Intended for healthcare professionals


Parents as well as children need protection

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 25 March 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:775

It is now some decades since the growing awareness of the different types of child abuse fundamentally changed the work of consultant paediatricians and of social workers. The idea grew that the protection of the child should take precedence over all other considerations, but this idea presupposes a well functioning system in which authority figures such as consultant paediatricians make few major mistakes.

The 1987 inquiry into the Cleveland sex abuse scandal, when dozens of children were taken from their families, showed that opinion regarding physical signs could be deeply divided, and the inquiry and subsequent episodes emphasised the damage that could be caused to families through ill considered opinion or action. In January 2003 Lord Laming, in the inquiry into the Victoria Climbié case, made numerous recommendations. These concerned health care and actions by professionals, but in the summary of the inquiry that the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health produced for paediatricians I saw no mention of safeguards for parents.

I saw no mention of safeguards for parents …

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