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Scotland (Desertion Of Children)

Volume 344: debated on Wednesday 1 March 1939

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asked the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to the social problem caused by mothers who leave their homes and their children; whether he is aware that it is becoming a regular thing for mothers to leave their children, and that in one case, a mother left a father with five young children; and whether, in view of the fact that a deserting father is quickly brought within the ambit of the law, he will consider what steps he can take to make men and women equally responsible in this matter?

The answer to the first and second parts of the question is in the negative. I have no reason to think that the existing law, and in particular the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act, 1937, does not afford sufficient protection against the desertion of children. But if my hon. and gallant Friend will furnish me with the particulars of any cases which may have come before him, I shall consider the position further.

Is there any warranty whatever for the slander on the women of Scotland involved in this question? Do the statistics show any increase in desertion?

I certainly have no material before me to support the suggestion.

Will the Lord Advocate refer to a statement made by the Inspector of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children at Dunfermline?

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the mothers of this country love their children too well to desert them, and will he dissociate this House from the foul accusation made in this question?