Archives for the month of: January, 2011
Sanam Navsarka

Sanam Navsarka, who died on 8 May 2008, suffered more than 100 injuries.

Hi, everyone.

Its been a while since I updated you all daily, but I really feel a need to tell you about something that happened today that really concerns me.

More children at risk

All of us will have either suffered abuse at the hands of others, know someone who has been abused or at risk of being abused or perhaps heard or read reports in the media saying a child has been abused and, at the worst, murdered. All too often social services are blamed for not being available for children to monitor and prevent abuse to children and young people. Sadly, it’s usually the front-line staff who are blamed for any abuse tragedy that comes under the media spotlight, instead of the department or the authority itself. However, what happens then is a new focus on child abuse changes, and public services spend money arguing about who is to blame and how services can be improved. This would be fine if, in fact, services did improve but, to be honest, my experience lately suggests services haven’t improved and that more and more children are at risk.

Resources wasted harassing a safe, healthy and happy 16-year-old

Public services have been complaining recently following the change in government, as David Cameron has cut public spending and requested that local authorities review their services and budgets. I would take the complaints really seriously if my local authority, Notts County Council, could demonstrate what impact such cuts could have on them. Instead, they decide to waste money on sending two social workers to visit my 16-year-old daughter at school unannounced, who has made it perfectly clear that she does not want to see them, she is not at risk of any harm, has never been at risk of harm or been hurt in any way at all. The school my daughter is at is in a rural area, so a good hour and a half would be needed to visit the school, to wait for my daughter to be taken out of an important GCSE class, to be then told by her “Go away!” and then to travel back to their office.

Priorities must be addressed before complaining about resources

Now I’d like everyone to imagine a child suffering with multiple fractures, no matter what age, who is in the social care system and locked in a room at temperatures in excess of 40 degrees after being beaten by its parents. Then imagine this child feeling desperate for the TWO social workers visiting my daughter to come and rescue her from such terrible things. How fair does that feel, especially if the social worker involved said that due to work pressures she didn’t have time to visit the little girl and sadly she dies? How can the authorities complain about low budgets and lack of resources? Maybe if they focused on what was important and addressed people’s needs in order of priority they wouldn’t be worried about the reductions in budgets that has been imposed on them! How many children will be abused or die at the hands of the authorities until someone reviews the system and starts looking after those that really are in need? Just a thought!

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Hi, everyone.

I hope all is well. I thought it was about time I updated you all.

I haven’t got much news regarding my work situation and the HPC.  I’m busy collating as much supporting evidence as possible for my defence which has to be submitted to the HPC by the 11th of February 2011. I’ve seen my treating consultant to confirm I’m fit and well, and I’m seeing my former consultant, Dr Chris, for an evaluation. Fingers crossed, this new evidence will help the HPC decide that “there is no case to answer”, my registration will return to normal and I can go back to work.

Child Protection Review Conference

As for Notts County Council, I don’t think they will ever cease to amaze me.  I attended a child protection review conference recently which was held to decide if the child protection plan that my daughters are on should continue. Both the girls have told social workers that they don’t feel a need for a child protection plan, they don’t feel at risk and never have, and that they don’t want social services visiting them. My eldest daughter has tactfully said that she feels that social services should be looking after those children that need them and reassured them that she is old enough to seek help if she needed it.  My younger daughter, however, is not quite as polite, and told the social workers she wants nothing to do with them. She has voiced her anger, saying it’s wrong that she was originally told that she didn’t have to see social services and was then later told that she does have to see social workers, whether she likes it or not.

In attendance at the conference were two representatives of my younger daughter’s school, one for my elder daughter’s college, the school nurse, a social worker, the chairperson, my treating consultant and me.  School, the school nurse and social workers exchanged and shared reports with everyone, and the chair opened the conference once they had been read. The college representative spoke first, saying that Laura is doing well at college, has plenty of friends and that there is no cause for concern about her. The chair asked if Laura could access counselling, and the college representative replied that she could. The chair asked if Laura had done so, and the representative said, “That information is confidential and no one can be forced into counselling”.  The chair was not happy with this response and could not accept that Laura is nearly 18 years old.  The college representative went on to say that Laura has applied to university and that she will support her with her application.

