On Saturday, The Agepublished a strong piece about a mother with a disability whose child was removed and placed in alternative custody by a court order despite the mother's clear capacity as a good parent. Laws to prevent people speaking out about individual cases are found in a number of areas relating to children - including (as in this case) in family law, as well as in child protection. However, such laws are too often misused by governments not to protect the best interests of children, but to avoid scrutiny of a system that too often harms them. Here's the unedited version of my letter published in The Age today responding to Mark Baker's story: To make worse the removal of a child from a good mother with a disability, and the consequent violation of their human rights, a veil of silence has been cast over "Rebecca" in this sad case of seemingly lawful injustice. Yet who benefits from this silence? In too many cases it is not children, but the system that is thereby allowed to escape proper scrutiny. There are often good reasons why the identity of children should be protected, but there is little doubt that laws to achieve this are also misused to veil circumstances where children are harmed by the system itself. Whether children are taken from good parents with a disability, harmed by a child protection system that fails, or even placed in an adult prison while subject to a child protection order, the law must allow appropriate public scrutiny that can offer a vital path to upholding children's best interests. Laws that hide the effective abuse of children by the system cannot go unchallenged, and the voices of challenge must not be silenced.
This blog is independent and is not aligned with any political party. It seeks to engage in debate on public issues, and to challenge policies and positions regardless of their political origin.
Comments are welcome from any political perspective, but I reserve the right to reject comments that in my view are defamatory, abusive, or do not seek to rationally engage the topic. Such comments will be deleted at my earliest opportunity, but responsibility for comments on this site rests with those making them.
Right of Reply
Please be aware that if you disagree with any content on this site, including if you are criticised, you have a right of reply within the constraints described above.
Unless otherwise noted, this website by Darren Lewin-Hill is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence.