There is a lack of knowledge around child development, attachment, domestic abuse, family dynamics, and little understanding of what might constitute a risk of harm to a child. There is often a lack of curiosity and over reliance on what seems, at first glance, most apparent. And where there is clear indication of likely harm – at times this is not identified, and rarely is a referral made to safeguarding services.
I am not alone in these concerns; they are not new. They go back more than 30 years. “The lack of understanding of child development and family dynamics can result in an adult view rather than a child-centred one.” Such concerns, in addition to others around the interviewing of children, determining “genuine” views and potential “severe consequences on the child’s psychological state and social environment” led to recommendations for improvements and reform234 . Nearly 10 years later, these concerns have yet to be addressed.