Child Protection for the Autistic Child - A Resource
Expert Reports/Wittnesses/Specialist Advice and Support
He claimed to be working on translations of the Chinese masters, even though he knew no Chinese - ''I base it on the feel and appearance of Chinese script'' (Gerard Woodward -Vanishing)
See the 2017 UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ report on the UK's compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that raised concerns at the lack of government policy to address poverty among families with disabled children. Many professionals working in Child Protection see the effects of this lack of policy and provision in their caseload. Too often the response is to blame rather than help. This resource was established to try and bridge this gap in understanding because professionals can reinforce each other's views, point to evidence that profound neglect causes disabilities and proceed on the basis that moving the child to a new environment, sometimes a secure setting, will make things better for the child. In some cases this exposes the child to a new range of risk factors (See page secure settings) and can unnecessarily and unjustly destroy families.
I was also recently told by a clinician ‘I know only too well from experience that Family Courts can do good, but also have the potential to do significant harm which is not evident until much, much later...’ Dr Girish Vaidya MBBS, MD, MRCPsych., MSc (Healthcare Leadership) Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist P O Box 4887, Sheffield S11 0FG linkedin.com/in/drgirishpsych
* The Chartered Society of Forensic Science submission as part of a 2017 Nuffield Foundation study raises another concern - the potential of serious harm where experts say in normal infant health produce reports for courts outside their specific area of competence e.g. understanding the cause of injuries to a child where there may be a genetic element to a child's presentation. 'It is important that lawyers and courts understand the quality and reliability of experts and expert evidence offered to the Family Court...We welcome proposals to ensure that scientific evidence and experts are regulated and accredited, and we believe this process should include scientific expert witnesses and evidence offered to the Family Court''
3. 2018 Guidance on instructing paediatricians as experts in family cases Paediatricians are mainly involved with cases of suspected physical or sexual abuse and less involved in cases of neglect and emotional abuse.
6 The Syndrome@TheSyndromeFilm Mar 16Lecture from Dr. Waney Squier (She is prohibited from acting as a defense expert in shaken baby syndrome cases for three years.)
7 Hearing the voice' of the Autistic Child - Some advocacy providers have advocates who work(ed) as SENCO's and have the skills and experience to work with autistic children. One such is Kathleen Nugent who works for NYAS. (email@example.com). This report from the National Autistic Society and others raises serious concerns about deficits in training of many advocates for autistic children/young people in secure settings and the limited role many have for example in care, discharge planning and advocating for a suitable 'placement'. 'Individuals also need sufficient time with advocates, and may need an advocate to be flexible about when they can be around, to ensure that the advocate really gets to know their needs.'
8 this page from a parent with details of professionals who diagnose PDA (An atypical, anxiety driven presentation of autism) together with this related map. See also papers by prominent clinicians here that set out differing perspectives about possible links between extreme demand avoidance and oppositional defiant disorder. All call for more research into the best ways to help people with these difficulties. This is very relevant when 'children are at the edge of care' and parenting capacity is under scrutiny.
15. this study and associated report by Prof Andy Bilson on bruising of babies. See also this case where a baby was taken into Care when the baby's treating consultant paediatrician identified a risk of non-accidental injury after viewing photographs of marks on the babys head. The consultant paediatrician description of a mark as the size of a 10p piece was only an estimate from looking at the iPhone image and not reliable. He had not taken any measurements himself and there was no scale ruler on the photograph he saw. The paediatrician did not know the date on which the photographs had been taken, nor the circumstances in which they had been taken and in order to view them on the hospital photo web and place them onto the child's electronic medical records, the images had been transferred to another mobile iPhone by Whatsapp, and thereafter emailed onto the hospital internet system. The judge decided to have the judgment published so lessons could be learned about assessing marks on children from photographic evidence in particular.
16. this recent 2018 High Court Case where the guardian and the local authority placed great weight on ''evidence'' from an independent social worker about a Child's "attachment profile" and the judge made scathing criticisms of both the LA and the ''expert''. This is a extract from the judgement on the subject of Attachment theory
"A number of points may be made about this description of the theory. First, the theory, which I suppose is an aspect of psychology, is not stated in the report to be the subject of any specific recognised body of expertise governed by recognised standards and rules of conduct. Indeed, I asked the advocate for the guardian whether he was aware whether a student could undertake a degree in attachment theory, or otherwise study it at university or professionally. Mr x was not able to answer my question. Therefore, it does not satisfy the first criterion for admissibility as expert evidence.
pages 'Useful Links' and 'Secure Settings'. and Together for Mental Wellbeing, Criminal Justice Community Link Workers work alongside individuals throughout the criminal justice pathway to help them engage or re-engage with relevant services to tackle things like housing, addictions or debt, as well as their mental wellbeing.