The Family Court has ruled that a five year-old girl was abused by her mother and partner.
In July 2014, the local authority applied for a care order after the girl, ‘A’, made allegations of sexual abuse against her mother’s partner. She was subsequently placed in foster care.
Prior to these events, staff at her nursery and some extended family members expressed concern that she had exhibited “sexualised behaviour”. Her foster carers also said that A continued to behave in this way after she was placed with them.
A was interviewed by police and explained what her mother’s partner, ‘Z’, had done to her. She later claimed her mother had also been involved.
The mother denied any wrongdoing and insisted that Z had not abused the girl either. She repeatedly called A “a liar” and said that everything her daughter alleged had been made up. The mother suggested that A’s sexualised behaviour could be the result of overhearing conversations between her and her partner. She admitted that she “talked about sex with Z in front of A” but claimed it had been “mainly innuendo”.
Additionally, the mother and Z claimed A could have been influenced by “provocative videos” by pop star Miley Cyrus, reality show Geordie Shore or pornography. However, both said that if the girl had accessed pornography, it was not on their phones.
In a fact finding hearing at the Family Court in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Her Honour Judge Moir said that the couple were “mendacious and unreliable”. She added that she could not believe anything they said unless it was “backed by other cogent and reliable evidence from other sources”.
The judge noted A’s behaviour only changed once Z had moved in with the mother and concluded that, on the balance of probabilities, he had abused the child. While she could not say “exactly what part each played” in the abuse, she believed the mother was also involved.
To read Re L (A Child), click here.
Photo of Newcastle by Neil Thompson via Flickr