Gransnet forums


Compulsory sterilisation?

(89 Posts)
Anne58 Fri 02-Aug-13 10:28:18

Good morning all.

No doubt many of you heard or read about the 4 year old boy who died after the most terrible abuse inflicted by his mother and stepfather.

There was another similar case a few weeks ago, the child's mother showed no remorse whatsoever. It also emerged that she had been made to go on a parenting course as Social Services had concerns about her attitude to the child.

I sometimes think that these women should be forcibly sterilised to ensure that they never again have the chance to so such things.

sunseeker Fri 02-Aug-13 10:43:14

Of course on the surface making sure these women don't have any more children may seem a good thing, but once you open that door, where do you stop. How about people who carry genetic defects or the handicapped or those with a low IQ. So no, I don't think it would be a good idea.

Parents who harm their children are, thankfully, few a far between and should receive long prison sentences.

gillybob Fri 02-Aug-13 10:45:08

What a terribly sad case this is. I can't even begin to imagine how the poor little mite suffered at the hands of the very people who were supposed to love and cherish him. sad

Not sure about the "sterilisation" though phoenix but could go with a long term implant. Even if she did get preganant again (heaven forbid) I think SS would be hot on her heels to have it removed to safety.

Anne58 Fri 02-Aug-13 10:45:40

I take your point, sunseeker but there is a vast difference between genetic defects, handicaps etc and the deliberate and systematic abuse these women inflicted.

Mishap Fri 02-Aug-13 11:04:03

I am slightly puzzled at how this poor little chap fell through the net so badly. We are told that he was at school the day before he died; and also that he weighed 1.5 stone - I would have thought the teachers would have been all over this if a child in their school was so emaciated. Of course we can jump to judgement from our position on the outside; but I do have to say it seems very odd indeed - and I speak as an ex-social worker.

Compulsory sterilazation is not an option - we cannot become a nazi state. But I can understand that it seems superficially attractive.

A close relative has 2 adopted boys who are part of a family of 10 children of a pair of drug addicts - it makes one despair.

Anne58 Fri 02-Aug-13 11:09:46

On reflection, perhaps compulsory sterilisation is not an option, I think I posted before giving it enough thought. One thing is for certain though, you can bet your bottom dollar that these people will have one hell of a rough time in prison.

gracesmum Fri 02-Aug-13 11:27:05

Mishap I share your questions re school and this poor child. A friend emailed me yesterday on the subject and said:
" This reminds me of a time when I was teaching and reported bruising on a child after he changed for PE. It was taken up and it transpired that he had been given a good hiding by his father because along with his older brother they had beaten up their mother. The result was that the father was banned from the house pending inquiries, meanwhile the boys returned home, continued to harm their mother so much so that she was hospitalised. Did I do right in reporting the bruising?"
I have no intention of discussing my friend's dilemma, I am sure she was right to report on what she had observed but know no further details. However, I too wondered how no action could have been taken in the current case, but perhaps teachers and others are afraid their observations might be misguided or their actions misplaced?

Aka Fri 02-Aug-13 12:22:50

Mishap & Gracesmum this was my initial concern too. That little boy was in a class with a teacher and a TA all day, 5 days a week. I was not impressed by their failure to do something in line with the school's Child Protection Policy ...or was this the case of yet another exercise in in policy writing by the SMT without any training for staff on the proper procedure. Or was it a case of a young, inexperienced teacher 'reporting' a child stealing food to the abuser without looking behind the behaviour.
it should never have happened and I'm so sad and so angry

sunseeker Fri 02-Aug-13 12:39:19

I understand the teachers did report bruising on his neck and what appeared to be black eyes, they also raised concerns about his weight. The mother said that he had a eating disorder and it appears she was believed.

If something like this is reported to Social Services would it be normal practice for a social worker to speak to the child or just to the parents? I think social workers are in a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situation.

Iam64 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:48:22

There is a part 8 review going on at the moment. I did 33 years in child protection social work/work with offenders and was exposed to all manner of horrors. However, this little boy's sad and painful life in our country, and his awful death, has haunted me. I read this morning that his head teacher is a 32 year old guy, who has since this boy's death moved to be head at another school. His class teacher was 26. She and the TA had regularly reported concerns to the Head, who I assume was the designated child protection/safeguarding rep at the school. The news this morning indicated the head didn't feel the concerns about 2 black eyes were significant enough to be referred upwards, or even recorded in their concerns book. It's so rare for children to have two black eyes, these should always be subject of a medical evaluation. (I say this as a parent whose 18 month old fell on the corner of a coffee table, and 2 black eyes developed as the bruise in the centre of her forehead went down) Like Mishap, I struggle to see how this child wasn't high on the multi agency radar. Broken arms can be clarified as accidental or deliberate, not always but usually. In situations where the paediatrician couldn't be sure, or there were existing concerns about excessive drinking/drugs and violence, we would seek a 2nd opinion from a local expert in abuse, or the local paediatrician would refer on.

