Education And Debate

In England starving your child would amount to “criminal neglect”

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 24 February 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:502
  1. John Murphy, lecturer in lawa
  1. a Faculty of Law, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL

    From a legal perspective, Mok and Nelson's article touches on three interesting questions all of which, regrettably, the authors fail fully to address. First, there is the issue of whether children can be compelled to eat against either their own wishes or those of their parents. Secondly, the authors address on the question of whether parents who starve their children are engaging in a form of “child abuse.” Finally, their article provokes, but fails to engage in, discussion of a key question concerning the impact of international conventions on domestic laws.

    In relation to the first matter, the authors are apt to mislead when they claim that the 1989 Children Act states the rights of children to make an informed decision in medical intervention that concerns them. The 1989 act does no more than confer a …

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