Welcome to another week.

A young woman in Wales has made headlines today after a local authority came under fire for putting her baby up for adoption without her consent. A police watchdog also found failings with the police force handling her case.

Despite being a victim of abuse, and evidence clearly showing the abuse, the police and the local authority failed to treat her as such. The girl’s father believes that the shoddy handling of his daughter’s case led to the forced adoption of her child. The local authority in question is now being investigated.

Her father said in a statement:

“It’s true that she became involved with drink and drugs, but her problems were greatly exacerbated by the failure to provide her with proper support.

“Her former partner has been convicted of assaulting her, but initially the police did not see her as a victim of domestic abuse.

“It is heartbreaking that her child has been taken away from her for adoption. It’s an enormous blow that has had a devastating impact on her. At present she is greatly traumatised by what has happened and finding it very difficult to cope.”

Here are some of the findings from the report published by The Independent Police Complaints Commission:

  • Police did not arrest the offender at the time of the assault
  • The incident of domestic violence was not properly reported or considered

Claims made against Vale of Glamorgan council which will be investigated by The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales include:

  • Enrolling the mother on a programme that involved participating in joint counselling sessions with her abusive partner.
  • Failure of the council to comply with its legal duty to “assess the care and needs of a child for care and support”

Crucially, the news item reports that the teenage mother did not feel safe during the sessions because her partner was assaulting her afterwards. As a result she was perceived by social workers to be withdrawn and uncooperative.

Our question this week then, is just this: do you think the training for child protection professionals when it comes to domestic abuse and the steps that follow when deciding to remove a child in such a situation are good enough? 

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