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Sep 11

Medway Council’s Emotional Abuse

Medway Council took Sara Root to Maidstone County Court for contempt.

Medway Council took Sara Root to Maidstone County Court for contempt.

A mother who says her two youngest children were wrongly taken into care by Medway Council was given a six-month suspended prison sentence at the end of last month by Judge Richard Polden

Sara Root told Christian Voice her children were taken seven years ago for ‘emotional abuse’.

District Judge Graham Green made a judgment which will concern home-schoolers up and down the land.. Medway satisfied the judge the son and daughter were suffering the said emotional abuse due to home schooling. This had given them, said Medway’s Ian Scrivens, a ‘skewed view of the world’. Despite attending a primary school, playing with other children and going out to the park and the cinema, they were not ‘socialising.’

Legal Statement

Sara Root was found guilty in July, as we reported at the time. But in July we did not feel able to identify the mother. Now that she has been sentenced, the court authorised this legal statement:

In relation to C00ME422. On 30th August 2017, at Maidstone County Court, His Honour Judge Polden sentenced Sara Root to a custodial sentence of six months, suspended for twelve months, for contempt of court. The basis of that sentence was that: (a) she had breached an injunction made under section 12 of the Administration of Justice 1960 on 13th December 2011 on ten occasions; (b) she was in breach of an undertaking she gave to the court on 12th December 2016; and (c) she failed to comply with reporting restrictions made at the same hearing. All of the breaches were occasioned by publishing material relating to care proceedings on Facebook and failing to remove it.

September hearing

Ms Root is now applying to the High Court to remove the injunctions. Her two children are now young adults aged respectively 18 and 19, she told Christian Voice. Therefore they are no longer subject to any care order. Not surprisingly, she would like to make contact with them again. But in a bizarre twist, Medway Council have applied for non-molestation orders on behalf of the two young adults. Their only evidence appears to be hearsay.

Social worker Kelly Hopper had to admit in court she was not even in touch with Ms Root’s children. Meanwhile, ‘support worker’ Lucy Conn has made a statement. We understand this discloses that the young man involved does not even want Medway Council to speak on his behalf. The case will be heard behind closed doors at the Royal Courts of Justice on 28th September.

Contempt removes some secrecy

The family courts are shrouded in secrecy. Those in social services and the child protection industry say this is to protect the children involved. But it also means parents cannot easily bring injustices to the light. The media are also loathe to report cases. Editors fear they may fall foul of contempt of court rules. So in practice, the secrecy rules protect the system.

The only reason Sara Root and Eugene Lukjanenko can be named is because Medway Council brought actions against them for contempt of court, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. Family court judges still hear such cases. Nevertheless, the cases have to be held in open court in the civil court, rather than the family court. This is because the British legal jurisdictions do not ‘disappear’ people. Anyone facing jail must be named. This does not mean the media can then name any children involved, nor do we want to. But we can and shall name local authorities and social workers.

Medway Council rooftop protest

Eugene Lukjanenko was convicted of contempt at Canterbury County Court in January and July 2017

Eugene Lukjanenko was convicted of contempt at Canterbury County Court in January and July 2017

Meanwhile, concert pianist Eugene Lukjanenko occupied the porch roof of Medway Council offices in Chatham last week. He remains in dispute with Medway over access to his son in care. However, above all, he wants his son returned, and his son, who is 14, also wants to come home. With worrying similarities to the Sara Root case, Mr Lukjanenko also says his son his taken away for alleged ’emotional abuse’.

A group of people on the ground also protested against forced adoption & foster care. Two police cars were called to the protest, where four people were spotted handing out leaflets.  A spokesman from the police said: ‘Officers have been made aware of a protest on a roof in Dock Road, Chatham. Officers were called to the scene at 7.21am on Tuesday 5 September 2017.’

One protester told the local KentOnline newspaper they were calling on the government to investigate the way in which children are taken into care.

Mr Lukjanenko came down from the roof voluntarily at 7.30pm. He was arrested on suspicion of aggravated criminal trespass and causing a public nuisance.

Earlier this year he was twice found in contempt of court for publishing details of case in social media. Mr Lukjanenko was sentenced to 56 days suspended for a year in January 2017 and again, for a separate offence, in July.

Emotional abuse in Medway Council area

The Government’s most recent figures show wide variations in numbers of children taken into care and reasons given. The discrepancy shows up widely in the contrast between the two councils in Kent. These are Kent County Council and, funnily enough, Medway Council.

Kent County Council took 1,049 children into care in 2015-2016. The population of Kent CC area at the last census was 1,541,900. Under 20’s were 360,605. So a Kent child has a 0.29% chance of being ‘in care’.

Medway Council took 539 children into care in 2015-2016. The population of Medway’s council area at the last census was 263,925. Under 20’s were 74,000. So a Medway child has a 0.73% chance of being ‘in care’.
In Kent County Council, 656 children were taken for neglect, 63% of the total and higher than the national average for England. The Council took 203 children for ‘emotional abuse’. That is 19%, which is lower than England’s national average.

