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Comply with Law
Go Directly to Jail
March 31, 2014 permalink
Christopher Booker reports on a mother whose children ran away from foster care to be with their older brother. She did what she was legally required to do and notified the police. How did the judge thank her? He put her in jail for six months. Earlier article.
Family courts: Six months in prison for a woman who was careful to do the 'right' thing
The latest instalment of a curious story speaks volumes about the murky workings of Britain's child-care system
Two years ago, I reported the curious case of a mother threatened with prison because social workers discovered that her 17-year-old son had been chatting on Facebook with his younger teenage sisters. The sisters were very unhappily in foster care, not for anything done to them at home, but for their own safety, because they had been physically threatened by a gang on the estate where they lived. Even though the mother had not broken an order forbidding her to contact them herself, Judge Rundell refused to accept that she had not encouraged her son to do so. He gave her a six-month suspended prison sentence; also, astonishingly, banning her from entering the entire county where her daughters are kept.
The girls recently published on Facebook that the younger one had been sexually abused by an adult. When her complaints about this were not heeded, her sister was bullied by other inmates of the home for standing up for her (a video shows her being dragged against barbed wire, leaving horrible marks on her back). The girls became so desperate that they ran away, to the flat where their brother now lives.
When he rang to tell his mother what had happened, she immediately rang the police, who agreed to inform the social workers. But next day, imagining the girls had left, she went to her son’s flat, to find the police and social workers only just arriving. Her daughters were crying that they didn’t want to be taken back. The son recorded the police telling her to go in to “give them a cuddle”. The social workers were recorded telling her that, if she left, “no further action will be taken”, which she did. Yet next day she was told she would be summoned for breaking the court order.
When she was back before Judge Rundell last week, I am told, he refused to accept her evidence as to what had happened. He sentenced her to six months in prison and prohibited her from any contact with her daughters for two more years, even though their only wish is to come home.
So, having never been accused of harming them in any way, she is now in jail.
As I say, this is a very curious story, which tells us much about how our “child care” system too often works in practice.
Source: Telegraph (UK)