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Missing child – left in police station

 

In this case, Newton J was very critical of both London Borough of Brent and the advocate who had originally appeared (who is not named and who is NOT the Mr Bain representing the Local Authority at this hearing)

 

London Borough of Brent and K 2015

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2015/658.html

 

B was a 16 year old child, in foster care. She had had a very difficult life and had been drawn into Child Sexual Exploitation as a victim. She absconded from her foster home. The Local Authority applied to the High Court for a collection order, and the Court was told that arrangements were in place for what would happen if and when the police located her.

 

In actuality, what happened was that the police located her that same day, at 7.30pm. They notified Brent of this. Brent were told at 7.58pm, by which time the case was with their Emergency team. Nobody turned up to collect this child until 2.30am, during which time she had remained at a police station. She didn’t leave the police station to go to a foster placement until 3.02 am

What happened in those intervening hours is nothing short of disgraceful. The Local Borough of Brent was told at 19:58 that the order had been executed. The Duty Team responded half an hour later. When they did respond it was to say that no adequate arrangements were in place, either for placement or transport. 

 

Remember that in making the collection order, the High Court had been told that afternoon that such arrangements WERE in place.

The strong message must go to all authorities that what occurred in this case is totally unacceptable, it has failed everyone, but principally B. It must not happen again.

 

What was happening in the meantime for B was deeply wrong

  1. The police, who self evidently ought to be dealing with other matters, had two response officers to sit with B, this vulnerable young person for several hours whilst the business of a busy police station continued around them. It hardly needs stating how inappropriate such an environment must have been for B. As a result of that, six extra officers were needlessly kept on overtime to cover their duties, at considerable expense. The police in this, as in other examples, in my experience discharged their responsibilities with enormous skill and care, not sadly reflected by the Local Authority.
  2. The police endeavoured to contact the emergency duty team in fact run by a different Authority, Harrow Social Services. The only information that was available to them were the details of the emergency duty team social worker, which, of course, the police already had, and who appeared to be quite unable to assist. The response was slow, she had received no arrangement details (because none existed), and seemed unable to put any in place. They refused to give details of anybody else in authority. The police were able eventually to speak to the emergency duty team social worker, but only after they had called her repeatedly. She refused to give the number of anybody in authority and able to take any decision, and in fact it was only, as I understand it, late in the evening (at 23:50) that the police were eventually given the number and name of the operations director for social care (who had been involved since 21.50), there continued to appear to be a lack of urgency. As a result, in desperation, the police contacted the council call line which is in Liverpool; it is a national call line dealing with all manner of emergencies. They had no contact numbers for Brent. The individuals there were unfortunately unhelpful, and refused even to identify themselves. As a result, B continued to be held in police custody for over seven hours. She was extremely distressed. Whilst I could not fault the dedication and professionalism of the police, it is difficult to imagine a more unsuitable environment.
  3. Eventually an escort arrived at 2.30am. Inexplicably, the Tipstaff were not notified when B had been collected from custody, nor were they notified subsequently of the details of the placement.
  4. It must be clearly understood by all authorities that when they apply to the court for these important and urgent collection orders that firm and appropriate arrangements MUST be in place, and MUST be held in place whilst the child is located. It is simply not acceptable for an application to be granted, as it most usually is, by a Judge and only then for enquiries to be made as to (a) placement and (b) transportation. Failure to do so is a failure by the individuals concerned and by the Authority amounting to abuse upon an already vulnerable child who has a right to protection.

 

 

The Judge was clear that in seeking the collection order itself, Brent had done the right thing and did not want to discourage Local Authorities making such applications when they were warranted, but that there had to be proper plans in place for what would happen when the police located the child, and proper lines of communication between the Local Authority and the police.  It seems ridiculous that the police in this case were driven to ringing numbers for a Council in Liverpool to get some communication with an out of hours service.