Nurse:  no concerns

The nurse spoke, saying there were no reported concerns with either of the girls, no reported A&E attendances and health records showed nothing different from the first initial child protection conference.  The nurse also confirmed again that Jennifer has refused to see her and that she has said she doesn’t want to see a counsellor.  The chair’s interpretation of this information was that Jennifer doesn’t want to see professionals because she’s frightened of being taken away from home. I couldn’t believe the chair wouldn’t accept that Jennifer didn’t want to see anyone because she didn’t need to!

“Persistent” misrepresentation of the truth!

The social worker went through her report briefly, and confirmed that both girls don’t feel a need to see social workers, and neither do they want to. She then went on to say Jennifer has presented with persistent knuckle injuries, one of which was a fracture. She also said these injuries were deliberate and a clear sign that Jennifer was suffering with stress and emotional difficulties. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Jennifer has hurt her hand twice since July 2010. The social worker also reported that this had been reported to the school nurse. However, the nurse had just said there were no concerns and no new information. The school representative went on to say that since the summer Jennifer has presented to them with numerous knuckle injuries. At this point I exploded and demanded to know how many times this had happened. The school confirmed “twice”, which were the two occasions everyone knew about. So I addressed the chair, saying, “There is an awful lot of weight being carried on two previous knuckle injuries that happened in summer 2010.  The two incidents have been changed to ‘numerous’, to ‘persistent’,and  then to ‘none’ by three different so-called professionals. Perhaps when people have decided if, when and how many injuries have  occurred, we can then decide if Jennifer is having any emotional difficulties.”

School then went on to confirm that everything at school was fine, and that there were no problems to report. The social worker went on to say she had not been able to meet with me and my husband as I wouldn’t speak to them and my husband was at work when they called.

The chair concluded that she felt the girls should remain on a child protection plan. I was furious, as I knew this decision would upset my daughters no end. I told the chair that her decision would only cause stress to the family and that it is not helpful in any way. Laura’s college representative also raised an objection, and said Laura was old enough to decide if she felt she were at risk or not. The chair would not listen to anyone. I told her that the only person putting my girls at risk of any harm was her. She wouldn’t listen, and said the plan would last for a further six months, although Laura would be taken off the plan in April when she turns 18. What madness!

The girls were initially angry. However, they were reassured when they discovered they do in fact have rights, and they have instructed a solicitor to act on their behalf. I obviously cannot be involved with their meetings with their solicitor, but I will continue to support their decisions. A social worker has been hassling the girls by letter, and by text message with Laura. Hopefully, a solicitor will help put a stop to this.

My daughters harassed while an abused two-year-old dies unchecked

It’s absolutely shocking that Notts County Council complain that social services are under-resourced, yet they can afford to spend money on two social workers visiting a 16- and 17-year-old who state clearly that they have never felt or been at risk, and if they did they would do something about it. It’s even more alarming that only 24 hours after the conference, a 2-year-old has died from severe cruelty from her parents. The parents have been sentenced to nine years and life. The family were known to social services, and even though reports were made to say the child was in immediate danger no one visited. Social services claim that they were under-resourced and couldn’t visit the day the child was found dead. Maybe the media should know how services prefer to spend their money!

My last posting talked about the support I’m giving to the charity NAPAC. I invited anyone to email me if they wanted any information regarding the charity. If anyone is willing to display a sticker on their wheely bin please email me your address and I will send one out for each bit. angela.bayley@hotmail.com

I will be in touch soon to let you know how things are going.

Take care, everyone.

Love and best wishes

Angela

Review of "Disruptive" in Rostrum magazine ("the voice of social work in Scotland"), January 2011.

It's not been all bad lately. This excellent review of my book has just appeared.

Hi, everyone.

I hope you all enjoyed the festive season and have a great New Year.

Inaccurate, opinionated, judgemental…

Once again I am sorry I have not been in touch for a while. Before Christmas I didn’t have a great time with regard to the work front. When I last spoke I mentioned that I was due to attend a hearing with the Health Professions Council (HPC) based on information my employers had sent that was given to them by Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC). The HPC had applied for an interim order suspending me from work, based on this information – “information” that was inaccurate, opinionated and judgemental.

