Family escapes British social services with diplomats' help

The family with four children, who were ordered to be removed from the family, managed to flee Britain through Ireland and return to Latvia due to the good will of the Irish police and help by Latvian diplomats, the family in question told LTV7's Segodnya Vecherom in a story aired Tuesday. 

The family had been living in the United Kingdom for some time. In November social services started probing the family on suspicion that the parents - Aleksandra and Jevgenijs - beat their children. A court decided to temporarily remove the children from the family.

Parents say their Nikita and their seven-year-old son Daniils were questioned without an interpreter. The family showed a document based on what the children said, containing allegations of domestic violence.

The parents told LTV7 they signed the document as social services threatened they'd remove their children if they didn't comply. They said social services also collected children's passports so that the children are looked after by friends or relatives of the family.

The children were given to their grandmother who resided nearby, however the parents decided to fetch their children and flee the country in fear that they won't see them again.

"We had the chance to drive to Ireland. We went to the Latvian Embassy there. We told everything as it was, that we want to return to our motherland with our children, that they are in danger. And at the embassy we were given new [travel documents] for the children," mother Aleksandra Pugačova told LTV7.

The Foreign Ministry was reserved over the matter. "Consular services were provided in a volume that was appropriate," Raimonds Jansons, a representative of the Foreign Ministry, told LTV7.

The family was stopped by the police in the airport, but, according to Aleksandra, the police let them board the plane after hearing out their case.

Even though the British family affairs court ruled that the four children - Latvian citizens - should be returned to the United Kingdom, it turns out social services hadn't asked for this. Documents received from the British social services don't demand or suggest this course of action.

The Justice Ministry has received information from the United Kingdom, noting the circumstances of the case and asking for it to be handed to the Latvian authorities - in this case, the Orphan's Court, which will have to look into whether the British social services had real grounds for being concerned for these children.

The family had been residing in the United Kingdom since 2011.

According to a court ruling, in November, one of the children, a child, named D in the ruling, was seen at school with a burn mark on his neck and another mark on his thigh. The child said his parents were responsible for the injuries.

Another child, N, was found to have bruising to the cheek. According to the court, the father said that the injury to the neck was caused by him in unclear accidental circumstances. The mother said that the injury to N's cheek arose from an incident in school.

The authorities and the parents agreed that while investigations took place, the children would be temporarily residing with the grandparents.

After about a week, the children did not turn up for school and it turned the parents had taken the children and left the district. According to the court, the six Latvian citizens had gone to Ireland, "apparently having left the UK to avoid these proceedings" and had booked a flight to Latvia.

Children being taken from Latvian families abroad is a contested topic, ever since the case of Laila Brice's daughter being removed from her sent waves across the media and incited a small picket by the United Kingdom embassy in mid-2014.

Earlier, Latvian Radio reported that in 2013 the Latvian Embassy in the United Kingdom received information about 40 incidents related to childcare in the families of Latvian citizens. Last year the number grew to 89, while this year 79 cases were reported by October.

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