  1. What I say should not be thought to be an impediment on authorities making applications for such orders. They have parental responsibility and clearly such orders must be urgently sought in order to protect vulnerable young people, but it is totally unacceptable for them to have to remain in police custody while some sort of plan is cobbled together and then put in place.
  2. I have on this occasion deliberately not named the social workers involved in this case. It is now apparent that details were available to the Emergency Duty Team, because no arrangements had been put in place. [Suesspicous Minds note – I think that should read ‘no details were available’]It is unacceptable, to say the least, that the information given to the court was either inaccurate or misleading, or that placements or transport arrangements were allowed to fall, leaving it to the emergency duty team to try to devise a plan for placement for B, which they were not apparently well placed to do. I have the gravest reservations that the emergency systems in this authority are not remotely suitable or fit for purpose.
  3. The purpose of this judgment is to make sure that the practical arrangements on which the order is based must be in place and durable. Authorities must ensure that they are properly represented by advocates who understand what is required, and are able to give the information that is required by the court, accurate information, that the placements and consequent transport arrangements are ones which are available now and will be retained until the child has been safely recovered.
  4. If this situation ever arises again each individual can expect to be publicly named and shamed. It is incumbent on Authorities to ensure that robust processes are in place. That leaves aside any issue that the child or children concerned may have in their own right in applications or actions against the authority for a lack of care. I make it clear that what has happened in this case demonstrates a lack of proper practice and responsibility and must be rectified.

 

All of this would apply equally to applications for Recovery Orders (save for the bit about notifying the tipstaff) and Recovery Orders are somewhat more common than collection orders.

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About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

22 responses

  1. The report misses the point ! This girl was 16 years old not 6 ! Nobody apparently asked her why she left fostercare .Maybe like so many others, she was being sexually abused in care, but nobody cared a toss !
    At 16 she should be allowed to live wherever she chooses.After all if she had been living with parents and wanted to leave home nobody could have stopped her so why should social worker call the police on this girl who had committed no crime and who was described as a victim of sexual exploitation? Perhaps she got fed up with being sexually exploited and escaped only to be hounded by social workers and six police ! That is the real disgrace ……

    • Ashamed to be British

      Because a care order lasts until the young person is 18, the legal requirement until the child becomes an adult. They have a duty of care, just as a parent has.

      This is an utter disgrace, you’re right in some ways, if she was unhappy, they could put her in a hostel, while offering remote care, but tbh, the system, really needs renaming … ‘care’ is the last way I’d describe it

    • Had you bothered to actually read the judgement you might gain some faint glimmering of why this girl needed protection:

      ‘B was placed in Local Authority care in 2005. A placement order was made in November 2006, very sadly a final adoptive home was not identified for her as had been the plan. B suffered an enormous personal tragedy in 2013 and, during the course of 2014, her behaviour became increasingly difficult. She frequently absconded, sometimes for extended periods. She associated with others who were potentially very harmful to her. She was, and is, at risk of child sexual exploitation. On occasions she self-harmed. On any view B was a very vulnerable person indeed, requiring help, support, guidance and protection.’

      Instead of bothering to read the Judgement you simply decide that a profoundly traumatised young girl would have been perfectly safe out on the streets. This may be the case in Monaco but it sure as hell isn’t the case in London.

      I have lived here for over 30 years, and, whilst the Barbican cannot reasonably be described as life at the sharp end, you cannot live in London without coming into contact with homeless drug addicts, and girls who will sell themselves for money for the next fix. That’s even before you start with the organised crime of forced prostitution, where vulnerable girls are acquired by pimps and psychologically broken so they cannot resist, even when it comes to having to service 10 or 12 men a day. Such girls aren’t choosing to live elsewhere; they don’t have the power to make a choice.

      This girl is a prime target for such gangs; the Local Authority behaved disgracefully, as the Judge set out, but she was in need of protection from those who would have regarded her as a valuable asset. Forced prostitution is an immensely profitable business….

      • Yes Stevie prostitution is a profitable business and that is probably why so many social workers REFUSE to help children in their care escape from it !
        This girl wanted to stop being sexual abused and it took six police and a clutch of social workers to prevent her escaping this horror.
        All children of 16 can legally leave home and live where they like EXCEPT those in State care who are often kept reluctant prisoners of those who drug them and sexually abuse them .
        Shame on on all those who support such flagrant abuse of civil liberties !

      • Just so that I am clear here Ian, your remark is that social workers don’t help children in care escape prostitution because it is profitable. Am I wrong in saying that what you are infering is that such social workers are financially benefiting themselves from child prostitution?

  2. Let’s get back to the point, shall we?

    I can just imagine how this happened. Too many things which all have to come together. The lawyers, the police, the foster placement. The temptation to say “The lawyers and the police will take hours, get them started and while they are faffing about we’ll sort out the placement. Tell the lawyers everything is ready, it will be by the time the police get to her”. Only it wasn’t. And the rest followed.

    • Unfortunately it keeps happening; as the Judge noted a similar case had happened in the previous week. This isn’t a one-off where things went wrong for wholly unanticipated reasons; it’s one of many which go wrong for entirely predictable reasons, which is why the Judge was, if not incandescent, then certainly heading in that direction…

    • I think that you have called this exactly right. (Doesn’t make it okay, but it is almost certainly what happened)

  3. Last week the head of london’s police service was saying that after all the cuts they had been able to maintain their number of police officers and carried on as usual by changing practices etc.

