Part 1 of Vivianna Graham's article is now also on SaveYourChildren, in a version not quite identical to the one in Sunday Guardian:
The baby at the centre of this story, Tristan, was the Graham’s first born. Like many new parents, new mothers especially, they were excited about their newborn and took many photos of him, sharing them with their friends and relatives on Facebook. So, quite by coincidence, we also have a running photo documentary of little Tristan’s life from the time he was born to the very day he suddenly had a seizure and was rushed by his parents to hospital. The photos show Tristan to have been thriving, loved and happy till the day of this seizure. The photo of the baby with his father at a restaurant that was taken just a few hours before his seizure, makes us wonder, not unreasonably, as to whether it makes sense to claim that moments later when the trio came home, the father flew into a rage for no apparent reason and viciously shook him!
Postscript – Harsh child protection laws that presume the family to be guilty are often justified with the argument that since no one knows what goes on in the home, we have to be cautious about taking parents or other care givers at their word. We are told that child abuse is a “hidden” phenomenon. But social media, and the ease with which photos and videos can now be recorded in the home actually gives a hitherto unparalleled window in real time into life in a family. This is something that the child protection system should take into account before assuming abuse. Obviously, this is cannot be the sole basis for evaluating a family. Happy family photos are not conclusive, and nor is the absence of such photos. But they can give us a lot of information that might be relevant in a case, especially in shaken baby allegations. If a baby is shown to be unbruised, gaining weight, cuddling and playing with parents and other care givers, day after day (and typically excited new parents will have a photo every few days, if not daily) then surely that should weigh with those evaluating the family for likelihood of abuse. In the first year of a baby’s life there are regular visits to the doctor – surely their testimony that the baby was well and unhurt should also be taken into account by child protection agencies before treating the case as of being such high risk that the baby has to be confiscated immediately even before the trial, indeed even before the investigation is complete. But photographic evidence and the baby’s regular doctors’ assessments are ignored, and the baby is taken into custody based solely on the abuse doctor’s claim that the injuries had to have been “inflicted.”
There have been cases in which the baby is photographed or videos have been taken almost daily during its massage or bath – this actually gives full-body visuals in real time of the baby which can counter allegations that there may have been injuries inflicted earlier on the baby which the parents hid. This is relevant in shaken baby syndrome allegations where the abuse diagnosis is based on the claim that in addition to the bleeds or injuries for which the parents brought the baby to hospital, there is also evidence of older injuries such as “old” internal bleeds or healed/healing fractures. In some shaken baby allegations the clincher according to abuse experts is that there is no external bruising on the baby. This is because the theory behind shaken baby syndrome is that the internal injuries are caused by harshly shaking the baby (in anger or frustration) of which evidence is provided by the fact that there are internal injuries but no external such as bruises or scratches. But photos taken by parents in the normal course can show that in fact there was bruising which the investigators failed to note. For example, in one case where there was bruising, the investigators failed to show up until after a holiday weekend. When they finally visited the baby in hospital, not only had the bruising lightened, but the baby’s forehead (which had bruises from the fall) was covered under a bandage-like apparatus which was part of the system being used to measure its brain activity in the hospital. So the investigators missed the bruises entirely and claimed abuse with the finding that there was no bruising. Later in the same case, when the bandage came off and the bruises were noted, they were recorded as “old” bruises and hence further proof of abuse, even though the bruises were fresh at the time of the baby’s being taken to hospital! – SaveYourChildren.In