But in Medway, 237 children (44%) were taken for neglect and 257 (48%) for emotional abuse. Given Medway’s far lower population, are we really being asked to accept that children in Chatham and Rochester are suffering ‘emotional abuse’ (whatever that is) over six times more than children in Canterbury and Ramsgate?

Or is something rather odd going on in Medway Council Social Services? And if it is, are we justified, to use the old Watergate expression, to ‘follow the money’?

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12 comments

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  1. Rox

    What is their motive for treating Eugene Lukjanenko unfairly ?

    1. Stephen

      This is the big question. Is it money? Ideology? Empire-building? Social worker training? Malice? Incompetence? Bureaucratic inability to admit mistakes? Anyone have any other ideas?

      1. Andrew C

        It’s power put into the hands of those who are unfit to be trusted with it. Some of the worst dictators of all are the incompetent ones.

        Stalin was one, from a family of cobblers. He would have made a good cobbler, but given the power to run the entire Soviet Union he must have felt way out of his depth, and he became frightened that he would be found out. Originally he was head of a team, known as the Polit Bureau. He must have found other members to be far better educated and intelligent than himself, so he had a clampdown and removed their power and became supreme dictator. The actions of trying to cover his incompetence had led to that incompetence being even more of a problem, as a kind of vicious circle mechanism.

        Polpot was another. He may well have been well-meaning and had all the right ideas when he came into the job, but because of his supreme stupidity it ended up that his generals were helping themselves to the power he was entrusted with, and the dodgier the general the more power they helped themselves to, but Polpot got the blame. A third example is Mao, who tried to run Chinese industry amongst other things, and impoverished millions in doing so. 50 million died under his rule.

        So now the state have taken nearly all the power away from everyone, even in private family matters, they must know they are unfit, so they clamp down and seize even more power as a form of primordial self protection. This will only end when the people take back the power stolen from them by governments. Thumbs up to those in your article who are taking them on.

        1. Mark Jones

          interesting point(s), Andrew C

  2. V37

    If your report is correct that Sarah identifies as a Ms, I would suspect her parenting skills – do those who deny marriage (breaking the Miss/Mrs tags) really provide a good basis for children?

    1. Stephen

      We call her that because we try to be formal but do not know the correct form in this case.

      1. Rox

        A bit outrageous, V37 , if I may say so.

        I know quite a few happily married women with normal “parenting skills” who call themselves “Ms” for various reasons, mostly young women (well, they would be, but it’s not something the previous generations did because it hadn’t been invented, that’s all).

        Um, V37’s logic leads me into intriguing territory. Presumably it’s necessary for men to identify themselves as Master (perhaps Ma) before marriage, and Mister (Mi) only after marriage. Then we will be able to detect that those who call themselves Mr deny marriage and have bad parenting skills.

        If my suggestion seems ridiculous, have another think.

        Some women are legitimately Dr or Professor, as are some men. What does V37 think of that ?
        It will be necessary (it is now for the women) to distinguish their parenting skills by piling up the titles (as with the German “Herr Doktor”).
        I suggest for women Dr Mrs Brown, or Dr Miss Brown. etc. Dr Ms Brown if they are not good parents, of course.
        Then we will all know where we stand.
        For men we will see Professor Ma Brown MA etc. Professor Sir John Brown is already in use, it’s not all that strange. (I have almost convinced myself, actually !).

  3. Eugene

    I regret that nothing else brought your attention, V37…

  4. Eugene

    Answer is if Medway or any other council only investigate casesof real abuse like sexual ir physical, then most of SW would have become redundant. Not much cases will be left. Scum does not investigate Rochdale, Newcastle, Rotherham scandals. Scam grabs children like my son.

    1. Rox

      Or it might be because they don’t like you repeatedly describing them as “scum” and similar. This gives the impression that you don’t understand what their actual concern is. There must be something behind all this.
      They just don’t grab most children, you know.

      1. Stephen

        They appear to put more effort into ‘child protection’ than into keeping families together though, that’s for sure. And why is ’emotional abuse’ six times the problem in Medway than in the rest of Kent? There are, actually, wicked people in the world. It should not be surprising if some of them are working for social services. Then there are empire builders. And then there is money. I should love to know what motivates the child snatchers. Any social workers out there prepared, confidentially, to blow the whistle?

  5. Rox

    I don’t know why, except to point out that Rochester, Gillingham and Chatham are not the same kind of place as Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and Canterbury, not are the industrial Thames and Medway quite the same as the seaside. But then I came across this (in Wikipedia, where else ?) :

    ” Medway is also home to the third largest Home School population of children in the UK after the Isles of Scilly and Isle of Wight ” .

    I think there may be a rat to be smelt somewhere.

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