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  1. When Should a Child Be Taken from His Parents? | The New Yorker
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I had a good start myself with loving attentive parents, and I realised that my own strong foundation was the reason I could generally deal with life in all its seasons. Social work is all about relationships — and your skill in navigating these will make or break your career.

When Should a Child Be Taken from His Parents? | The New Yorker

Even when you do go home and attempt to shut off, you know that the children on your caseload keep living their reality, however horrendous, and that it can all fall apart at any time. High points tend to be when young people come out of their shell over time, eventually talking about what is going on in their lives; or the occasional epiphany when a parent realises what they can do to change.

Drug-using parents are the cases I dread the most. Trying to help people in the grip of addiction while simultaneously assessing what the impact on their children may be is heartbreaking. The decision to take a child away from their parents is made between social workers, their managers, in some areas a panel, and then ultimately a judge.

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It is simultaneously the worst decision you ever have to be a part of and one of the most rigorously considered. If a child needs to be removed in urgent circumstances, everything else stops until that child is safe.

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Perpetrators of sexual exploitation come from a range of different backgrounds and it is not restricted to one ethnic or cultural community. There is more than one type of perpetrator, model and approach to child sexual exploitation by gangs and groups. It invalidates the experience of victims abused by perpetrators from other backgrounds and risks such abuse being overlooked. What all perpetrators have in common, regardless of the differences in age, ethnicity, or social background, is their abuse of power in relation to their victims.

Boys and young men are also at risk of sexual abuse and exploitation. It implies the boy or young man is not telling the truth and invalidates the experience of the victim. Victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation come from a range of ethnic backgrounds and are not restricted to just one ethnicity.

What is common to all victims is their powerlessness and vulnerability, not their age, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation. It implies that children and young people from BME backgrounds are not telling the truth and invalidates their experience.

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It also risks such abuse being overlooked. Research shows that genital injuries are the exception even in cases where the abuse has been proven. Even where an injury is sustained it may heal very quickly.

Child Protection in England is the overall responsibility of the Department for Education which issues guidance to local authorities. Local Safeguarding Children's Boards LSCBs use this guidance to produce their own procedures that should be followed by practitioners and professionals who come into contact with children and their families in their local authority area.

Wales has the All Wales Child Protection Procedures which provides Local Safeguarding Children Boards with a single set of procedures and a range of protocols from which they all work. In many cases of child sexual abuse, there will be social services involvement, often prior to any police involvement. In brief this will involve one, or all, of the following steps:. For the purposes of the multi-agency assessments, the police should assist other agencies to carry out their responsibilities where there are concerns about the child's welfare, whether or not a crime has been committed.

If a crime has been committed, the police should be informed by the local authority children's social care. For the purposes of the strategy discussion, the police must discuss the basis for any criminal investigation and any relevant processes that other agencies might need to know about, including the timing and methods of evidence gathering; and lead the criminal investigation where joint enquiries take place. The local authority children's social care has the lead for the section 47 enquiries and assessment of the child's welfare. Social services involvement will potentially generate a great deal of information which police and prosecutors should make enquiries about.

The enquiry should not be from the standpoint of looking for material to undermine the child or young person. There may be material which could enhance and strengthen the prosecution case. All prosecutors who review child sexual abuse cases should have a good working knowledge of the legislative requirements and expectations on individual services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Prosecutors should also be aware of the Protocol and Good Practice Model: Disclosure of information in cases of alleged child abuse and linked criminal and care directions hearings.

Practice Direction 12A is a key piece of guidance for prosecutors. Where there are parallel criminal and care proceedings, it is vital that prosecutors understand the timetables and processes of the Family Court. Practice Direction 12A states at paragraph 3. The timing of the proceedings in a linked care and criminal case should appear in the Timetable for the Child. The Timetable for the Child includes not only legal steps but also social care, health and education steps. Due regard is paid to the Timetable to ensure that the court remains child focussed throughout the progress of the proceedings and that any procedural steps proposed under the PLO are considered in the context of significant events in the child's life.

The expectations are that the proceedings should be finally determined within the timetable fixed by the court in accordance with the Timetable for the Child. The timescales in the PLO being adhered to and being taken as the maximum permissible time for the taking of the step referred to in the Outline, unless the Timetable for the Child demands otherwise. Prosecutors should ensure that they are aware of the Timetable. For example, where a trial appears likely it should not simply be a matter of witness availability, but information should be obtained concerning significant steps in the child's life that are likely to take place during the proceedings such as exams, revision, special events, Family Court proceedings, etc and efforts should be made to fix the trial date accordingly.

Such an approach should help both the family court and the criminal court to work in synchronisation in the interests of justice and the welfare of the child. Case Management Orders will include orders relating to the disclosure of documents into the proceedings held by third parties, including medical records, police records and the disclosure of documents and information relating to the proceedings to non-parties. Where facilities are available to the court and the parties, the court will consider making full use of technology including electronic information exchange and video or telephone conferencing.

