The many uses of Pink Tape…

This afternoon, in an interstitial moment of madness brought on by having become unaccustomed to having an actual weekend involving anything apart from paperwork, I have been engaging in impromptu and not altogether successful attempts to make Christmas decorations out of pink tape. I do not think I will be giving up the day job to promote my new line of products... For those wondering however, I can confirm that no, you can't make a pom pom out of pink tape... and although I have lashed bamboo into something approximating a star shape for a fetching naive style festive feature piece, I don't think you would want me on your desert island raft making team.

I'm approaching the end of a run of time consuming cases that have lingered pending and part heard over much of this year... they have come up and down in sequence like hills that you pass on the way down the M5 with scarcely a glimpse of sky in between. Now the draft judgments are dropping silently into my inbox one by one, and I feel that I am approaching the levels...I'm stopping for coffee and refuelling before the next mountain range. The sign reads : Moto Christmas 19 days

Apart from the coming together of several imminent endings in a number of cases that have become as familiar as old friends, this week has been unheimlich in other ways... just as one trial went short The Times published a leader about a woman survivor of the Rotherham grooming gangs and the invitation by the council to the father to have contact (Sammy Woodhouse). I saw Norfolk's piece on the train to Swansea, and by the time I arrived I'd written much of the blog post I published later that day. Much time and energy since then has been devoted to trying to unpick what the facts of the story really were, what campaigners were actually calling for by way of reform and explaining to numerous tv and radio producers what the law actually says. I've had Sky TV in my kitchen (all my wisdom was left on the cutting room floor and one disembodied line about adoption was left in making me sound slightly out there), and I've been green screened into the Victoria Derbyshire Show. (44 mins in) This afternoon, before the decoration making frenzy I was on Talk Radio with John Nicholson. I *think* I talked some sense but will never know because I don't think you can replay it. This issue has totally taken over life this week - I've written three lengthy blog posts about the story and the issues it raises - because although the original story was flawed, the debate it has given oxygen to IS so important to many people (see here and here in addition to the one linked above). I may not agree that the answer to these women's concerns is a reform to the law - I think it is more likely to be about better awareness of court rules and options and better understanding of the impacts of abuse and control when applying the law - but what has driven me to contribute so many hours this week to this debate is the sense that the debate can't be useful to anyone if people are calling for reform of laws they don't understand in the first place. I'm comfortable with the idea that people want reform of the law - and that that may be justified (I can't see it at the moment, but maybe I will once debate becomes more specific and more rooted in the actual law and practice) - but legislation borne of headlines and emotions rather than calm, meticulous consideration of different scenarios, will very likely cause problems at least as great as those the campaigners understandably wish to solve. If there is to be reform let it be focused and clear and thought through. It's upsetting to be called a rape apologist, a stooge for social services or cold and unfeeling for trying to inject a bit of calm into a debate being driven by (understandable) emotions - but such is the lot of a lawyer I suppose. Objectivity and analytical ability is our stock in trade and it is often undervalued. These things will be needed if any campaign group wants to move beyond outrage and into actually getting something done. Those who think lawyers lack passion are mistaken. Our passion is the fuel in the engine, even though you do not see it always on the outside.

Tomorrow I head to Leeds to take part in the Family Justice Council debate on covert recording. That should be interesting (I won't say fun). I am hoping that someone in the audience will live tweet it as I don't think the FJC 'do' live tweeting...

I am also hoping whilst I'm there to do a spot of legal blogging. Much though depends on how early I can drag myself from my pit and get my backside to the train station...

I might write a blog post on my 3 ½ hour train journey...on the other hand I might just that ok?

One thought on “The many uses of Pink Tape…

  1. Needing a rant here Lucy so bear with me as it does tie into covert recording.

    The rant is: Who, WHO? tells a 7 yr old who’s actually come home with stars from school for his joined up writing, that it is terrible, rips up the xmas card and makes him do another one in UNJOINED up writing!? Oh that’s right the father who’s constantly telling this child he isn’t good enough etc etc etc (and yet somehow successfully grooms local guillable ‘do good’ social workers!?) When you haven’t got a partner in life to exert your coercive control, dominance and abuse on, whaddya do? Oh! That’s right! You do it to your child instead because you’re a pathetic savage piece of ****. Aided and abetted by delusional social workers and a Family Court system WHICH CONTINUES TO ALLOW DOMESTIC ABUSE PERPETRATORS CONTACT WITH THEIR CHILDREN, even in an where the mother has had multiple complaints upheld by external investigators against her LA for their lying. And they wonder why the numbers of children self harming are rising? JusticeMcFarlane are you reading???
    So how does it relate to covert recording? Because until it is mandated that social workers wear bodycams (which I do believe will happen eventually down the line) covert recording can help level the playing field for families who are trying to gather actual evidence of abuse by perpetrators AND of abuse by social workers.
    That to me, is one topic which doesn’t seem to be being acknowledged. Psychological and emotional abuse of a parent and of the children by the words and deeds of social workers.
    Wooaaa, I can here the shouts of denial and protest from here, feel the hackles rising from 200 miles away.
    It is ABUSE, yes ABUSE (do I need to climb on top of Buckingham Palace dressed as superwoman to get taken notice of over this? Would love to but too damned busy being a damned good mother to do so) by a social worker or any member of the judicary to make any child have to endure regular unsupervised contact with a parent who has been shown by police or other third party records to have been a domestic abuse or coercive control perpetrator.
    It is in my eyes a criminal offence for anyone to abuse a child, including emotionally or psychologically, by design or default, EVEN if they wear the badge of ‘social worker’ or ‘judge’. It is long past time that both social services and the judiciary examined their own conduct in relation to the harm of the children they have professional contact with.
    So yes, in the meantime, parents need to record. If judges do not allow those recordings then shame on them, but those recordings will also be evidence for the parents when they do follow the formal complaints procedure over the behaviours of social workers, and, can also form the basis of evidence for children once they turn age 18 to sue the LA which was complicit in their (the child’s) harm.
    So, until bodycam wear is compulsory for social workers in all face to face meetings with children and familes, and until children are allowed to give their own evidence in the Family Court then parents should record.

    If social workers and judicary think covert recording is unacceptable, then there is a simple answer. Get body cams on social workers. You just have to look at the positive impact it has had in policing to see that it is a very valuable asset to justice, and that;s what we are talking about her…. justice and protection for the most vulnerable in our society – our children. why should they be denied it simply becasue those authorities who should be protecting them are refusing to hear their little voices in court. And why?

    It is NOT child protection to deny a child its say in court, either directly or via a video recording, in case it harms the child to give evidence. It’s the antithesis.
    What is worse for a time? A short time of upset in a court room, or up to 18 years of repeated, REPEATED, emotional and psychological abuse and pain clouding your entire life, your entire childhood?
    Until Family Court evidential standards are given parity with the criminal courts, then children will continue to be victimised and harmed… yes HARMED… by the Family Courts.
    And until these changes (body cams and evidential standards) are made, then yes, any and all parents who have social services involvement in their lives should be making recordings.

    What have occurances like the Rotherham child sex eploitation scandel and the scandel of sexual abuse of children in sports like football taught the professionals? Anything?
    What it should have taught you, is LISTEN TO THE CHILDREN, and even if they are unable to talk, be their eyes, ears and mouths to see, hear and give voice to their harm and above all, see abuse for what it is, no matter who is the perpetrator. Abuse isn’t just perpetrated by individuals or gangs, it’s also perpetrated by systems and organisations.
    Will you hear, will you acknowledge, will YOU be part of the movement for change, for making things right for the children?
    DO you care enough???

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