    He went onto indirectly say that they would not be doing everything that they do at the present time in the future because of further cuts to come and that police officers should not be and will not be attending certain calls and situations that were the responsibility of others ( he was pointing the finger at social services and the NHS with the things he was saying).

    All across the country police forces are attending hospitals and care homes to deal with dementia patients and the mentally ill, many of these types of patients end up in their cells, WHAT are the “professionals” in the “caring” professions doing?????

    Social workers are having children in “care” arrested for criminal damage for breaking things and because of their behaviour (which they say they cannot deal with), again what are they doing?

    Theres loads of other situations where the “caring” profession and social workers are failing and putting their responsibilities onto the police. I hope the police start to tell them to deal with it all.

    In this case the police should of taken the child straight to the off duty social worker and saved their own budget and out the pressure on the social workers.

    • Well, in my daughter’s case she’s hoping not to get her head kicked in whilst she’s trying to save someone’s life.

      Hospitals have security staff, but they can’t be everywhere; most people being violent in an A&E aren’t doing so because of a medical condition like dementia. They are doing it because they are drunk and/or stoned on a vast variety of drugs, and they are, in fact, committing crimes. The last time I looked it is, in fact, the police’s job to deal with people committing crimes, just as my daughter’s job is to do her best to treat seriously ill people.

      I agree entirely that using any police force-we have a separate police force in the City of London itself- as a free baby sitting resource is impossible to sustain. But unless, and until, people stop handwaving it away as ‘stuff happens’, and recognise that police officers can’t be in hospitals dealing with people committing criminal offences which put the lives of others at risk, whilst simultaneously sitting in a police station looking after a vulnerable child because the Local Authority is grossly incompetent, then stuff will continue to happen.

      Of course, I’m biased, but I suspect that at least some of the handwavers would undergo a Damascene conversion should they ever find themselves at the sharp end…

      • With regard to what I actually saying your points,

        “Well, in my daughter’s case she’s hoping not to get her head kicked in whilst she’s trying to save someone’s life.”

        and

        “Hospitals have security staff, but they can’t be everywhere; most people being violent in an A&E aren’t doing so because of a medical condition like dementia.”

        Are IRRELEVENT………..!

        Both are attempts to divert attention from the REAL issues and excuse what is happening and protect the institutions and those in them from criticism and the truth, while seeking sympathy and validating their sense of self and social worth and status in society and justifications for their actions and lack off, that creates injustices and allows abuse to continue.

        Every day in the UK many bus drivers are abused and assaulted (verbally, physically and sexually), what has it got to do with the “caring” professions neglecting their duty to patients with mental health and dementia conditions and putting them in police cells?

        NOTHING at all and neither as the points you made with regard to the same issue.

        Can you imagine the bus operators putting all their passengers in police cells because others abused or assaulted their drivers (one action does not justify or excuse another).Should we excuse and ignore neglect and abuse being committed by the “caring” profession because others are abusing their colleagues or because they are saving others lives ? (this is what your post basically does).

        Is assault against a member of the “caring” profession a more serious crime than if the victim was a bus driver?

        Is neglect or abuse of any kind LESS of a concern or and crime because its committed by a member of the “caring” profession, if you compare it to the same neglect or abuse being committed by a bus driver?

        I wasn’t talking about those that are drunk etc in A&E and act abusively or and commit criminal offences (and neither was the head of London’s police service), I think it goes without saying that those people should be dealt with by the police and will continue to be(but even these should be investigated properly to make sure that there was no provocation etc perpetrated by NHS employees or and contractors, especially because of their sense of superiority/entitlement).

        I was pointing to those that have medical/mental health conditions, the “caring” professions should not be getting those people locked up in police cells because they cannot cope with them, its totally unacceptable and abusive and shows their incompetence and dysfunction of the “caring” professions.

        Medical staff are trained to deal with people that are distressed, confused and behaving aggressively because of their condition, its NOT the job of the security staff (or the police once they are in a “care” placement) to deal with them, they should not be passing the buck, it is the responsibility of the medical staff and “carers” to deal with them, its what they get paid for. Its the same as the social workers in places like Rochdale calling the girls prostitutes to excuse the fact that they were failing to protect them from the abuse. Oh and security staff should not be everywhere anyhow in hospitals.

