Protecting the vulnerable from the vulnerable

Driving home from work this evening I heard a news story that made my heart lurch.

The Guardian neatly surmised the story in this headline Mother admits killing her 12-year-old autistic son after making him drink bleach. It’s reported that the mother, Satpal Kaur Singh, feared social services would take the boy away. She has admitted manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.

Apparently the Singh said she had heard voices telling her, “It’s time. It’s the end. God’s calling us” after refusing to co-operate with council staff who were concerned about her parenting skills. It’s also reported that a suicide note found at the home, said Singh had killed herself and her son because they had been “scrutinised and hounded by social services”. Whether this persecution was real or perceived, it appears that a vulnerable child was being looked after by a vulnerable parent. Tragedy, perhaps inevitably, ensured.

I don’t know what it is about stories like this that affect me so. But I wish they didn’t. Perhaps it is some natural instinct that, as a parent myself, means my subconscious tries to place me in the same circumstances in order to see how I might react. And I wonder if I might also find myself wanting.
We all have periods of vulnerability. It just the depths that differ. If only this mother could have reached out for help…for the sake of her son, who could not.

Comments are closed.