Rich parents neglecting their children are ‘using lawyers and powerful friends to scare off social workers’

Social workers’ experiences have been detailed in research commissioned by the City of London Corporation

Social workers have told of wealthy parents using lawyers, intimidation and powerful connections to shield their families from intervention over cases of neglect.

Their experiences have been detailed in research commissioned by the City of London Corporation.

It notified its children’s and safeguarding committee today it was adopting findings of the Goldsmith’s University study into its Service Improvement Plan.

The study focused on social workers serving 12 local authorities around the UK, excluding the City, to hear their experiences of confronting neglect among affluent families.

Professor Claudia Bernard’s study pointed out that while much research and social work training was focused on links between poverty and child neglect, it was rarely directed at wealthy families.

Previous research has suggested such abuse had gone under-detected, because of a bias in child protection authorities toward scrutinising families of lower socio-economic status.

However, emotional neglect among wealthy families could be difficult to determine, Prof Barnard said.

Psychotherapist and “boarding school syndrome” author Professor Joy Schaverien welcomed the research, saying she hoped the findings were noted by other local authorities.

She said her boarding schooled clients experienced early emotional isolation that left lifetime effects on sufferers’ ability to form healthy relationships.

Children live without love in these situations,” Prof Schaverien said. “It’s very difficult when you’re a child and you’re being told by your parents ‘it’s very good for you, we’re paying a lot of money for you; you had better make the most of it‘.”

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