Tuesday, September 16, 2008

SPCA spies on child abuse?

Oswald Bastable blogs on a scheme whereby the SPCA will report on "signs of child abuse" when inspecting or taking animals from homes, and Child Youth and Family will report signs of animal abuse and neglect while working on families.

Note this isn't about calling the Police and laying a complaint, but reporting to each other - in other words the SPCA, full of well intentioned animal lovers, will be judging whether there are signs of child abuse.

Obviously child abuse is a serious issue, and there are plenty of Police and teachers who see cases whereby children are being neglected, and there needs to be a judgement about intervention. However the SPCA? It isn't a state agency.

Obviously if anyone witnesses child abuse or finds children who have clearly been subject to physical or sexual abuse (hospitals encounter this not infrequently), there is reason to call the Police if there is no reasonable answer from the parents. The biggest flaw with the family unit is when the parents abuse their position of power and act as sadists at worst, or just ignore their kids - the state must be in a position to intervene beyond a certain threshold. However getting non-state bodies to spy, when they have no professional ability to make this call is disturbing.

4 comments:

Crampton said...

Doesn't it seem likely that the kind of folks who are more likely to abuse their animals are also the kind of folks who are more likely to abuse their kids? Sure, SPCA isn't trained to look for this sort of thing, but they're going to be in the places where I'd most expect to find it....

jamesp said...

I got the impression from last nights news that it was just an exercise in data sharing between the two agencies. The statistic that they quoted was a 90% correlation between abused pets and abused children. So if the SPCA becomes aware of pet abuse, which is within their competency, and sees that the owners also have children, an observable fact, then they give CYFS a heads up to take a look for child abuse. And similarly CYFS would give the SPCA a heads up to check the welfare of pets belonging to child abusers. So long as the SPCA isn't making determinations about child abuse I don't see a big problem.

Oswald Bastable said...

It all seems so reasonable...

Anonymous said...

It's called "Common Purpose"

It isn't good. Look up what common purpose is.

If you find Orwell's book 1984 perfectly acceptable then you're ok. If not ... oh dear, you['ll need re-programming at the nearest correction centre!

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