Association of McKenzie Friends
voluntary public interest advocacy
Chairperson: Belinda McKenzie; Intelligence Analyst: Tony Farrell
Web Publisher: Sabine K McNeill; Treasurer: Peter Bellett
Patrons: John Hemming MP; Austin Mitchell MP
The Pedro Family
How UK child ‘protection’ causes emotional and physical harm –
behind the secrecy of family courts –
written for the Portuguese Authorities
The Pedros are one of some 1,000 families torn apart every month in the UK. They came to Grantham in 2006, after the father was made redundant in Portugal. Their 5 children, aged between 2 and 13, were taken on 23 April 2013 – by police officers and social workers of Lincolnshire County Council, without paperwork. “We don’t need to give you reasons.” The children were held in police custody for 72 hours, before being split between two foster families. More recently, the oldest boy has been put into ‘respite’ care.
The justification for taking the children was created after the event – very similar to the Nigerian family whose 7 children were taken by Haringey Council: in both families, the oldest child is used to accuse the parents of wrong-doing. With the Pedros it was the father who had supposedly entries on Police records. But their truth and validity has never been checked and it is well known that these are being falsified.
What follows is typical for what veteran observer Ian Josephs has published under what’s unique in the UK: 1. the parents get a ‘gagging order’ and are threatened with imprisonment, if they speak out about their grief. After the Pedros received such a gag, they contacted the Association of McKenzie Friends which has become familiar with many cases through publishing State Kidnapping, Punishment without Crime, Victims Unite and a few extreme cases such as Melissa Laird, Phil Thompson and the Pedros.
Local Authorities employ Social Workers who are supposed to help and support families. In reality, they are out to meet adoption targets and put as many children into foster care as possible. The human outcry is visible in this Dossier of Evidence that we put together for the EU Petition Abolish Adoption without Parental Consent – the second unique characteristic. According to Lincolnshire County Council, the two youngest Pedro children are supposed to be adopted.
The Pedros have also experienced the 3rd unique aspect: in ‘contact’ sessions they are not allowed to speak Portuguese and to talk about the situation the children find themselves in. Contact sessions are used as a major weapon in the psychological warfare between parents and Social Workers.
They use the secrecy of family courts to hide behind, supposedly to protect the identity of the children. They are advertised like pets, when it comes to adoption though, as Christopher Booker published in The Telegraph – the only journalist reliably reporting about case after case, including the outrageous ‘gag’ of the Pedros: We can send you to jail for objecting to an offence we’ve yet to specify.
Most judges sanction what social workers are doing. They get ‘professionals’ and ‘experts’ to support their claims, even though the report by Prof. Jane Ireland said that one in five experts is not qualified.
Hence the Pedro case fills 4 Lever Arch files of documents and the court bundle for the ‘full hearing’ alone covers 351 pages. How can any foreign parent be expected to read, let alone understand what is going on, when they are experiencing punishment without having committed a crime and grieving without their children having died – Ian Josephs’ 4th unique aspect.
In Parliament, John Hemming MP is the only MP who regularly stands up and fights for Justice for Families, a campaigning group that he chairs. Recently he convened a meeting with 59 representatives of over 30 countries who expressed their international concerns about UK law.
He tables ‘Early Day Motions’ addressing related issues, e.g.
- National Debate on Child Protection where 48 Parliamentarians support him
- Care Proceedings affecting Foreign Nationals – tabled in the wake of the ‘womb scandal’ in Essex
- and Barnardos and tackling child sexual exploitation – supported by 85 MPs.
In the Pedro case, it is hoped that the Portuguese authorities will follow the trend that the Slovak Embassy set in motion a year ago when two Slovak boys were returned after 920 days in captivity – after the father had lost his job, house, marriage and family – due to the abuse of power by Social Workers and related agencies such as Police, doctors and ‘experts’.
High-profile Vicky Haigh who was the first to be named in Parliament by John Hemming MP had been imprisoned for saying ‘hello’ to her daughter whom she met accidentally at a petrol station. Whilst in prison she observed who the mothers are who are being targeted:
- foreign nationals whose work visas expired — they take their children
- women who go to the authorities for help after sexual abuse — they take their children
- women who are physically abused by their husbands — they take their children
- women who are arrested kept in a cell overnight and released without charge
- women who take their children to the NHS after a fall or illness
- women who suffer from depression
- women who have had a child taken from a previous abusive relationship and get pregnant again
women who go abroad — they find them and take their children.