A mother who used a wooden spoon to discipline her two young daughters, and was spotted slapping them by a school lollipop man, has paid a heavy price after a family judge took both children into care and ordered that they live with their aunt.
The mother had been seen striking her daughters, aged six and nine, outside their school. She claimed that she had just ‘tapped’ them, but the judge ruled that what she did to them went ‘well beyond reasonable chastisement’. He also found that she had on a number of occasions beaten them with a spoon.
The judge recognised that separating the children from their natural mother was a draconian step. The mother also deserved sympathy for her difficult background. However, he was left in no doubt that the mother had repeatedly and forcefully slapped both children about the head in anger and having lost control.
In circumstances where the girls had suffered emotional harm in the mother’s care, it was ‘unthinkable’ that they should live with her. Her ‘very warm and loving’ younger sister had offered the girls a stable home and the judge ruled that they should live with her. He restricted the mother to fortnightly contact with her daughters but said that contact arrangements would be reviewed in the future.