Child protection

The parent snatchers: The School for Good Mothers, by Jessamine Chan, reviewed

Frida Liu, the 39-year-old mother of a toddler named Harriet, has a very bad day which will haunt her for the length of this novel. She is divorced from Harriet’s father, a middle-aged man called Gust who has left her for a 28-year-old Pilates instructor called Susanna. Harriet will only fall asleep, Frida explains, ‘if I’m holding her hand’. As a consequence, Frida herself has been averaging two hours sleep a night when she finally cracks and decides to leave her daughter unattended so that she can collect some papers from her work place. After her neighbours hear the child crying they call the police and Harriet goes to live

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and our broken child protection system

The official sentencing remarks on the short life and cruel death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes begin with this trigger warning from the judge: ‘This is one of the most distressing and disturbing cases with which I have had to deal.’ This week Emma Tustin was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 29 years for the murder of her stepson Arthur last year. Thomas Hughes, her partner and Arthur’s father, was sentenced to 21 years after being found guilty of manslaughter. Both were also convicted on several charges of child cruelty. In his sentencing remarks the judge described their behaviour as ‘cruel and inhuman’. And no wonder. In the space of just three