Child Protection Investigation
If children’s services receive information (a referral) which makes them suspect that your child may not be safe they must make enquiries to find out if this is true.
These enquiries are called ’child protection enquiries’ or ’a child protection investigation’, or ‘section 47 enquiries’. Children’s services will gather information about your child’s circumstances and decide whether they should take action to keep your child safe.
Child Protection Conference
This is a meeting of professionals involved in the care of your Child or who have knowledge of your family situation, you may or may not be invited to this meeting. At the Child Protection Conference a decision will be made on whether your child has been harmed, or is at risk of being harmed in the future. Your child will be made subject to a Child Protection Plan if it is decided they are at risk or have been harmed.
A plan will be agreed between you and the professionals at the conference to reduce the risk of harm to your child. If you disagree with the decision, this will be recorded.
If a Child Protection Plan is agreed it must be under one of the following categories:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
Child Protection Orders
The Police have a legal right to remove a child from accommodation or prevent removal, where they have reasonable cause to believe the child would otherwise be likely to suffer significant harm.
The child may be kept at the Police Station or at suitable accommodation (e.g. relative’s home, Foster Care via Children’s Services) for up to 72 hours.
Emergency Protection Orders
Anyone can apply to the court for an Emergency Protection Order if they fear that a child is in danger. For example, if a family member has very serious concerns that a child is being abused, they could apply for an emergency protection order. These applications are usually made by the Local Authority but the police or the NSPCC could also make these applications.
An Emergency Protection Order can be made for a maximum period of 8 days initially, with a possible extension to a maximum of 15 days overall.
A non-accidental injury means that an injury to a child has been caused by a parent’s or carer’s actions or neglect. This could include for example a broken bone, bruising, a skull fracture, bleeding on the brain or bleeding behind the eyes. These injuries and others need a specialist medical expert to look at the injuries and to consider how they might have been caused.
If a non-accidental injury of a child is suspected due to in injury with no reasonable explanation children’s services will usually become involved and care proceedings will be started by the Local Authority.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
The practice of female genital mutilation was made illegal in the United Kingdom in 1985. Despite this, the abusive practice continues to the present day with the first FGM protection order only being issued as recently as July 2015.
The FGM Protection Order can prohibit a child being taken out of the country for the procedure and the court has the power to remove or restrict passports and travel documents.
If you believe that you, or your daughter, are at risk of FGM we will apply on your behalf for an FGM Protection Order. We will refer you to our support agency partners to ensure that your health, safety and wellbeing are taken care of.
You may be eligible for legal aid and we will be able to give you immediate advice about how you can ensure your own safety or the safety of a woman or child about whom you are concerned.
Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation
The UK Government defines Child Sexual Exploitation as follows:
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual.
Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
What our clients say
Gill Noury is an excellent International Family Law Senior Legal Advisor. As my international child abduction case progressed in 2014 to a fortunate consent order after 5 months of intense legal battle I realized she was highly experienced and hands on. She not only provided me very good legal advice, but was also very sympathetic to my distraught situation. She was accessible all the times I needed to communicate with her or needed her personal support. She was at the same time very professional and demonstrated high integrity and human values. I found these attributes scarce in UK’s legal practitioner.
We run a legal surgery here at our advice and drop in centre specifically for our clients who have experienced domestic abuse. A&N have been a constant support to this surgery over the year providing an invaluable service, they have been committed to the provision of legal aid advice and pro bono clinics and as such have enhanced the service provision which we are able to offer to our clients.
Strategic Head of Service
Derbyshire Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Service
Helen was absolutely fantastic, the case was long and difficult but Helen was there for me when I needed her on the telephone and at court. She didn’t beat about the bush and gave me constructive criticism which I appreciated. My kids are now safely home with me where they belong and they love the teddies you sent for them. It was a really lovely thought, Thank you for everything.
Liz Newbold & Her team were great from the very first phone call to the final court date, they did nothing but help whether it was a phone call or an email they got back to you as soon as they could. They were there for support when you needed it the most and they always put there all into every court date we had. I couldn’t have asked for a better solicitors to handle my case regarding my child. It was great to finally get victory and show we were not guilty, we couldn’t have achieved what we have done today without the help of Liz Newbold and her team of highly specialised solicitors and I am forever thankful for everything they have done for me and my family.
I’ve been working with A&N Care Solicitors since I was in PLO. I was in an OK place, then an incident occurred in July 2014 which resulted in the local authority taking away my child in to care. She went up for adoption last year in March but I kept fighting with the help of A&N care solicitors and did all that was asked. I fell pregnant and thought I couldn’t keep it, but nope, my solicitors and I kept fighting and I’ve had my daughter return from birth home. It’s resulted in my older daughter coming home too and not being adopted. I really have to say though without the help of Natalie and Ruth from A&N Care I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would recommend these to anybody if you are fighting for your children. Thank you very much A&N you are the best family law firm I’ve ever known.