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April 24, 2010 permalink
Mother Shahnaz Malik has fled Britain with her five-year-old daughter Amaani to escape from British child protectors. Unlike many refugees from social services, this family does not live one paycheque away from poverty.
One of the accusations against the mother was that she spent too much time cuddling her daughter. To assist in protecting children, here is an alert: Whenever you see a mother cuddling her child, call the police immediately!
In hiding, the mother accused of abuse for cuddling her child
A mother alleged to have 'emotionally abused' her daughter by telling her she was born by caesarean has fled to Ireland with the child.
Fearing that social workers would take her daughter away, Shahnaz Malik smuggled five-year-old Amaani out of the country.
After allegations that included Mrs Malik cuddling Amaani for too long while dropping her off at nursery, social services placed the little girl on a 'child protection plan' and scheduled a child mental health assessment.
But using tickets booked under assumed names, Mrs Malik and her daughter caught a ferry to Ireland from a Welsh port.
Police arrested her husband for obstructing their investigation, and raided their Birmingham home in the hunt for Amaani.
Detectives even removed toothbrushes from their home to obtain DNA, in case the pair had been murdered.
Mrs Malik, who has a masters degree in social policy and has lived in Britain all her life, plans to stay in Ireland with her daughter until the family can raise enough money to start a new life in Dubai, out of the reach of the UK social services.
They own four properties in Birmingham which they plan to rent out.
At her Irish hotel, Mrs Malik said she fled the UK because she feared losing her daughter.
She added: 'Once social services are on to you it's a complete nightmare and no matter what you do you are deemed a bad parent. If your child is full of beans or just sitting there quietly, it is your fault.
'Amaani was born premature so we've always been protective of her and would do anything to keep her with us.
'Ideally we'd like to get the matter resolved and return home, but we know that isn't going to happen.'
Social services became involved after a dispute between the family and a private nursery.
Nursery staff told social workers that Amaani had used a swear word, bit her nails, told them she was delivered by caesarean and that they had seen Mrs Malik cuddle her for up to ten minutes.
In January, Birmingham city council notified the family that Amaani was subject to a child protection plan for 'emotional abuse'.
Further meetings were arranged, including a mental health assessment for Amaani a month later.
But fearing that her daughter would be taken away, Mrs Malik went into hiding at a friend's house, and social workers contacted police.
After her husband Vijay Bansal, 42, was arrested at their home, Mrs Malik came out of hiding, but before social workers could meet the family they drove to Wales and boarded a ferry as foot passengers to Ireland.
Mr Bansal, an IT consultant, has returned to Birmingham to deal with their properties, but makes regular trips to Ireland.
Mrs Malik said: 'It's been really tough on Amaani as she has left all her family and friends. We hope to leave for Dubai soon.
'We have been there on holiday and really enjoyed it. There's plenty of work out there for my husband and we have friends there too.
'The only problem is having to remortgage our properties so we can have a large deposit to satisfy the Dubai authorities we are able to settle there.'
She added: 'I told Amaani that she was cut from mummy's tummy as I wanted her to be informed, but not in a graphic way.
'As for the hugging - no mother would not comfort their child if they were screaming.'
The family are being supported by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who campaigns against abuses in the family courts.
He said: 'This whole case is madness. There is no reason for the state to be involved in this little girl's life in this way.'
A spokesman for West Midlands Police confirmed that Mrs Malik and her daughter were investigated in a suspected missing persons case.
Colin Tucker, Birmingham city council's director for children's social care, said: 'It can be a case of you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.
'People want to portray things as black and white but the reality in social care is that we are dealing with very complex situations.'
Source: Daily Mail