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  1. #11
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    Usually I would say that it depends on intent. But a judgement call often has consequences that aren't intended, so in that case I would say recurrence.
    Yet... there is so much to it.

    I do not think it is ever ok to walk away from a child (specifically under 2.5) in a bath or a car. But would not really consider it 'intent' so much as 'negligence'.

    There are just so many factors that I cannot quantify it adequately.

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    Subbing to read and reply later.

  3. #13
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    Default TRIGGER WARNING: Where is the line between tragic accident, tragic error of j...

    I don't know if there is a clear line. All I know is that sometimes I look at the totality of a situation (either before or after something bad happens) and it's either murky or clear cut in terms of parental culpability.

    For example, in another thread a parent is considering taking an unvaccinated 3 week old newborn on a flight. To me (and yes others may not have the same view) this is a clear cut case. The risks are so known and so publicised that if the baby caught a vaccine preventable illness as a result then the parents would hold some culpability.

    I don't know about the Zoe case however if a parent was holding a party at their house and someone was able to kill their child under their nose then it must have been pretty damn clear at some point that they had not been fulfilling their parental responsibilities.

  4. #14
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    Default TRIGGER WARNING: Where is the line between tragic accident, tragic error of j...

    Just looked up the Zoe B case. The mum knew the killer had just been released from prison for violent offences and decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and let him into her house. She left the party for a couple of hours. Didn't check on her daughter until 11am the next day. To me although the killer is to blame this is also clear cut case of where parents made terrible calls that other 'reasonable' people wouldn't have made. The parent involved should have been charged with neglect as well.
    Last edited by VicPark; 30-12-2016 at 06:36.

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    Really interesting topic and discussion here.

    I guess for me, the line is crossed when the tragedy is a result of a situation that the parent should have or could have prevented if a logical risk assessment was done.

    To me, your child's welfare should ALWAYS be the number one priority. Every situation you place them in, you should be considering how potentially safe they are going to be.

    The case of Zoe B, her mother completely failed her by leaving her 11 year old in a house with people she barely knew who were effected by booze/drugs. Whilst she didn't commit the crime, had she been more protective of her daughter, she would not have been placed in this situation.

    Tragic accidents, to me, are things like a parent reversing their car over a child that they thought was inside the house. A parent who was confident that their backyard gate was locked, but it wasn't, and their child runs onto the road and is hit by a car.

    A tragic error of judgement is leaving your child with someone who you don't completely trust, but you do it anyway and as a result, your child dies at their hands. Or leaving young children unsupervised around the pool as you expect the older children to be responsible for the little ones, but the baby ends up drowning.

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    Default TRIGGER WARNING: Where is the line between tragic accident, tragic error of j...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mod-Degrassi View Post
    Really interesting topic and discussion here.

    I guess for me, the line is crossed when the tragedy is a result of a situation that the parent should have or could have prevented if a logical risk assessment was done.

    To me, your child's welfare should ALWAYS be the number one priority. Every situation you place them in, you should be considering how potentially safe they are going to be.

    The case of Zoe B, her mother completely failed her by leaving her 11 year old in a house with people she barely knew who were effected by booze/drugs. Whilst she didn't commit the crime, had she been more protective of her daughter, she would not have been placed in this situation.

    Tragic accidents, to me, are things like a parent reversing their car over a child that they thought was inside the house. A parent who was confident that their backyard gate was locked, but it wasn't, and their child runs onto the road and is hit by a car.

    A tragic error of judgement is leaving your child with someone who you don't completely trust, but you do it anyway and as a result, your child dies at their hands. Or leaving young children unsupervised around the pool as you expect the older children to be responsible for the little ones, but the baby ends up drowning.
    I've been thinking long and hard about how to write my response and I 100% agree with the above.

    Accidents happen, some are really unfortunate and tragic, others could easily be prevented. So I would assess everything on a case by case basis.

    The Zoe B case, the mum was definitely negligent. Whether that means she should be charged or punished..... Hmmm I think the death of her daughter is punishment enough.

  9. #17
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    Default TRIGGER WARNING: Where is the line between tragic accident, tragic error of j...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mod-Degrassi View Post
    Tragic accidents, to me, are things like a parent reversing their car over a child that they thought was inside the house. A parent who was confident that their backyard gate was locked, but it wasn't, and their child runs onto the road and is hit by a car.
    That's the tricky bit though. Because although I totally agree with your post, there will always be someone that says 'that would never happen to me. I never ever get into the car without making sure my child is in their special Velcro tracksuit stuck to the Velcro safety wall in her room so I know there's no chance that they'd be hit by me.' Or; 'what were they thinking, having xyz lock on their gate with no wireless manual locking overlocking override system? NEGLECT.' Obviously I am being a bit facetious here, but we see these sorts of discussions on the hub all the time. So to some people nothing is a tragic accident, everything is avoidable.

    I agree that some examples are totally cut and dry, but there are many, many grey areas.

    I wonder if some of it has to do with what has been modelled previously in someone's family? In Zoe's case, perhaps her mother grew up with a family where there were lots of parties, people came and went, some were strangers and some weren't, and nothing ever happened to her so it hampered her risk assessment? Like when people say 'well I did [insert stupid behaviour] when I was a child and nothing ever happened to me!'

