Court finds no evidence for Local Authority's claim parents failed to protect child from abuse

Thursday 4 April 2024

Anthony Forde of the Garden Court Family Team, led by Brendan Roche KC of 7BR, represented the Children's Father, instructed by Fathema Khanom & Shanice Edwards-Smith of Edwards Duthie Shamash Solicitors.

See judgment: London Borough of X v M & Ors [2023] EWFC 171.

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The case involved allegations of inter-sibling sexual abuse. Flowing from these allegations, the Local Authority alleged that the parents failed to protect the children. At the conclusion of the fact finding, minimal findings were made against the parents and the case proceeded to a final welfare hearing.

HHJ Lazarus provided a number of observations postscript about the treatment of Y, aged 12, by the police. HHJ Lazarus also suggested that Local Authority X should address a number of issues about its handling of the situation when allegations of sexual abuse have been made. These issues included the Local Authority's response time, the need for an experienced social worker to be in attendance, a review of the training of first-responding social workers, and greater attention to management oversight of decision-making in care proceedings.

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