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Covert video surveillance
  1. D M FOREMAN, Consultant/Senior Lecturer in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  1. Keele University, Keele, UK

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    Editor,—Shabde and Craft1 have misunderstood several issues addressed by Foreman and Farsides.2 Consequently, they make recommendations that could lead to children being exposed to unnecessary risk.

    The biggest ethical difficulty in covert video surveillance (CVS) is not that of breach of trust. It is the risk of harm to the child, who becomes a tethered goat, set to catch a tiger. These risks are not small.3 This makes CVS an investigation of last resort, as the “double effect” defence preferred by Shabde and Craft implies. Breach of trust is important to the extent that one must have good reason to break trust. Foreman and Farsides first demonstrated that this criterion was effectively the same as the burden of proof for action under The Children Act.4 Therefore, all cases for which …

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