    I also think for me personally, whether it's neglect, unawareness, a split second poor decision, tragic accident...the results would be the same: a person tormented by grief and loss and guilt for the rest of their lives. I don't see the point of punitive measures. (Obviously I'm not referring to knowingly abusing your child or allowing it to happen.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by harvs View Post
    I wonder if some of it has to do with what has been modelled previously in someone's family? In Zoe's case, perhaps her mother grew up with a family where there were lots of parties, people came and went, some were strangers and some weren't, and nothing ever happened to her so it hampered her risk assessment? Like when people say 'well I did [insert stupid behaviour] when I was a child and nothing ever happened to me!'
    It would be interesting to know if this was the case.

    What seems like a terrible idea to some, may have been completely 'normal' to Zoe's mum?

    I recall the media spoke to neighbours and they did report that the house would regularly have loud parties.

    Some people just don't see the potential risks - not everyone has the same upbringing, insight, or priorities to effectively keep their children from harm. Sad but true.

  12. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by harvs View Post
    That's the tricky bit though. Because although I totally agree with your post, there will always be someone that says 'that would never happen to me. I never ever get into the car without making sure my child is in their special Velcro tracksuit stuck to the Velcro safety wall in her room so I know there's no chance that they'd be hit by me.' Or; 'what were they thinking, having xyz lock on their gate with no wireless manual locking overlocking override system? NEGLECT.' Obviously I am being a bit facetious here, but we see these sorts of discussions on the hub all the time. So to some people nothing is a tragic accident, everything is avoidable.

    I agree that some examples are totally cut and dry, but there are many, many grey areas.

    I wonder if some of it has to do with what has been modelled previously in someone's family? In Zoe's case, perhaps her mother grew up with a family where there were lots of parties, people came and went, some were strangers and some weren't, and nothing ever happened to her so it hampered her risk assessment? Like when people say 'well I did [insert stupid behaviour] when I was a child and nothing ever happened to me!'

    I also think for me personally, whether it's neglect, unawareness, a split second poor decision, tragic accident...the results would be the same: a person tormented by grief and loss and guilt for the rest of their lives. I don't see the point of punitive measures. (Obviously I'm not referring to knowingly abusing your child or allowing it to happen.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Mod-Degrassi View Post
    It would be interesting to know if this was the case.

    What seems like a terrible idea to some, may have been completely 'normal' to Zoe's mum?

    I recall the media spoke to neighbours and they did report that the house would regularly have loud parties.

    Some people just don't see the potential risks - not everyone has the same upbringing, insight, or priorities to effectively keep their children from harm. Sad but true.
    I think some of what both of you have said is what I've been thinking about.
    If parents haven't experienced positive modelling behaviours, it must be really difficult to see potential dangers in the same way others might.

    But then I wonder, is that good enough? Yes they've lost their child, and I agree the punishment of that would be almost too much to bare. But a child has died. A child has suffered beyond comprehension. A child that was entitled to be protected. And wasn't.
    Sometimes when I'm really angry, I wonder if we've become too quick to write really **** decisions off. If we've become so afraid of being labelled as judgemental, or for making our parenting so risk averse that we don't stand up and say - cut the ****. That leaving your child home during a party with alcohol and other drugs, with strangers, for several hours, while you're not in the home, is at the higher end of **** decision making and I'd be worried about any children left in that persons care ever again. And regardless of mental illness, drug use, not effing good enough.

    I can hand on my heart say - that would NEVER happen to me.

    That doesn't mean some of my decisions couldn't have the same outcome - my child might get hurt or worse.

    Today my 2yo went on the header with his dad for a couple of hours. Headers catch fire in paddocks during harvest every year. Yet DH and I have talked about it and made our decision based on our own risk assessment. to others that decision would be completely unacceptable and negligent.

    I guess that's where my back and forth comes from. Where is the line?

    I doubt we'll be able to answer it. I don't want to jump on the "2016 was the worst year ever" bandwagon, but i just felt like I heard more stories than ever before about kids getting hurt or worse, this year. And I wonder what on earth has happened to us.

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  14. #20
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    @TheGooch I think you're completely right, and I know that I do really struggle with taking my emotions out of the equation.

    Referring to your OP, I guess what I'm coming round to has more to do with your question of accountability. Is it right to have a line in the sand of 'accountable' when we don't all start on a level playing field in terms of education, knowledge, common sense, upbringing, culture etc.? Isn't that what all those QCs use to argue against custodial sentences?

    I don't know the answer to that. But then again, maybe the answer doesn't matter when, as you say, a child has died. Maybe the bottom line just needs to be 'did you f*** up in any way?' and leave it at that.

    People jumped up and down about Zoe's mother and said her other child/ren should be taken away. I doubt people will be saying that about the parents of those poor, poor twins who have just drowned. It's hard for me to get my head around the difference when you take the emotion out of it, except that there is some kind of arbitrary spectrum we place these events along, where we know that certain things could never happen to us, and others, well maybe they just might...

    Then I wonder what form the accountability would take. Jail? Jail is meant to protect society from dangerous people, or to rehabilitate criminals. Is that what these people need? What about those who have other children?


 

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