure will merely be included in assessments presented to Court and accepted as true.

    It is a shameful inhumanity to destroy families and permanently liquidate them as happens commonly without a fair hearing( art.6) and a proportionate care-plan ( art.8). To get to grips with human rights further, the mental and physical harm and degradation caused not only to the child-victims but to Mums and Dads also are such that , in my view, article 3 is activated because the torture and degradation sanction has not been imposed as a result of legitimate sanctions.

    The child victims ( even when one or other parent are guilty of neglect or violence) suffer immense cruelty because of LA policies. For example, children are brainwashed into a false belief that their parents are dead or that the cannot or will not care for them. ( see recent public enquiries). Whether the virtual reality films of child abuse are used yet ,I don’t know but they probably will be soon. The children are told by SW’s or foster-carers not to talk openly with and trust their parents at contact. They are told untruths. After removal and the initial trauma, they are never allowed any natural contact ( unsupervised without gagging) ever again . Their whole, natural lives are destroyed in a hideous manner. They look forward to contact with their parents , in the hope of rescue, they aren’t permitted to ask questions of parents nor parents of them. They cling to their Mum and beg her to take them home. Because of the inhumane supervision Mum is unable to act naturally and hold them, kiss and cuddle or comfort them as she would normally have done. In fact ,anything she does is slated inhumanely by SW’s and contact workers afterwards which makes her afraid to ever be normal with the children again. The loving relationship which children have with parents is destroyed. If a father has been falsely accused of abuse, he will be frightened of even touching his children or playing with them naturally. Take it from me that when this happens, when little children cling to Mum and Dad, when they ask to go home and when the parents have to refuse without explanation , this comes as a most awful ,violent shock and fist in the face to them. Back to care they go! This is deliberate LA policy.

    To get to grips, we have to be absolutely honest. It is inhumanity . It is happening under the auspices of the state. It is not genocide , as happens in other states ; it is much more complicated than that! We know that all the features common to human rights abuse are present .That is bureaucracy, private interests, discrimination ,targeting, behind-closed-doors decisions, closed courts, no jury etc. etc.
    To be continued.

  21. Angelo Granda

    Judgments often unpublished,due process not always followed,cover-ups,possibility of bias,conflict of interest,discretionary judgment by one judge,very few appeals allowed.It’s all there!

    Yet even now, we can expect professionals to be saying to themselves,although these allegations are wrongly disguised as fact,they just might be true thus to hell with good practice!
    All comments welcome.

  22. Angelo Granda

    These malpractices which go to the heart of the system,what is the malpractice?
    To parents malpractice is an understatement. To them it is serious fraud ,malicious libel and purposely perverting the course of justice so why don’t we all call a spade a spade.
    Yet the use of words (such as disclosure) to disguise allegations as fact is only part of it. The really effective way in which the LA deceives courts is by swearing false evidence under oath. When they do so without investigating fairly and impartially ,following guidelines and procedures scrupulously to enable themselves to arrive at freely available facts then parents will probably call it perjury. Not lawyers, however. The LA rely on the phrase at the end of the oath to get them off that hook and the lawyers swallow it .”To the best of my professional knowledge and belief.”
    A half decent lawyer ,in my view ,would argue strongly that when the CS fails to follow guidelines and procedures in a professional manner then their statements cannot ever be to the best of their professional knowledge and belief thus it is perjury!
    This ‘perjury’ stands together with the fraudulent use of language at the heart of the system.

    QUOTE: It is what happens , slapdash practice removing children from their families. What really gets my goat is that the professionals involved , including many judges and lawyers are well aware but argue for and make the orders anyway: UNQUOTE.
    You are quite right ,Sam, the Judges do make the orders anyway even when they know much LA evidence is wrong. The truth is they care little whether the evidence is wrong or not neither do the LA.

    QUOTE: When I told my solicitor that I was the victim of a malicious accusation from a social worker, and that I could prove it, she told me that unfortunately whatever I could prove did not matter, as she had known judges for over 20 years, and she knew that no judge would ever risk returning my child on the basis of what he (or she) had been told :UNQUOTE

    That quote is from someone who contributed to the resource a couple of years ago. Also ,in an official complaints inquiry i know about ,it was found that evidence was false but , on the advice of lawyers, the independent social worker did not uphold the complaint stating it did not matter that the evidence was false. It does not matter to a Judge whether Social Workers make malicious accusations or not and it does not matter to them whether LA evidence is true or not.The fact that ‘someone thought it might be true’ is enough for them! That was explained by a senior SW to the parent who complained. One comes across this platitude many times in discussion.
    A judge tends to do what he or she considers is in the ‘best interests’ of a child and if there is any reason ( no matter how small ) which can be used to justify the raising of concerns about the child ,that is enough for Judges to exercise their discretion in any way they want .
    Jason’s solicitor told him it did not matter what he could prove and i dare say ,she was saying that with her knowledge of precedent and that particular judge. I think that happens a lot in Family proceedings and that solicitors persuade parents that the best way to fight their case is not to argue or fight the evidence. I have expressed the opinion too that it is futile arguing about the evidence. One should argue one’s case on incorrect process as advised by the Prime Minister’s office.
    It doesn’t matter if one proves every piece of evidence wrong or shaky because once in court the Judge has to look at all the discriminatory predications , antecedents ,specialist reports , opinions etc. and remove children on the spectre of future risk of significant harm.

    As i have written above it is all against article 6 ,in my view. They all no the score but , as with all human beings, professional spirits are strong but the flesh weak when it comes to perjury and suchlike.I hope you understand the system more now ,Sam.

    All comments welcome.

  23. Pingback: Judges don’t need ‘training’ about violence – they need evidence. | Child Protection Resource

  24. ann stuart mbe

    This is unbelievable, i have even contacted the NSPCC about this but they have dismissed the argument stating that well every professional uses it and therefore we should not change it!!! One thing that no one here (as i can see) has mentioned the fact that it discriminates children who are non verbal or have communication needs after all how would they make a disclosure???? a word that is not found in ABE guidance, a word not found in Working together 2018, not found in the Department of Education guidance around safeguarding in schools.. So if it is not found in statutory guidance why do professional continue to use the word? simply because it is easier rather than describe what they heard/ saw that raised the concern.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      That is a great shame. The dangers with using the word ‘disclosure’ are clear.

      1. Angelo Granda

        Good news,i contacted an IRO who used the term ‘disclosure’wrongly quite recently and sent her a link to the subject on this resource including Sarah’s post. She responded positively and promised not to use the term in future. So sometimes the message from Cleveland trickles through.

  25. L Hill

    The argument that ‘Disclosure’ is appropriate, because it helps the child to feel confident and come forwards is a complete nonsense, because the children themselves would have no understanding of that terminology and would never use that word (disclosure) themselves.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I agree. Just refer to ‘what the child said to me’. No need to call it anything other than that.

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