SIRF has recently come out with two articles on Fraser Perring’s charlatanism [1,2]. (I have previously written about Perring’s Viceroy Research here and here.) While I am strongly of the opinion that Perring is a charlatan, I question the attacks on Perring’s history as a social worker. Many people who attack Perring point out that he was barred/banned from being a social worker. In my opinion, the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (that barred him from social work) and Lincolnshire County Council’s Children’s Services also deserve scrutiny. They may be just as dishonest as Fraser Perring.
Problems with child protective services agencies in general
Western societies generally worship the idea that child are best raised by their biological parents (or relatives). Because of this and because of political factors, CPS agencies often have a stated policy of re-uniting children with biological family. Unfortunately, this policy is incredibly damaging in the real world. Abusers rarely change and often pretend to have ‘reformed’ themselves so that they restart/continue the abuse. If children are re-united with adults who have abused them previously, it is extremely likely that the abuse will continue. It’s incredibly perverse to put abuse victims back with their abusers. Sadly, many CPS agencies will push for this and will give preferential treatment to abusers if they have a biological relationship with their victim.
The HCPTS argued that Perring did not give notice to the child’s relatives that the child would be put into closed adoption. I can’t figure out why this is important enough that a social worker should be barred. If abuse really did occur, then the abusers will not be surprised if their victim is taken from them. They abused the child and they know what they did. Is it really a big deal for abusers to have the right to be informed about why their victim is being taken away from them? No. The abuse victim’s welfare should be of a much higher priority and the CPS agency should focus on making sure that the child does not receive further abuse.
The panel is silent about whether or not Mr and Mrs W abused a child
Mr and Mrs W are the child’s aunt and uncle. In my opinion, it’s important as to whether or not they abused their niece/nephew so badly that a closed adoption was pursued. The written decision only discusses how Mr W was a credible witness:
[Mr W] was entirely honest about the first communication from the Registrant being on 20 June 2013
Obviously, child abusers regularly lie about their abuse so skepticism is healthy in this line of work. Despite this, the panel simply describes the (?alleged?) child abusers as being “entirely honest”. There is no discussion about whether or not the abuse was so extreme that a closed adoption is warranted.
The panel doesn’t care about the child
It seems obvious that a mistake was made:
- The child should have been taken away from Mr and Mrs W much earlier.
- Fraser Perring screwed up in recommending a closed adoption for the child.
Either the child was (A) severely abused or (B) was (almost) unfairly taken away from good/mediocre caregivers. That should be the real issue. Instead, the panel focuses on issues that don’t really matter.
In my view, the people who barred Fraser Perring from social work seem overly interested in covering up the mistakes that were made regarding the abuse inflicted upon the child by Mr and Mrs W. They don’t seem to care about preventing future mistakes (e.g. leaving a child in an abusive household). Instead, they want to shoot the messenger (Fraser Perring). The kangaroo court was mostly a pointless exercise anyways because it was extremely unlikely that Perring would work in social work again with his ex-employer.
Overworked social workers
The HCPTS’ version of events states the following:
SC was clear that the Registrant was not overloaded with work but that there was a considerable transition taking place within the department at the time.
This is worded in a bullshit manner because “considerable transition” is an euphemism for something. It seems that even the panel’s witnesses are of the opinion that the social workers had excessive workloads. That’s not unusual in the child protective services world.
The decision relied on hearsay evidence:
The Panel took account of the -inherent limitation arising from hearsay evidence from the IT Department as such evidence had been presented without those witnesses giving live evidence. However, the Panel felt able to attach sufficient weight to the hearsay evidence as it resulted in the production of documentation that was available for the Panel to consider and the evidence was underpinned by the evidence from live witnesses.
This is a terrible idea because Fraser Perring and his former colleagues are all accusing each other of lying and falsifying evidence. One should not simply assume that either side is being honest. It’s possible that both sides are dishonest.
The bottom line
I don’t know if Fraser Perring was a good social worker or not. He has exhibited plenty of dishonesty and is probably not somebody that you would want to hire. Regardless, I have serious concerns about Lincolnshire County Council’s Children’s Services. Perring’s former colleagues there definitely seem dishonest to me. Those people are being overseen by a panel that accepts hearsay evidence.
I would not be surprised if Children’s Services in Lincolnshire County have been doing an abysmal job at protecting children from their abusive parents.
The bigger picture
The heartbreaking truth is that society often does a terrible job at protecting abuse victims.
- Children’s Aid Services are often conflicted because they have a mandate to put abuse victims back with their biological abuser. It’s a terrible idea in the real world.
- Legal systems often give abusers unnecessary power over their victims. Abusers can force their victim out of non-abusive situations (e.g. through runaway laws), prevent their victim from having a job, make medical decisions for their victim, and interfere with their child’s ability to fund their college education. Society should make it much easier for teenagers to emancipate themselves (or to become wards of the state) so that they can free themselves from their abusive parents.
- The psychiatric profession often inflicts harm onto patients. Some abusers exploit psychiatry to give their victim a stigmatizing label (e.g. autism) or to force them into taking unnecessary drugs (many of which are addictive and lack thorough research on children).
We should not assume that there are systems in place to protect child abuse victims. Unfortunately, many preventable tragedies are currently ongoing. While I’m no fan of Fraser Perring, we don’t need to assassinate his character by constantly pointing out that he was barred from social work. Rather, we should question whether or not his accusers are just as dishonest as Mr. Perring. More importantly, we should recognize the reality of child abuse. It’s heartbreaking and there’s so much more that we can do for the victims.
Justice for Children is a nonprofit that focuses on helping child abuse victims. Its founder has written an interesting article on problems that affect CPS agencies in the US.