In a home with children, where incidents of domestic violence, especially in the context of drug/alcohol abuse, have resulted in the police being called, it is normal practice for the police to notify the children's services team. We used to get so many of these, that our response to a first notification was often to write to the family, telling them where we were, what services were available, and reminding them how frightening/damaging exposure to violence is for children. Subsequent notifications wouldThe next one would lead to result a social worker visiting and attempting to talk to the mother (usually the victim but not always) about the incident and trying to clarify the extent of difficulty in the family. It isn't clear what, if anything happened in this case.

The broken arm was sufficiently concerning for the police to be involved. In my area, that would have been a joint social work/police enquiry, not single agency. It seems that as the paediatrician accepted the fracture was an accident, and this story was supported by an older sibling, no crime, no prosecution, no reason for social work involvement. The case review will identify whether police/health/school ever re-referred this little boy. Any child who stole food in the way this little boy did, the description of him sitting, sad and isolated in the school sand pit, eating dried beans just awful. Any loss of weight should have been referred to the school nurse, who should have referred him to a paediatrician. The paediatrician should have ensured the mother's information about the Polish doctor diagnosing an eating disorder was right. The fact there was violence in the home, and the mother reacted aggressively when challenged by medical staff, should have had alarm bells ringing and a proper social work assessment taking place.

I despair - truly I do. Poor little lad, and his older sibling, witnessing this abuse, and giving evidence in court on that. Sorry for the rant folks - I am distressed by this and hope we get more out of the part 8 review that the need for agencies to work together, and some platitudes about how it's all so much better now than it was this time last year.

Notso Fri 02-Aug-13 12:51:43

Just throw away the keys to their prison cells.

Play recordings of their little boys' screaming on a loop into the cells. Cover the cell walls with images of his broken body.

Lest they forget angry

Anne58 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:54:52

I think that both the staff and the other inmates will make damn sure that they don't.

Notso Fri 02-Aug-13 12:56:54


Iam64 Fri 02-Aug-13 12:58:59

Aka and Sunseeker posted whilst I was typing my rant. I'm not certain, but what I have read so far suggests no social work involvement since the fracture to his arm. If normal procedures had been followed, the teacher and TA would write in the school's book of Concerns. They'd discuss this with the designated safeguarding staff member (in this case the Head I think). The safeguarding person and head decide whether children's services should be asked to help. Any social worker receiving information from a teacher about a child scavenging for food would be very concerned. Emotional abuse, as well as not being properly fed would be suspected. Legislation and good practice would mean the school would first discuss with parents, and if not satisfied, would tell parents they intend to see if a social worker can help with "x's stealing from bins". Nice and bland rather than confrontational. The social worker would visit and see the parents. In circumstances where there is drug/alcohol abuse/violence I'd visit with a colleague and discuss all the concerns in detail. Also, you would examine the children's bed rooms. Empty rooms, or rooms where doors have the handles taken off are always always concerning.

Iam64 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:01:52

Notso - I don't know if these parents are psychopathic. But, I suspect that Hindley and Brady would have welcomed hearing the screams of little Lesley Ann Downey They taped her and photographed her, so they could re-live what they did to her. There will probably be psychiatric evaluation of these two - who knows, what we do know is they set out to harm this little boy and it went so far he died. They put his body in the same bed as his sibling, who told the court he listened for, but there was no heart beat. The reason he was sharing his bed with his dead brother was in the aim of avoiding paramedics finding the cell with the urine soaked mattress that this little chap lived in. It is just too horrible isn't it

Iam64 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:03:19

Notso - I don't know if these parents are psychopathic. But, I suspect that Hindley and Brady would have welcomed hearing the screams of little Lesley Ann Downey They taped her and photographed her, so they could re-live what they did to her. There will probably be psychiatric evaluation of these two - who knows, what we do know is they set out to harm this little boy and it went so far he died. They put his body in the same bed as his sibling, who told the court he listened for, but there was no heart beat. The reason he was sharing his bed with his dead brother was in the aim of avoiding paramedics finding the cell with the urine soaked mattress that this little chap lived in. It is just too horrible isn't it

Riverwalk Fri 02-Aug-13 13:04:13

Iam64 yesterday morning on The Today programme a professor of social work was interviewed. He explained that, words to the effect, a Serious Case Review would be carried out and that this would be a bad thing because all that would happen would be that schools, social workers, police, etc would tighten-up procedures i.e. ensure the paperwork stands up to scrutiny, meaning even more time spent on administering the system and less out in the field protecting the children.

