Section 47 process

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Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 5:50 pm

Section 47 process

Post by FRWF » Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:10 am


I am new to this board and have a pressing matter that my wife and I are very concerned about. Last weekend, on Saturday night, my wife and I got into a heated argument, followed by a scuffle between us both (no punches or anything like that, but I ended up with a scratched face and my wife had some bruising to her arm). Our 5 month old baby was with us, but safely in her pram. I called the police, as I felt the whole situation was not right. I regret calling the police now, as it was not really warranted, but it's done now.

So the police turn up, and my wife and I both complain about each other, a lot, to the officers. Our baby is then sick, directly due to having just been fed, which for some reason concerned the officers. My wife then was cleaning her up and said: "oh, she has a bruise on her foot". It was only small and not as issue, but now the police are getting concerned. I said that I may have knocked one of legs coming out of the changing roomer earlier, but wasn't sure if that was the cause or not (as how would we). Anyway, my wife and I both know that our baby is fully safe and no harm would ever be caused by either one of us!

But, the police are concerned enough to call for an ambulance. The plan is for my wife to go with her to the hospital to just get checked out. But then, after they both get into the ambulance, the police say she is instead now getting taken to a police cell and I am to go to the hospital with our daughter.

Once at the hospital, I am not told what is going on, but a full body check of our daughter is carried out, with all marks being recorded. I thought nothing of it really, and through it was just a check they need to do under the circumstances. The next morning, after we are forced to stay in hospital and told we cannot leave, I begin to realise a safeguarding process has been started, which I only found out was a section 47 three days later on Tuesday night! My wife was released on Sunday night, without charge or further action whatsoever, and came to the hospital to be with us.

Since then, the following has happened, with virtually zero communication of how or what is happening:
- a CT scan on Monday
- a social worker came to see us on Tuesday and explained some, but not all, of the process
- an eye test on Wednesday
- a full skeletal x-ray test on Thursday (around 96 hours after the request), which we are still waiting for the verified and final results and therefore will be over 100 hours since request!)

We understand our argument and fight kick was the starting point, but the process since has been crazy. We have done nothing wrong to our baby and she is and has never been at risk or in harm's way. We both have unblemished records with no history of any issues, unemployment, financial issues etc.

We are waiting for the final x-ray results tomorrow (Friday), following my a cross-agency meeting. Before (hopefully), we get released. We believe there may be a child protection plan or similar in place whilst the 45-day investigation is in place. It is just crazy. We have done nothing wrong and must fight this injustice.

What do we do? What can we do? Our view is that the following issues have occurred:
- There was not a strong enough reason to put a section 47 in place (maybe other orders are in place too, but we just do not know)
- The process was not explained to us until day three, and we still have not been told everything
- The x-ray scans were not carried out within the mandatory 72 hour windows
- Communication has been terrible, and we have been treated differently to other patients in the ward we are on
- We are lied to on a daily basis about when tests are being carried out
- We are on a ward with very sick children, and is putting our daughter at greater danger

Can someone advise on this?

Many thanks!

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Section 47 process

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Dec 20, 2019 4:18 pm

Dear FRWF,

Welcome to the Parents Forum.

I can see from your post that things seem very urgent.
There is currently a joint (police and children services) s47 investigation and your 5 month old daughter is having a lot of different medical examinations. This will be due to the bruise on her foot which I assume is being treated as an unexplained injury. The police are involved incase a criminal offence has been committed.

As your daughter is 5 months old, so is not very mobile, any bruise like this could be non-accidental (caused deliberately). This is why further medical investigations such as a full skeletal x rays are taking place.
This is also why in answer to your first question, it is a right that the investigation is a s47 investigation. Your daughter may have suffered significant harm. The professionals are trying to ascertain how she got the bruise.

You would know if there are any other orders in place as you would have been served with them as you are parents. As you are cooperating-which is the best thing to do-children services are relying on your agreement. So carry on working well with them.

It sounds like you are not sure what all the tests mean and so what you are agreeing to. I suggest you make a list of questions and raise them both with the social worker but also the health professional that you are dealing with. It is important that everything is explained to you so that you know what tests you are consenting to and why.
Here are our advice sheets . Look at 9-child protection procedures. But also look at advice sheet 15 care proceedings-in case children services are looking at court proceedings. if that is the case, you and mum will be entitled to separate legally aided solicitors who specialise in care proceedings.

Hopefully, the investigations will get to the bottom of how your daughter suffered a bruise to her foot without the need for care proceedings.

You could also look at the Parent’s Accused website and Child Protection resource both which gives more information about assessments, when there is a worry a child has suffered a non- accidental injury.

Hopefully, the meeting today will answer your questions.
You have also mentioned a domestic violence incident. Children services are particularly worried about domestic violence as children can be injured by being caught in the cross fire or suffer emotional abuse by being traumatised by the violence they see or hear or the after effects on their parents. Children’s services can offer you and mum support such as courses. I would strongly advise that you take any support offered.
Here are FAQ’s for fathers about domestic violence.
If you have any questions, please post again or call our advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,

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