Social skirmishes

Rosie Warlock, a senior practitioner in children’s social services, hears a court case report

● We’re in the office late Friday afternoon as a colleague is debriefing us about her recent court appearance.

She’s an experienced professional and has been through many tough cases but sometimes even the best of us crack. The case should have been straightforward: neglected and abused child parents with a history of substance and alcohol abuse. Need to get the child into care, and then help the mother the father is a lost cause. But the court threw out the care order.

My colleague first gives it to our barrister. “Idiot”, “just out of short trousers”, “learned family law from the back of a matchbox” were a few of the printable comments about his agreeing to a request for an independent review.

The judge was a “gin-sodden old fool who wanted to end quickly Friday lunchtime so he could piss off to the country and play golf”.

The opposing barrister got it both barrels: “Stuck up, rich bitch who only got where she is today ’cause daddy had some money. I bet she didn’t see her parents for years as her nanny looked after her. She most probably thinks neglect is normal, and is emotionally constipated.”

I can’t really tell you what else was said but it involved torture implements and genitals.

And what really got my colleague was that “no one read anything I wrote, and when they had to speak to me did it down their noses as if I was something the cat had brought in.”

So the case goes on. Next time let’s hope we win: for the child’s safety and our own sanity.

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