I recently came across a group of Professionals who call themselves PACA which is Professionals Against Child Abuse. PACA is a group of professionals who work in child protection who are there for one another. This group came together after several high profile cases where paediatricians and professionals had cases against them at the GMC. The homepage of their website says:
“Welcome to PACA
PACA (Professionals Against Child Abuse) is an association of professionals who care for children that came together in 2007 in response to several high-profile cases against paediatricians at the GMC”.
Whilst I can fully appreciate their need to come together and support each other, they should have children’s needs and welfare at heart instead of their own. I feel sad that they do not recognize that occasionally they do get it wrong and that they do not fully appreciate the impact of the stigma that goes with a false accusation. Professionals together make a powerful force to reckon with.
So what happens to the parents who have been falsely accused when the police have gone and social services have left?
Some of the lucky ones do get help. They meet professionals like Lisa Blakemore-Brown Child Psychologist, Expert Witness and Expert in Autism, Charles Pragnell, an independent social care management consultant, a Child/Family Advocate, and an Expert Defence Witness – Child Protection , Dr Helen Hayward-Brown, doctorate in the social sciences (interdisciplinary: sociology, anthropology, psychology) Earl Howe, House of Lords, Countess Mar, House of Lords, Michael Nott, Former Radio and Television Journalist, Clifford Miller UK Lawyer, Dr Michael Innis Pathologist and a Haematologist , Dr Harold Buttram MD, FAACP and various like-minded professionals throughout the world who do listen and care. These are all professionals who are prepared to go that extra mile. Unfortunately many child protection professionals are not and largely remain detached from the real situation.
Parents should not be treated like criminals. The sentence “innocent until proven guilty” should be respected. If the label MSBP has to be used then a clear precise criteria of what it is should be agreed. At present the umbrella is far too wide. There has to be clear set boundaries as to what does and does not amount to MSBP. For example can you really put “pictures on tee shirts” and parents who may be over anxious into the same category as someone who has been proven to put injections of faeces into the bloodstream of a child? If a parent appears over anxious or a little mis-guided then professionals should speak to them and reassure them, they may be afraid or in need of help and support. If a parent does need help need help then they should be referred to the relevant agencies . Is an accusation of child abuse really productive or counter-productive?