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Children and custody

Woman’s own childhood abuse renders her unable to care for toddler: judge

By January 30, 2018October 25th, 2021No Comments

By Gianna Huesch

In a case in the UK which is sure to cause controversy, a family court judge has recommended a child be put up for adoption on the basis that the little girl’s mother had herself experienced abuse and neglect as a child, which the judge deemed would now compromise her parenting capacity. The child’s mother had been raped and abused as a child, and Judge Jessica Pemberton ruled this left the mother without “foundation” to care for the toddler, aged almost two.

The mother, in her early 20s, had suffered from abuse and neglect as a child which had necessitated the involvement of social services in the Rotherham, UK, town where she lived.  Social services had been involved in her life since she was 12, with the woman having suffered abuse by both her mother and stepfather as a child, and she had been shuttled between numerous foster homes. 

The young mother had drunk heavily in her childhood and used illicit drugs, as well as having been in an abusive relationship at the age of 14 during which she was the victim of rape.  She had suffered mental disorders and had self-harmed, but had also received medical treatment including being prescribed antidepressants at several times in her life.

Judge Pemberton found that the state “had not intervened adequately to protect the woman” when she had been a child herself, and that this had impacted seriously on her future parental capacity.  The state was intervening now at the request of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council in a bid to prevent the woman’s daughter from experiencing abuse and neglect in a similarly tragic start to life.

The judge said the mother had never been “given the opportunity or the foundation which might have enabled her to provide adequately for her child”, and added:

“She is not responsible for her upbringing but it is a relevant and significant factor that cannot be ignored. It has had a huge impact on the person that (she) is today and her capabilities as a parent.”

Unfortunately, we have not been able to locate the actual judgment yet, said to have been published, which would be interesting to read in order to discover more detail surrounding the case.

Judge Pemberton has been involved in a number of controversial cases in recent years, such as the case last year where a young mother of four tragically collapsed and died in court, which her family blamed on the stress of a family court hearing before Judge Pemberton.

The same judge also delivered a ruling a few years ago, removing a boy from his parents’ care because of concerns over the parents’ extremely heavy smoking in the home, as well as a number of other issues that caused her to rule that the boy’s parents ‘were simply not able to meet his needs’.

Source: The Independent

Do you need assistance with a family law matter?  Please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.

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Please note our blogs are not legal advice.  For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance.


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