Protecting childrenBMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7384.0/f (Published 08 February 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:f
All rapid responses
"... accusing parents of deliberately harming their children can
And so it should, when those accusations are false, motivated by
incompetence, arrogance, malice, or mere lack of investigation.
Paediatricians will walk "the tightrope" until they and professional
colleagues gain some perspective on this matter. False accususations can
result in wrongful criminal investigations, stolen children, withrawal of
essential medical treatment, leading to imprisonment and even children's
deaths. Among non-professionals such actions are counted as perverting the
course of justice, kidnapping, willful negligence of the care of a child,
leading to false imprisonment and murder or manslaughter.
If someone falsely accuses you of abusing your child and the
consequences are any of the above, the effect is a crime of primordial
intensity. It's not like having your car broken into, or being burgled, or
like coming home to find your house burnt down a few days after you forgot
to pay your buildings insurance. It is far worse. One falsely accused
parent has stated that she would rather endure a vicious rape in a dark
alley than go through such hell again.
Perspective: a gross abuse of trust on the part of the doctor; a vile
attack on parental love, on the family, on human protective instincts, and
on the child; abuse; worse than violent rape.
Much of the medical profession seems to be in denial, unable to
accept the magnitude of what has gone on.
Competing interests: No competing interests