"They can't do this. It's in contravention of article 16 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:
No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.
- it'd result in the 50,000 home educated children in the UK being thought of as potential 'abuse victims' and their parents as 'abusers': guilty by association," said Elaine (K, not G-H or any other Elaine!) on the phone to me last night.
She was talking about the apparent decision (citation, anyone?) to delay publication of the review's findings - first scheduled for May - until June, which just happens to coincide with the recently announced Khyra Ishaq trial date.
The thing is, the home educating community is already aware of at least one case of a child being bullied as a result of the completely spurious link made by Minister Delyth Morgan ("And in some extreme cases, home education could be used as a cover for abuse,") and then repeatedly supplied with the oxygen of publicity by the NSPCC, despite its Child Protection Policy Advisor, Vijay Patel, admitting that they had no statistical evidence on which to do so. And so I think Elaine has a very good point about the timing of these two events, which must not be allowed to coincide.
Page 19 of UNICEF's handbook: The Media and Children's Rights [opens pdf] relates directly to this article when it sets out the requirement to consider "the impact of controversy on the lives of the children concerned" and whether a story is "likely to encourage discrimination or incite hatred".
I've got Elaine's permission to quote her from our conversation when she said: "How can they [DCSF] justify holding a review into unfounded allegations of abuse - then publish the apparent findings in the throes of a media storm? Surely the blanket stigmatising of 20,000 families is abusive in itself!"
Personally, I'm not completely convinced that it's a deliberate ploy per se, but as Elaine said: if they're not aware of the problems the timing of this could cause for our children, we should make them aware of it and then there's absolutely no excuse for their wellbeing to be risked in this way. So I'll be including it in my side of A4 to Mr Badman.