For the record … you can ‘tape’ social workers but not your children

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Interesting point here … lawyers have warned that recording your children in custody battles is wrong BUT now it appears it could be a good thing to make recordings of meetings with social workers.

Researching Reform,  a project dedicated to child welfare in the family justice system, has said that while local authorities and social workers try to discourage recording, claiming confidentiality, data protection and human rights principles, there is nothing in law preventing families from audio recording child protection meetings.

Researching Reform said: “When we assist parents, our advice is always robust – by all means record the session. Whilst it is good practice to ask for the agreement of all involved in the first instance, if that agreement is not forthcoming, covert recording, (recording done without the other parties’ knowledge or consent) is a method of last resort.”

And the reiterates what the group says, covert recording is fraught with difficulties if you want to use it as evidence at any time. But families can find it hard to grasp all of the information they are given   and need to record it.

However, lawyers said recently that it is a dangerous move to record what your children have to say about your ex-partner for instance.

Parents, they say, are resorting to filming and recording their children in desperate attempts to win custody.

In an effort to gather evidence against ex-partners they are using mobile phones and tablets to record their children but the lawyers have warned that it can backfire.

Cara Nuttall, a partner at JMW Solicitors, said: “Many often fail to recognise how harmful such behaviour can be, or how negatively it can impact on their case.

“Their aim is to try to ‘prove’ to the court the child’s wishes and feelings that they prefer to spend time with them or don’t like being with the other parent.

“Smartphones and other technology make it extremely easy to record a child, and many see this as the best way to prove their point. But it is rarely the answer and the manner in which it is done tends to do more harm than good.”

Parents risk the local authority intervening over concerns for a child’s welfare or to restrict the amount of time they can spend with the child.

They also risk breaking data protection laws, especially if the recordings also capture other children. Last year a father lost custody of his daughter after sewing bugs into her school blazer in an attempt to listen in to her meetings with her social worker.


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