Emotional abuse and neglect – There is an obligation on a Local Authority to prove their case. This is important both for allegations made against a parent and for assessing the capacity of a parent to look after the child. In some cases the allegations against a parent are unsubstantiated or not proven in any other context when that decision is taken by Social Work.
The Supreme Court decision In the matter of EV (A Child) (No 2) (Scotland) puts the emphasis on meeting the threshold test- a risk of serious detriment is not sufficient in itself. The Local Authority must prove its case. Crucially the Local Authority must address the three following issues through explanation and evidence:
- What is the detriment to the child in staying in the care of his or her parents?
- Why is this detriment considered serious?
- Why is this detriment considered likely?
Potentially more delays in system while evidence is gathered.
The message from the Supreme Court is clear that the onus is not on a parent to show they have the necessary parenting skills to parent the child, but rather for the Local Authority to assess and prove they do not have the capacity to parent the child.