What if they reveal abuse or suicidal intentions?

MINISTERS have been accused of bringing in its (sic) ‘snooper’s charter’ under the radar as it emerged that its (sic) controversial and sexually explicit health and well-being census for children is not totally confidential.

While local authority messaging to parents has been that the survey is anonymous and is “for research purposes only”, the Herald on Sunday has seen (snooped) privacy documents over (sic) the scheme that show that local authorities can act on behalf of children if any answers raise concerns.


Leaving aside the deep irony in professional snoopers accusing others of snooping, the Herald joins the attack on an SNP Government policy, like the Offensive Behaviour at Football and the Named Person Scheme, designed to reduce harm, supported by all the professional experts and charity groups who work daily for those most at risk, but opposed by an unholy cabal of faith groups which have betrayed thousands of children, right-wing ‘parent groups’ who want to control everything, and opportunistic and deeply cynical opposition parties.

That the local authorities are hesitant does not mean that their professional groups have reservations but rather that their legal advisers have warned them of the risk of attack through the courts of members of the above anti-science groups.

Local authorities can act on behalf of children?

Imagine they spotted indicators suggesting abuse of a minor and thoughts of suicide and did nothing. I used to be a teacher. When we saw or heard evidence of abuse we told other professionals about it straight away. How would this be different?

Other reasons the survey makes sense:

Child protection officials have often missed signs of neglect in cases where children have later died or come to serious harm, according to a report. Their report flagged a “recurring theme” of children remaining unnoticed in neglectful situations. It said this was a factor in more than half of the SCRs reviewed.


Figures showing 266 youngsters were the victim of child sexual exploitation or were at risk of the crime last year could be the tip of the iceberg, the Scottish Government has warned. Education Secretary Angela Constance issued the warning as she launched the first television campaign in the UK aimed at tackling the problem.

October 2020

What are some reasons for current failures? A backlash against investigations into child sexual abuse decades ago has created a watch-my-back culture, where adults fear asking children if they suspect, in case they are accused of leading questions.

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2 thoughts on “What if they reveal abuse or suicidal intentions?

  1. Strange as it may seem the UK Supreme Court also supported the Named Person Scheme. They ruled that it was ‘legitimate and benign’ although they also pointed out some practical operational details of the scheme that had to be addressed.

    However, the judges over arching ruling was that the scheme could not go ahead because it involved the sharing of information between agencies based on the ‘wellbeing’ of the child. This fell foul of the Data Protection Act which allowed for the sharing of information if the child was ‘at serious risk’. On that issue it failed but the Court did give the SG the opportunity to try to resolve the ‘wellbeing/serious risk’ clash but despite their efforts the SG was unable to resolve this issue. I think some elements of the scheme are still in operation though.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Following on from Legerwood’s recap of ‘Named Person’, below are extracts from comments made by informed individuals as news emerged about the role of a father and stepmother in the abuse and eventual death of six year old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes in England. It has brought to the fore – yet again – issues over why a ’system’ of child protection failed so badly.

    Note the emphasis in these comments on three factors: (i) need for early intervention – before matters get to a very serious stage for the child; (ii) better co-ordination of actions by multiple agencies; (iii) data/information sharing between agencies.

    First from the Daily Mail online, 3 December: England’s former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘For anyone who looks at the serious case reviews, or hears about them, that come after a child’s death, you will see THE SAME THINGS COMING UP TIME AND TIME AGAIN – missed opportunities, LACK OF CO-ORDINATION, LACK OF DATA SHARING – the things that professionals NEED TO HAVE AT HAND to be able TO PROTECT these children, which still aren’t in place.’ (my emphasis)

    On 4 December The Sun had a piece on this tragedy authored by Tim Loughton, Tory MP and former Minister for Children:

    ‘The horrendous systematic torture and murder of defenceless six-year-old Arthur is sadly not an isolated incident. For many of us with a long-standing interest in child safeguarding there’s an exasperating SENSE OF DEJA VU.

    On what went wrong in protecting the child he writes: ‘On early analysis there’s the checklist of professionals missing opportunities to intervene, alarms bells rung but not acted on, agencies LACKING COORDINATION and FAILURE TO SHARE INFORMATION.’

    Loughton goes on: ‘Safeguarding is LIKE A JIGSAW where YOU NEED TO ASSEMBLE ALL THE PIECES to understand what is going on, and then SOMEONE NEEDS TO PICK UP THE COMPLETED PICTURE AND LEAD RESPONSIBILITY for asking the awkward questions and sticking at it.’

    And finally in a recent BBC News online article : (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-59519562 ):

    ‘A 2010 report by Prof Eileen Munro stressed the IMPORTANCE OF EARLY INTERVENTION BEFORE SOCIAL WORKERS GET INVOLVED. But there is still no legal requirement on people working with children in England to report known or SUSPECTED child abuse or neglect, although there is guidance telling them to do so.

    Former Tory Children’s minister Tim Loughton is reported, notably, telling the Today programme : “We need to be doing much more. To be knocking on doors, to be SNOOPING AROUND where there are serious suspicions that something is going wrong.”

    The Scottish Government and a wide range of stakeholders involved in working to improve and secure the welfare and safety of children in Scotland are to be congratulated for seeking to address the key recurring issues referred to above – ‘early intervention’, ‘co-ordination ‘ and ‘data sharing’. And of course they were misrepresented and pilloried by a vocal minority for even trying.

    The Director of the Christian Institute responded to the judgement of the Supreme Court on ‘Named Person’ referred to in Legerwood’s post in this way at the time:


    If Tim Loughton and Anne Longfield’s views are endorsed by the formal review of this latest tragedy, the Christian Institute may well have to raise funds, and find political and media allies, for another campaign, this time in England.

    Liked by 1 person

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