        Those kicking them out of the “care” homes and hospitals may revert to their “original” beliefs if they find themselves locked up in a cell because they have developed a condition, but did they actually have those beliefs in the first place or were they just meeting their own emotional and psychological needs and fulfilling their implied status in society in joining the “caring” professions to start with.

      • I like to give credit where credit is due, and that was an absolutely magnificent rant of the highest order. It would have been even better if it bore some relation to reality, but you can’t have everything.

        There was no statement by the head of the Metropolitan police, nor was there a statement by the head of the City of London police. There were comments by the outgoing head of ACPO, Sir Hugh Orde, made in an interview with the Observer, but those comments don’t say what you claim they say, in fact quite the reverse:

        http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/mar/07/police-chief-hugh-orde-tory-cuts-put-public-in-danger

        May I suggest that you read it? That way we can at least have a discussion based on the facts…

      • Stevie | March 21, 2015 at 1:37 pm
        I like to give credit where credit is due, and that was an absolutely magnificent rant of the highest order. It would have been even better if it bore some relation to reality, but you can’t have everything.

        There was no statement by the head of the Metropolitan police, nor was there a statement by the head of the City of London police. There were comments by the outgoing head of ACPO, Sir Hugh Orde, made in an interview with the Observer, but those comments don’t say what you claim they say, in fact quite the reverse:

        http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/mar/07/police-chief-hugh-orde-tory-cuts-put-public-in-danger

        May I suggest that you read it? That way we can at least have a discussion based on the facts…

        My original comment,

        Ben Mosley | March 16, 2015 at 10:24 pm

        “Last week the head of london’s police service was saying that after all……..”

        I was referring to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe head of london’s police (technically Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis AkA head of London’s Metropolitan Police Service aKA chief police officer), Who gave a speech at the Royal Society of Arts in Westminster on 12/03/2015, he also gave TV interviews too about what he was saying (including one on newsnight), do your research properly and you will know what he was saying in his speech and the interviews and you will see that what I was saying about the contents of what he was saying is correct and very much a reality
        ( I only touched on a small part of what he was saying, which I would refer you back to my first comment).

        No mention at all about a statement by anyone from me…..

        My comments have nothing at all to do with the head of ACPO, Sir Hugh Orde, and the link that you posted.

        So your comment,

        IS IRRELEVENT………..!

        little help in the right direction for you,

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-31862695

      • Ben

        Thank you for your link to the BBC piece, which appears to be totally silent on the subject of Sir Bernard complaining about the NHS. Google searches on Sir Bernard and the NHS are, sadly, also totally lacking in Sir Bernard complaining about the NHS.

        I think it fair to say that if we submitted our exchanges to the Monty Python scriptwriters, were they still in existence, it would be rejected as too surrealistic, so, in default of a loquacious deceased parrot I shall summarise:

        You are not happy with the NHS.

        You therefore adopted the device, usually known as the appeal to authority, to suggest that not only are you not happy with the NHS but another important person is not happy with the NHS either, so you must be right.

        The important person in question, who has major problems of his own due to an inquest into an event which took place decades ago, has been conspicuously silent on his happiness or otherwise with the NHS because he is perfectly well aware that funding cuts have put all of the emergency services under huge pressure. This is the principle usually known as ‘we’d better all hang together because otherwise we will be hung separately’.

        His complaints about funding have been rejected by the politicians, as noted in the BBC article you cited. Not only is he not going to get more money, but he isn’t going to amalgamate police forces in London either because the City of London Police will remain independent of the Met until Hell freezes over, or the sun goes nova, whichever happens first.

        In the mean time, thanks to the vagaries of the EWTD, my daughter will continue to work 12 hour shifts for 12 days in a row, and you will continue to be unhappy with the NHS. I propose we leave it at that, since we appear to be living in separate universes…

      • My “rant” really does not have anything to do with any link or what anyone was or was not saying, it was in response to your comment (Stevie | March 17, 2015 at 1:40 am) in which you attempt to defend and divert away from what I am saying about situations in my original comment (Ben Mosley | March 16, 2015 at 10:24 pm) in the NHS.

        Your original comment which I replied to ignores the reality that those with mental health conditions and dementia patients are being kicked out of the NHS and “care” placements by the very people who are paid to deal with them and ending up in police cells (THIS IS FACT). and my “rant” is basically saying that your “defence” is no defence at all.

        So your comment (Stevie | March 21, 2015 at 1:37 pm),

        IS IRRELEVENT………..! again………

      • Had you bothered to read Hugh Orde’s comments you would know that he specifically referred to the funding cuts for services for those with mental health problems; politicians made those decisions, not people in the NHS. He referred to the spending cuts which resulted in shortfalls in ambulance provision, and again noted that politicians made those decisions, not the NHS.

