Patrick Butler propping up of Kids Company, while they swallowed all the funding locally(that should have been used for the many charities who face closure because there was no money for them or their service users) was one thing, but we need to clarify something.
ALL organisations who work with children understand child protection. They understand that child abuse allegations, allegations of sexual violence, largely do not meet the burden of proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. That criminality and the ability to meet that burden of proof, is not really relevant to how they approach allegations which should be expected. They know that as organisations working with children they attract predators. So when allegations are made, they have procedures. One of those procedures is ALWAYS knowing that an allegation not meeting the burden of proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ is not necessarily untrue, and certainly not evidence of malice. No organisation describes allegations made by young people as malicious because they do not meet a criminal burden of proof. Because that would reabuse the majority of kids in care for their protection in this country.
Organisations that don’t know this, who dont know about the gap between the balance of proof ‘on balance of probability’ and ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, are unsafe. They are not fit to work with children and are a danger to them.
Patrick Butler propping up this dnagerous organisation, founded on the premise that black single mothers having sexual autonomy is the root of deformation of children’s brains, was bad enough. It was shameful, and the Guardian should have stopped to reflect at the point at which Alan Yentob and Camilla Batmanghelidjh exposed the problem in front of a parliamentary committee.
This report is dangerous and demonstrates he should not be in post as editor of Society Guardian. You need someone qualified before he takes your newspaper down and you end up in the middle of a shitstorm you cant handle. Patrick’s laziness and his lack of knowledge about social policy, child protection is a problem. It is a problem in a newspaper that prides itself on being the half of political discourse that is not the right wing press. It’s dangerous. THis report demonstrates that neither Kids Company nor Patrick BUtler should be anywhere near child protection.
In addition I would like Patrick to be forced to read the judgement James Munby made, which stemmed a 26% rise in adoptions in one year. Many of those adoptions were women suffering domestic abuse, who lost their children because statutory agencies could not protect them or their children against abusers, and adoption was being used to cover that we have no safe system to remove children to. I sat with women like this as they grieved, I saw their children and the gross damage that was done, it was appalling.
The 26% rise in adoptions was news. In the context of austerity explicitly seeking to remove women’s ability to leave abuse it was big news. The 26% rise in adoptions in one year as a polital motif was a scandal.
The judgement is quite difficult to read, its troubling, and for ANY decent social policy journalist contains several lines of enquiry.
Patrick’s response was to commission repeated pieces from adoption agencies, and adopters, and like this one , whining about the baby supply being interrupted. Because according to Patrick, adoption is a consumer industry and it is right that women should have the means to leave abuse removed, and then their children packaged like a product. So right in fact that he did not read that judgement and think there was ANY point in investigating further, beyond complaining that product supply was interrupted.
When reporting on chlid protection, the child is at the centre, then the birth family, THEN adopters.
The problem is not that Society keeps social policy reporting in a silo, so it cant contextualise political editorial, although it does. The problem is not that Patrick appears to believe social policy is about his distaste or pity for the poor(and if he asks one more journalist for ‘more appealing case studies’ I will publish the communication-which I have). The problem is not that as a result of his lack of knowledge Society is shit. It is.
The problem is that his social policy editorship is dangerous. It is now actually harming, colluding with abuse, and covering up real crises that are unfolding. It needs to stop. You need to take him off that desk before he causes any more harm. While the people he reports on are nothing but objects to you and your staff, this has consequences, and it needs to end.
We have no way of holding you accountable. You make sure of it. But Patrick Butler is dangerous and he needs to be taken away from that job.