Practice Direction 12G sets out what information can be communicated to third parties - including the police and CPS. The tables from the old rules Part X, Rules In essence, a party in family proceedings or any person lawfully in receipt of information can give 'the text or summary of the whole or part of a judgment given in the proceedings' to a police officer for the purposes of a criminal investigation or to a member of the CPS 'to enable the Crown Prosecution Service to discharge its functions under any enactment. Disclosure and use of such documents is restricted. The Rules permit the communication of information relating to the proceedings whether or not contained in a document filed with the court not only where the court gives permission, but also where communication is to amongst others 'a professional acting in furtherance of the protection of children', which is defined as including a police officer who is exercising powers under section 46 of the Children Act removal and accommodation of children in an emergency or is serving in a child protection unit or a paedophile unit of a police force, or a professional person attending a child protection conference or review in relation to a child who is the subject of proceedings to which the information relates.

Information or documentation communicated as above 'in furtherance of the protection of children' cannot be communicated to CPS without the express permission of the Family Court. The Code for Crown Prosecutors is a public document, issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions that sets out the general principles Crown Prosecutors should follow when they make decisions on cases. This guidance assists our prosecutors when they are making decisions about cases.

It is regularly updated to reflect changes in law and practice. Contrast Switch to colour theme Switch to blue theme Switch to high visibility theme Switch to soft theme. Search for Search for. Top menu Careers Contact. Further updated 22 November to remove reference to Merits-Based Approach. Legal Guidance , Sexual offences. Experience has shown that these cases bring with them particular issues that differentiate them from other types of case particularly in terms of, for example, a victim's response both to the sexual abuse and the subsequent intervention by the police.

These guidelines are intended to cover the range of child sexual abuse, including the abuse referred to as 'child sexual exploitation' and which featured for example in the cases of R v Safi, Aziz, Hassan and others 'Operation Span' and R v Jamil, Dogar, Dogar, Hussain, Karrar, Karrar and Ahmed 'Operation Bullfinch'. The guidelines are intended to be inclusive and should be applied to cases where a sexual offence has been committed against a child or young person, unless there are good reasons why not in a particular case and these reasons are noted clearly by the prosecutor.

The guidelines also include cases of adult victims of sexual abuse in childhood. These guidelines replace the interim guidelines issued on 11 June and come into immediate effect. The guidelines will on occasion refer to victims as 'she' or 'her'. However, we fully recognise that boys as well as girls can be victims of child sexual abuse and the principles stated below, where relevant, will apply equally to boys as well as girls.

Similarly offenders are known to be female as well as male, although it is recognised that the majority of offenders are male. The guidelines should be read in conjunction with other relevant guidance, including the CPS Rape and Sexual Offences RASO Legal Guidance which sets out the approach to be taken in cases involving allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Early consultation between the police and CPS In large or complex child sexual abuse cases there should be early consultation between the police and the CPS. The CPS should be consulted on and informed of the investigation strategy so that early advice can be provided to the police if necessary. The decision to involve the CPS at an early stage is a matter for the police but experience has shown that early CPS involvement can help address some of the evidential or presentational issues that may arise at a later stage of a case.

It is important that the police and CPS work closely together and, in more complex cases, joint case review meetings should take place periodically so that progress can be checked and advice on case matters can be given.

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The frequency and timing of the meetings will be dictated by the size and scale of the investigation and prosecution. However, it is important that these take place so that a strong prosecution case can be built. The RASSO Unit is a specialist prosecutor unit which provides a central point of expertise in the CPS Area and conducts the prosecution of all rape and serious sexual offences cases locally, including child sexual abuse cases.

They have an important role as they are specialist rape prosecutors who provide particular expertise, guidance and good practice in child sexual abuse cases. The national CPS network will support and play an important role in raising the level of expertise within the CPS to prosecute child sexual abuse cases and support training initiatives in this area.

In addition, the DPP has extended the remit of rape advocates on the Advocates Panel to include other sexual offences involving children.

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This means that advocates prosecuting in court in all child sexual abuse cases will now be specialists and will have had appropriate training. Context and circumstances of child sexual abuse Child sexual abuse covers a range of offending behaviour and types of offenders which is defined in more detail in Annex B. It is therefore important that prosecutors have regard to the context and circumstances in which the offending is alleged to have taken place, as this will determine how the evidential case should be built and what are relevant lines of enquiry.

There is no one model of child sexual abuse. Sexual abuse of children and young people can be perpetrated by family members, family friends, girlfriends and boyfriends, gangs, 'peer on peer', strangers, adults via the internet and people in positions of trust such as teachers or carers.

Institutional sexual abuse may occur in any care, health, religious, or academic setting and may be carried out by an individual or group of individuals. Children who are very young or with special needs may be particularly vulnerable to abuse. Online grooming and abuse can take place through chat rooms and social networking sites and gaming devices which have the ability to connect to the internet. Offenders may target hundreds of children at a time and once initial contact with a child is made this can escalate into threats and intimidation. The online abuse can be an end in itself without any contact offences taking place, but in other cases contact offences can occur.

Coercion and manipulation often feature in abusive situations so that the perception of what is happening is sometimes difficult for the child or young person to understand. Offenders may groom not only the child or young person but also their family which can mean that the parent or guardian trusts the offender as a friend of the family or potential boyfriend.