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to not understand why people how have children removed are not charged by the police

(91 Posts)
Bogeyface Mon 31-Mar-14 14:21:53

Can someone explain this to me please?

I know of someone that has recently had a child removed due to neglect and lack of medical care. The child has a life limiting condition and the parents did not attend appointments and didnt get and administer the (free) prescription meds. Their actions have shortened his life, there is no two ways about that.

The other children are being removed but will go to a different foster carer so they will be split up sad This is due to neglect.

I was under the impression that neglecting a child was a criminal offence, so I dont understand why the parents havent been charged with anything. Is that normal? Surely the fact that the childs life will now be significantly shorter as a result of their actions should be punishable?

ikeaismylocal Mon 31-Mar-14 14:31:34

Are there underlying issues like drug/alcohol addiction or mh issues that could have explained why they were unable to look after their children properly?

What a sad situation sad

Bogeyface Mon 31-Mar-14 14:33:54

Father gambles every last penny, mother more interested in him than the kids, from what I can gather there are no other issues.

I just dont understand how neglectful parents are not charged with a criminal offence unless a child actually dies or is physically assaulted. Long term neglect can have far reaching consequences and in the case of the sick child, has taken years off his life.

YNK Mon 31-Mar-14 14:36:06

Childrens Services operate on the basis of reasonable probability rather that the proof required for prosecution.

sydlexic Mon 31-Mar-14 14:36:16

The CPS needs evidence, SS often do not.

Bogeyface Mon 31-Mar-14 14:40:41

But surely if the evidence is there in terms of medical evidence with the sick child, that is enough? I dont see how that could possibly not be enough to prosecute if you have statements from doctors about appointments not attended, scripts not filled, a very very ill child who had been kept from getting medical attention....

I suppose I can see what you are saying, but it seems wrong to me.

TillyTellTale Mon 31-Mar-14 14:41:29

bogeyface I would imagine that perhaps they felt a criminal court case was not in the best interests of the victim(s). They don't need to put the children through testifying/giving evidence in criminal court, and the parents aren't a danger to the rest of society.

sydlexic hmm

TheScience Mon 31-Mar-14 14:43:28

The criteria are different for CPS and social services. There may not be enough evidence to prove the parents were willfully/criminally neglectful. It might not be in the public interest to prosecute.

Nennypops Mon 31-Mar-14 14:43:50

Not really, sydlexic. SS definitely need evidence before taking children into care: they have to satisfy a judge that it is required, and there are strict guidelines showing it is quite a high hurdle to jump. However, the standard of proof in the Family Court is on a balance of probabilities, whereas in the Criminal Court it is beyond reasonable doubt.

Bogeyface Mon 31-Mar-14 14:44:43

TIlly that sounds more likely I suppose.

I have never really gone with the "not a danger to society" argument though, they were a danger to their children so I think that that alone should mean that they should pay for their crimes. But I do see that it needs to weighed against the interests of the victims.

YNK Mon 31-Mar-14 14:45:27

The situation you describe is neglect not emotional abuse.
Childrens Services focus on improving the outcomes for the child,not punishing the parent/carer.

Bogeyface Mon 31-Mar-14 14:53:24


I understand that, it is their remit to look after the best interests of the child. But surely once that has been done, the case notes could be handed to the police in order for them to decide? Neglect IS a crime, surely it should be punished?

Fusedog Mon 31-Mar-14 14:53:59

YNK sorry both

And the REAL reason parents aren't jailed because it's seen that loosing your child is punishment is enough

Also *i think these peoples benefits should be garnished in order to pay for there stay in care and also THEY should ba charged for the set up costs eg cots , blankets to the new adopters and foster carers

Kewcumber Mon 31-Mar-14 14:56:53

Some parents are charged, convicted and jailed. I know one personally.

AMumInScotland Mon 31-Mar-14 15:01:49

I imagine they think in terms of what would actually be achieved by 'punishing' the parents. If their lives are already chaotic, will it make a difference to them? To other children in the family? To society in general?

Versus the difficulties of bringing a court case, financial cost to the state, likelihood of success etc.

The main aim is to protect the children. What else happens is of lesser importance, unless it is the kind of case that would be effective in stopping other people from doing something similar. And I doubt parents who would behave like this would be likely to change by seeing a court case splashed across the tabloids (assuming it even made the headlines) because they are probably not making deliberate choices to end up in such a mess.

sydlexic Mon 31-Mar-14 15:02:11

It's a very long story but that is the experience of someone close to me. I had to move into their house to safeguard for 24 hours a day to stop DC being removed. It took months and destroyed the mental health of all the family.

Police said no case to answer, police voted at family court.

This was all due to one accidental injury.

TillyTellTale Mon 31-Mar-14 15:02:18

They were obviously a danger to their children. Completely agree. I have rather strong opinions on denying medical treatment to one's children, and have been stropping all over MN about it this week. blush

But state public prosecutions aren't solely motivated by giving people their just desserts, otherwise the legal backlog would take years to clear. The family courts' decisions were enough to rescue the children, and probably enough to make sure that any subsequent children would be monitored.

YNK Mon 31-Mar-14 15:12:35

The police are present at strategy meetings and CP conference. CS will support their decision if there is a reason to take action against the parent.

YNK Mon 31-Mar-14 15:19:47

Parents CAN be asked for financial contribution toward a CLA, however it is unusual because the focus is on improving the outcome for the child and not damaging the possibility of reconciliation.
I wish parents could be forced to contribute on a means tested basis (not benefits).
So many well off parents/carers use the system like a boarding facility!!!

almondcake Mon 31-Mar-14 15:27:22

Presumably there are a lot of cases where social services get involved to try and improve the quality of parenting, there isn't a great improvement and the children are then removed as a last resort. There has to be some level of trust of social services for families to seek out or agree to that help, and it is important that option exists as many families do improve.

I would think building that level of trust with the public is one reason why only the worst cases are prosecuted. People already hum and ha over contacting social services about other people's children because social services often have a poor reputation. SS has to tread a fine line between a policing role and a supporting one.

Fusedog Mon 31-Mar-14 15:29:09

Sorry YNK but it would do many parents good to show some responsibility towards there children for many it would be the first time if there child's life were they had done this is instead we often pay parents to visit there own children ffs

And as for children in care of parents who are not on welfare who use care like boarding may be we should have two strikes and your out after all studies show after a child had been in care more than twice successful reunions are almost impossible

ProlificPenguin Mon 31-Mar-14 15:35:27

How do you know that they haven't been arrested, charged and bailed?

MyFeetAreCold Mon 31-Mar-14 15:36:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YNK Mon 31-Mar-14 15:38:10

I think it's worthwhile both for children and the taxpayer if the focus is on rehabilitating the family.
However IME, the most cynical exploitation of the system is by the wealthy who often quote their 'rights' and are abusive and threatening toward SW's.
IME SW's are afraid of their power to complain!
And again IME benefit claimants are often the ones exploited as unpaid carers!

YNK Mon 31-Mar-14 15:41:33

SW's do not pay anyone to visit their children. Expenses are covered for the benefit of the child, including residential places that can cost thousands of ££££ a week!

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