My Lords, I support Amendment 40BZB in the name of my noble and learned friend Lady Butler-Sloss. I am sure that many of your Lordships are aware that very often there is a cycle of family dysfunction from one generation to the next. For instance, we know that many of the young women who come through the care system are more likely to have their children removed from them in due course.
One of the results of early neglect in childhood can be the development of a character which is very resistant to advice or intervention from others. Being rejected by one’s parents at an early age can give rise to a personality that is very wilful and resistant to others, understandably, because such people may distrust others around them. I can see this amendment being particularly helpful when one thinks of a parent who may be very wilful, who may believe absolutely, “I am not going to be told by anybody else what to do. I know how to bring up my own children”. That wilfulness may be influenced by their early experience. Dealing recently with a middle-aged man whose mother was an alcoholic and talking to the health professionals dealing with him, it was striking that no one could tell him what to do. He resisted all attempts to provide him with treatment and any advice from those around him, even the professionals.
The particular advantage of this amendment is that it may help individuals who are very resistant to taking advice from professionals. It may just be the extra incentive that will give them the chance to try something different with their children or to seek help for themselves when they are very distrustful of other people and professionals. I hope that is helpful.