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‘Cinderella Law’: Criminalising parental authority?


Cinderella thumb

In this phenomenal discussion filmed at the Battle of Ideas, speakers provide a revealing and often shocking overview of the consequences of intervention in family life. From the ‘Named person’ act in Scotland to the criminalisation of alleged ‘emotional abuse’ of children, even raised voices or harsh looks can put parents in the dock. Does this create a situation where no one can exercise control over their own children? Are children being encouraged to interpret every criticism and hurtful remark made by their mum or dad as abusive?

Battle of Ideas session details

Article by Josie Appleton

Related topics: Debates

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Lara said:

What a great debate! I particularly liked Dr Stuart Waiton’s contribution. I think that this law encourages the view that parents are incapable of bringing up their children. By depicting the parent-child relationship as potentially damaging, it is inviting more and more state intervention into family life. I think is time we challenged this denigration of parents and this criminalisation of normal aspects of parenting.

Esther said:

Great line-up and interesting topic. I think with increased involvement of the state in family life, the family has less and less responsibility for their own well-being. For instance, you don’t need the family to look after you in your old age because there are old people’s homes, foster care/adoption if you can’t look after your own children or if your child doesn’t like the way you parent –then they can report you according to the law and so on. I agree with some of the comments in this video that parents can become confused and unsure of their parenting ability. Why can’t parents be trusted to make decisions that are right for them and their own children! The stories explored in this video are indicative of that.

Prevention science and epigenetic testing sounds scary! I think with this method, any parent can be a potential criminal. Every parent should have the right to adopt a parenting style that suits them and their children (bar abuse etc), who has the right to say that one particular style is better than the other – the state obviously!

I think the ‘Cinderella law’ is potentially dangerous. According to some of the surveys mentioned in this video, I am sure my parents (self-confessed ‘non conformists’) who adopted a liberal style of parenting would not have been viewed positively. And I am a well-balanced free thinker! But maybe with the invasion of family life, that is exactly what the state does not want?

Ceri Dingle said:

On your question Johnno it is a nickname for a new law that was announced in the Queen’s speech back in June after current child neglect laws were criticised for focusing on the physical effects of abuse only. The so-called “Cinderella law” makes it illegal to emotionally abuse children-inflict apparant psychological harm. It follows a campaign for the new offence by children’s charities. Parents in England and Wales who emotionally neglect their children could, for the first time, be prosecuted. The consequences are pretty dire as revealed in the panel discussion while of course at a superficial level it all sounds very good and child freindly.

Mohamed said:

This is really a Western phenomena as I don’t think all countries are so anti-family or can afford the luxury of being so intrusive.

Johnno said:

I agree this is very revealing but the bit I don’t get is what is actually meant by ‘Cinderella law’ can anyone explain please-all the points on the family are well explained but is this a nickname for an actual new law?

Sarah K said:

This is very good indeed and quite startling in fact, I hadn’t realised how far the levels of intervention had gone-I think it creeps in and because it all seems to be about children’s wellbeing we don’t question it or it’s dire consequences for parents and children.