Children needed you?
Since September 2021, ARN have been calling on those who are tasked with advocating on behalf of our children to step in on issues such as mask wearing and lockdowns. We were concerned for their physical health and wellbeing while challenging the evidence for both these draconian measures, which often fell on deaf ears. A-long side our various challenges to government departments tasked to advocate for our children was NICCY. ARN has sought to raise awareness in measures that create vulnerability in people and businesses, and offer an alternative perspective by providing toolkits and best practice guidelines. These toolkits were designed to educate on how legal language is used, and empower people understanding the difference in law and policy by what was being presented to them. This would allow parents and the public in general to make a better and informed decision, while navigating through the various sets of government guidelines and company policies. It is often said “a parent knows what’s best for their children” and it’s a parents job to look after the health of their children, after all, a lot of new measures were being enacted as a matter of urgency and continue to exist on what appears to be limited and scant research, if any, into the physical and mental health of such measures.
It is now time for all in our community to hold our government departments to account so that we can ensure going forward we are governed with consent rather than being ruled over? We believe we need a new way of thinking, a new perspective and lens to interrogate new systems in place. We need to ask, how can we challenge authority and question how those implementing policy arrived at those decisions?
In March of 2022, at a virtual event run by local association and the association of directors of public health as reported by Laura Donnelly for the Telegraph Chris Witty said “I think there is big worry about the effects on mental health of particularly older people and children” In relation to children, he went on to say “school closures and disruptions caused by lockdowns could cause substantial long term damage to children” He continued to tell the conference “many aspects of public health had gone backwards over the last two years, including a significant worsening of childhood obesity” He said “evidence suggests that it has already caused an impact on the mental health of children with a rise in eating disorders, much longer consequences may yet to be seen” https://www.gov.uk/government/news/statement-from-the-uk-chief-medical-officers-on-schools-and-childcare-reopening
The question remains, how did we get here? Why were our children not protected and those tasked to advocate on behalf of children not step in? How was it that so many measures that had caused some great imposition on the lives of us all, especially children, had been introduced such as school closures, mask wearing in schools, sports being stopped and mixing with other children without considering the physical and mental health of our children? Covid 19 never posed a serious threat to our children according to a post on post.parliment.uk titled “latest evidence on impacts of covid-19 in children in March 2021, but yet our children had been locked down, couldn’t play with friends, play parks closed, all sports cancelled and schools shut their doors. According to a statement from the UK government, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/statement-from-the-uk-chief-medical-officers-on-schools-and-childcare-, they knew the damage these measures would cause, and the rate of sever disease in primary and secondary school ages compared to adults was low and hospitalisation was estimated to be 0.1% for children aged 0 to 9 and 0.3% for children aged 10 to 19. They went on to say and I summarize, transmission is probably not a common route, clear evidence from many studies show that the great majority of children and teenagers who catch covid 19 have mild or no symptoms at all. As parents, we trust those implementing such measures, was this misplaced from what we know now? As parents how could we have stepped in ourselves and evidenced the potential impacts and say “no, you don’t get to do that” When the system is not designed to allow that, especially when the government claimed these measures were urgent? If parents could not step in, why couldn’t our children’s commissioner’s have done so? Was it not the duty of that office? Whilst we accept that it is reasonable to rely on governmental proposals, there nevertheless, equally exists a duty to interrogate those proposals, especially when the consequences are self evident or axiomatic. It behoved our politicians to ask those questions, which Chris Witty now evidences as the consequences of those proposals. https://post.parliament.uk/latest-evidence-on-impacts-of-covid-19-in-children-march-2021/#:~:text=The%20latest%20ONS%20data%20published,aged%205%E2%80%939%20years%20old
How can these failings and those responsible assure their community they will never be repeated? To what standard do we need proposals seeking such impositions on our lives to be questioned? We want to be able to rely upon those seeking to apply impositions on our lives and those policing the imposition s not misbalancing power against us based on upon policy, guidance, and political messaging. Rather it is their duty to ensure they restrain the use their power by properly applying the law and recognizing the limits of their authority. Clearly this has not been the case and we now need to find a way to ensure that the exercise of power is rebalanced in equilibrium, because therein lies due process and justice.
We have many questions relating to the rights of our children and society in general, seemingly being ignored and overshadowed by the need for further political messaging, irrespective of the greater good it was seeking to achieve, which remained dubious because there was no evidence to substantiate the decisions leading to those messages. It is our view this was ignored. In our view, governments knew the dangers of lockdowns and restrictions, you only have to check their own website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wellbeing-in-mental-health-applying-all-our-health.
in relation to guidance on wellbeing . Many children’s charities have policies already in place to ensure the physical and mental health of our children and young people. Many medical professionals doctors and professors such as Carl Heneghan the director of the center of evidence based medicine questioned and challenged these measures. Was it right that people had been forced to stay at home only being allowed out once a day for walk while hibernating from the rest of society? Are we now reaping the consequences as per Chris Witty’s speech at the association of directors of public health
We must reflect on the past two years, we must learn from the failures and ensure a much more resilient population. We were vulnerable, but it is our belief that we as parents and community had, at the outset challenged these measures and been more knowledgeable then perhaps we may not just have been facing the mental and
physical health issues we are facing today. ARN believes in applying proactive methods with an effective due process that leads to the evidence allowing us to assess laws, regulations, plans, policy, guidance and practices. This creates a more in-depth perspective within which to understand how these proposals seeking to restrict our lives are to be enhanced and enforced by various government agencies and statutory bodies. We as parents must learn and should advocate on behalf of ourselves and our children. We must be the fulcrum in the first line of defence for our children and young people. We must learn to empower and educate ourselves in order to step in and say “No, you don’t get to do that” People who should have been there to protect our children weren’t. A vulnerable society will always depend on others to step in when they can’t, that is justice. We surely must realize that we need to become our own advocates. We must understand there is a need to become our own lawyers. We need to stop giving our power away unnecessarily. Upon reflection, I feel it’s time to consider how we change this going forward, can we as a society find a new way of thinking? With the chief medical officers own admission on the impact on our mental and physical health the lockdowns had, can it now be argued that such draconian measures can never again be introduced?
Advocacy Rights Network