Portrayed as psychotic childkiller

On the day of the hearing, the HPC received a short report written by an employee of Nottinghamshire healthcare. This report was extracts of my confidential medical records taken from the NHS database. It was also written in such a way that it was very damaging to me personally and professionally. I was horrified that someone had accessed my personal notes without my permission or consent and then circulated them to people outside my treatment team. The extracts of my medical notes portrayed me as some sort of psychotic childkiller. The authorities had done their best to discredit me, and the nature of the case notes they had produced were shocking, to the extent that if you read them you would think I was a patient from Rampton or Broadmoor Hospital. NCC also stated that I had physically abused my children! Entirely false, of course! It was awful.

Suspended

To cut a long story short, the hearing panel chose to suspend me from the register whilst the HPC decided if there were to be any allegations made against me and if there is a case to answer.  I struggled to defend myself as I couldn’t produce evidence to say I had been well for the past six months. Therefore the panel had to base their decision on my state of health in June whilst I was in hospital. I was furious that I had been suspended from the register, but could also understand why the panel had imposed the suspension order.

Character assassination

My Christmas present from my employer was the news that, because I had been suspended from the register, I had twelve weeks to apply for a non-clinical position within the Trust or they would look at terminating my contract. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Christmas is not the best of times for me, but I was determined that NCC’s and Notts healthcare’s attempts at character assassination were not going to spoil Christmas and New Year for me and my family. I contacted my trusted solicitor who advised me on what to do.

Christmas was brilliant

When I was a patient of Dr Chris Holman at The Retreat he taught me that if I face a difficult time then I should sit down and make a written plan about how to get through it. That’s exactly what I did. I set myself a plan to challenge services via their complaints procedures, raise a grievance with my employers and prepare my defence for the HPC. The plan, once I completed these tasks, was to participate in the festive season and make Christmas special for everyone by enjoying myself (something I find hard to do). I also planned a party to celebrate my 40th birthday. The final part of my plan was to enjoy the New Year and make sure 2011 is a better year for my friends, family and me.

Christmas was brilliant, my birthday was fantastic and having all my family and most special friends around me meant so much. Two of my friends came whom I had not seen for 24 years, and it was amazing to see them. New Year’s Eve was quiet, but I was happy with that after all the excitement the previous days. An outsider looking in would think my life was perfect and, to be honest, despite my work difficulties and the ongoing ridiculous child protection issues, my life isn’t too bad. So many have far more things in their life to be sad about and are maybe on their own dealing with it all. My husband said before Christmas that no one can take my family and friends away and, deep down, that’s all that matters. Instead of dwelling on what has happened, I have chosen to deal with any difficult issues head-on, and to look after myself and family as well as clear my name.

2011 has got off to a good start. My legal representative has guided me well. I have an appointment with my consultant for a re-evaluation and I have been referred to my previous consultant, Dr Chris, for an assessment. Following these assessments I will submit their reports to the HPC along with other evidence to prove that I am mentally well. I am seeing my solicitor on Friday to discuss my job situation to prepare for any case I could have on that front.

NAPAC logo

I am helping NAPAC raise their profile.

NAPAC – can you help?

I am also getting deeply involved with the charity NAPAC. The charity is for adults who have suffered any form of childhood abuse. The charity is desperate to raise their profile and I’m trying to think of ideas which might help do that. In the meantime, I’m involved with a campaign asking people to display a sticker with the NAPAC logo on it on their wheelie bins. I’m also distributing information about the charity and help for survivors.

Anyone wanting any NAPAC information, or willing to put the NAPAC sticker on their bins, please email me your addresses at angela.bayley@hotmail.com.  Any help or ideas would be most welcome.

The best news so far

Finally, the best news so far is that Rostrum, the magazine of the Scottish branch of the British Association of Social Workers, has published a review of my book. It’s brilliant and something to be very proud of. If social workers read Disruptive, as recommended in the review, then it will hopefully help many people in years to come.

I will try to write again when I have any further news.

Happy New Year!

Love and best wishes

Angela x