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Council’s forced C-section case to be raised in Parliament

A case in which a social services department got a court order to remove a baby from its mother’s womb will be raised in Parliament this week as an “extreme” case of human rights abuse.

In August 2012 Essex social services obtained a court order to take the baby from an Italian woman who had been taken to a psychiatric hospital and sectioned under the Mental Health Act. The woman had suffered a panic attack after failing to take medication for her bipolar disorder; five weeks later a caesarean section was performed without her consent.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of human rights group Liberty, said: “At first blush this is dystopian science-fiction unworthy of a democracy like ours. Forced surgery and separation of mother and infant is the stuff of nightmares.”

The mother was sent back to Italy without her daughter. She returned to the UK in February 2013 to reclaim her baby, but was told that the child was to be put up for adoption in case she suffered a relapse.

The case will be raised in Parliament this week by John Hemming MP, who chairs the Public Family Law Reform Coordinating Campaign, and who is calling for greater openness in court proceedings involving family matters.

He said: “I have seen a number of cases of abuses of people’s rights in the family courts, but this has to be one of the more extreme.

“It involves the Court of Protection authorising a caesarean section without the person concerned being made aware of what was proposed. I worry about the way these decisions about a person’s mental capacity are being taken without any apparent concern as to the effect on the individual being affected.”

A council spokesperson said: “Essex County Council does not comment on the circumstances of ongoing individual cases involving vulnerable people and children.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Melanie   10/12/2013 at 22:58

In My own experience these Cases are very Corrupt and Mother's with Mental Health Problems are being treated badly and we have to suffer worst then criminal just for asking for help and it's so discussing. I have found Social Services use Mental Health and will say you are incapable and put this to The court and do this to get Court Order's they want and they will paint a picture far worst then you are and do all possible in using their power and get adoption. I found they don't involve Family much at all and I was told by My social Worker that they are looked at Parent's and Brother's and sister's and that Cousin's and other extended Family didn't count and so they wouldn't be looking at them to help. They really don't try at all in getting a Child with The Family. They go ahead and make plans and then even with mistakes and all the lies they have told and Family coming forward, they still don't want you Child coming back and they want to do what they want and it's inhumane treatment to Parents, Child and Family. They get these Orders far too easy and very often not on anything that has happened, but on The social worker saying what could or may happen and also within Mental Health that even if you are well now you may have a relapse in The future. The Case should have been done in Italy and in The woman own Country with her own Family around her and not in Britain. I feel The Care system and The Mental Health system work very badly together and we are getting treated like animals which becomes like a Professional witch Hunt and it's a terrible way to treat Mother's who just ask for help. Social Services is out of control with such power and much abuse is going on and many of these Children never needed to be adopted in the first place.

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