Like everyone else I'm so distressed at the thought of this sad lonely little lad being totally at the mercy of his tormentors with no-one to turn to.

Surely someone who came into contact with him professionally should be held to account.

petra Fri 02-Aug-13 13:16:48

I know that there are a lot of people on here who will disagree with what I am going to say, but I've said it before ( on here ) and I will say it again.

If I had endless money I would pay to have these people really hurt, and I mean really.
If any of you have read the book, The Feather Men you will know how far this can go.

Iam64 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:21:11

Riverwalk, I didn't hear that, but agree - one of the first things I did when I qualified was to read the report into the death of Jasmine Beckford. I've read all the reports into child deaths since then, and the way in which we repeat history is so depressing. The key issues seem always to be isolation, lies, manipulation, professionals who believe what lying parents tell them. Children have never been seen on their own and given the opportunity to talk about their experiences.
By the time I retired, 3 years ago, I spent 75 - 80% of my time on a computer. All the admin support who previously typed our letters and reports, completed our various forms after we gave them a copy of our written information etc - all made redundant. I had to enter the details of families with say 7 children, 5 fathers, several different ethnic backgrounds, faiths and languages onto 4 different forms, on the internet. My skills are in working with families..... We were also increasingly working with families from different cultures, most of whom told us it was normal in their culture (whatever "it" happened to be). One colleague was told by a Polish father that we English over reacted to normal Polish drinking habits, or use of sticks to chastise children. (Please, I'm not anti Polish, I could give so many examples.)
So, the social work professor is spot on, we need professionals freed up, properly trained and supported to work with challenging and even dangerous families. It's my understanding that we have a shortage of paediatricians. Just as we have a shortage of children and families social workers, because those two professionals are always pilloried when parents kill their children. I am absolutely not defending sloppy, careless practice - but as others have said, school staff, medical staff, police all trying to communicate with a mother who I suspect has a personality disorder, who is a plausible, manipulative liar, with no empathy whatsoever for her child. Truly shocking. Her boy friend sounds like a psychopath.

Riverwalk Fri 02-Aug-13 13:25:39

Petra the parents are obviously disturbed and wicked individuals and have just received life sentences - for me personally that's them dealt with.

I think our energies should be spent on both apportioning some professional blame here and really aiming to try and prevent other cases of such blatant neglect and cruelty going unchallenged. The boy was emaciated, had black eyes, and bruises on the neck - words really fail me as to why this didn't raise alarm bells.

I'm going to be ageist and say that 32 years of age is far too young to be a headteacher, FGS!

I fully understand that older heads can also be lax but surely someone with a bit more experience would have handled things differently, only because they'd be a bit more cynical for a start. There must have been a dearth of candidates for the job.

feetlebaum Fri 02-Aug-13 14:27:44

Life with a minimum term of 30 years...

@Petra : You scare me. You would glory in the pain of others - that's as bad as the couple we are discussing.

petallus Fri 02-Aug-13 14:31:24

I also find one or two of the posts on this thread scary.

gracesmum Fri 02-Aug-13 14:42:19

I think that when we are in contact - albeit at a distance via the media- with real evil, strong emotions are aroused and expressed. We are all parents, most os also grandparents and cannot imagine this poor child's miserable existence without genuine even physical revulsion. Many reactions are correspndingly intemperate. I feel I am "wimping out" - I cannot bring today's You & Yours went into details. Head in the sand? I hope not, I DO care and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to know this sort of thing cold never happen again.Alas, I fear it can and will - there are monsters in this world.

gracesmum Fri 02-Aug-13 14:44:17

I seem to have lost a line; it should have read "I cannot bring myself to read the newspaper reports and rushed to switch off the radio when today's You and Yours.." etc

moomin Fri 02-Aug-13 14:48:39

Awful, awful, awful. Poor little boy sad