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Family Reunited After 32 Months
November 25, 2014 permalink
Christopher Booker reports on the reunification of a Russian-Latvian family living in Holland. The Antonova children are returning from 32 months separation after a judge ruled that they should never have been removed in the first place.
This case illustrates the futility and irrelevance of the court process in child protection. When a family has been wronged, the courts take so long to get things corrected that the family suffers irreparable damage. This abuse cannot be corrected until the interlocutory rules are changed. Children should stay with their parents until after an evidentiary hearing demonstrates that there is a need for child removal.
Twins returned to family after 32 months of hell spent in 'care’
A Dutch case of children kidnapped by the state mirrors what is being done on an unprecedented scale to so many families in Britain, says Christopher Booker.
Anyone wishing to see just how shocking the behaviour of our “child protection” system can be should watch an utterly chilling video on YouTube (see below: “Kidnap of children from their mother by Dutch social services…”). It shows 11-year-old twins screaming in protest as they are seized by social workers and carried off by a mob of policemen, from the loving home they have now not seen for nearly three years.
Although they belong to a Russian-Latvian family resident for years in Holland, it is a scene re-enacted every day in Britain, thanks to a system that the Dutch children’s minister said in 2009 should be an “inspiration” to social workers in his own country. Having reported on this awful story more than once before, I now write about it again because this very day, in the town of Nijmegen, those children will be rushing joyfully into the arms of their mother and their brother Ilja Antonovs (who shot the film) – because last week, a judge ruled that the children should never have been removed in the first place.
I have followed this case because, in so many ways, it mirrors what is being done on an unprecedented scale to so many families in Britain – except that here it is usually not possible to report on them in anything like such graphic detail. This is due to the suffocating secrecy surrounding what our social workers and family courts get up to. As so often in Britain, the Dutch case involves the system colluding with a dysfunctional and absent father to remove children from their family on quite ludicrous grounds, the chief of them being merely that, when at home, the children spoke Russian, not Dutch.
Since March 2012, their mother and Ilja, now 26, have fought an extraordinary battle through the courts, with the aid of two capable and committed lawyers, to get the twins freed from the “living facility” where they were placed by the social workers, at a yearly cost to Dutch taxpayers of €80,000 (£60,000) for each child. Twice the Dutch court of appeal ruled that the children, who were utterly miserable, deprived of their phones, forbidden to watch television or read newspapers, and generally mistreated, should be returned home – only on each occasion for this to be overturned by a judge in a lower, family court. The case has attracted considerable publicity in Russia and Latvia, and even, after it was reported here, in leading Dutch newspapers.
Finally, one judge asked for an assessment of all the family by an independent psychologist. She could not have produced a more favourable report, or been more coruscating about the conduct of the social workers. She was particularly contemptuous of their absurd claim that the only reason for holding the children so long was the mother’s failure to “co-operate with professionals”, an excuse only too familiar here in Britain.
The children, the psychologist found, had been traumatised by the whole experience, as by the quite unnecessary placing of the girl in a “special needs” school, and they should be freed to return home immediately. Last Monday, the judge agreed, and today the family will be reunited.
The real hero of this story is Ilja, who has twice had to miss his place at St Andrews University because of his need to fight for his family, for humanity, for justice and for truth. His tireless efforts to get publicity for his family’s plight on one occasion landed him in prison, on another forced him to flee abroad. I only hope St Andrews will now recognise what an impressive young man he is, as at long last, he hopes to take up his promised place there.
Source: Telegraph (UK)