        Those are facts; you are, of course, perfectly free to pretend otherwise, but you can hardly expect the rest of the world to ignore those facts…

  4. My “rant” really does not have anything to do with any link or what anyone was or was not saying, it was in response to your comment (Stevie | March 17, 2015 at 1:40 am) in which you attempt to defend and divert away from what I am saying about situations in my original comment (Ben Mosley | March 16, 2015 at 10:24 pm) in the NHS.

    Your original comment which I replied to ignores the reality that those with mental health conditions and dementia patients are being kicked out of the NHS and “care” placements by the very people who are paid to deal with them and ending up in police cells (THIS IS FACT). and my “rant” is basically saying that your “defence” is no defence at all.

    So your comment (Stevie | March 21, 2015 at 1:37 pm),

    IS IRRELEVENT………..! again………

    • As noted above, the people who made the decisions you are complaining about are politicians, not the NHS. Fortunately, there is a General Election coming up which will enable you to make your views felt by voting against the people who made those decisions.

      • Are you implying that I am lying ? Is that what you are implying, in your comments?

        At one point you actually say “ but those comments don’t say what you claim they say, in fact quite the reverse:” for starters.

        You do realise that even implying (with regard to context) that someone is lying can be libellous.

        (fallacy of )argumentum ad hominem …? by you…..

        You should read my comments very carefully especially the first one on this post, the first 2 paragraphs are about the chief police officer’s speech and the key word is indirectly. The rest is my assertion (as in statement of fact or belief).

        I posted the BBC link to show that actually he had been talking about issues and had made a speech(which it says in the link). If you are going to rely on google((fallacy of) an appeal to authority) and putting in a name and NHS for your “research” then there’s not a lot I can do about that and you also are relying on the media ((fallacy of) an appeal to authority), which is biased one way or another to the left or the right, the right are terrified to be seen to be attacking the NHS and for the left its their golden egg, so they are not going to undermine it, both are as bad as eachother really.

        So what you end up with is propaganda and his speech edited in line with their own agenda and vested interests, the telegraph goes with his bit about pubs/LA’s but some do mention services and mental health (now when people go to their GP or are referred by a SW, they are not referred to the local supermarket or BP petrol station, its the NHS).

        (fallacy of) an appeal to authority is misleading and not always fallacious, .it is when person A says x about Z is true so therefore it is true because person A is an authority (an expert in the area with evidence, not just an “important” person) on Z, and it is then relied on by another person for their opinion on Z. There is nothing at all wrong with that unless person A is not an authority (an expert with evidence) on Z (and therefore the assertion is unfounded , no evidence) or it is fallacious for various other reasons and then it becomes an appeal to a misleading or irrelevant authority really (I would say). It is not what you make it out to be.

        From a psychological perspective (fallacy of) an appeal to authority can be fallacious because the opinion is only taken on board by people because it comes from a person of authority (where the authority is not an expert with evidence but a person in a position of power like an MP or PM etc).

        an authority can be anything like google, the media or this blog (not just a person).

        As for submitting our exchanges to the Monty Python scriptwriters,

        (fallacy of) argumentum ad lapidem…..? by you….

        “Well, in my daughter’s case she’s hoping not to get her head kicked in whilst she’s trying to save someone’s life.”

         “thanks to the vagaries of the EWTD, my daughter will continue to work 12 hour shifts for 12 days in a row”

        (fallacy of ) appeal to emotion…..? by you…….

        and the EWTD means that no one has to work more than 48 hours a week on average and it applies to every person that is employed unless they opt out.

         “the people who made the decisions you are complaining about are politicians, not the NHS. “

        “politicians made those decisions, not people in the NHS. He referred to the spending cuts which resulted in shortfalls in ambulance provision, and again noted that politicians made those decisions, not the NHS.

        “Those are facts; you are, of course, perfectly free to pretend otherwise, but you can hardly expect the rest of the world to ignore those facts…”

        (fallacy of) straw man argument……? by you…….

        So now you are blaming the cuts for the “caring” professions incompetence and neglect?

        Its interesting when you consider that you said “whilst simultaneously sitting in a police station looking after a vulnerable child because the Local Authority is grossly incompetent” in a previous comment,.

        So when its the LA its not about cuts its about them being grossly incompetent and when vulnerable patients are kicked out of their “care” placements by NHS staff and end up sitting in cells its about cuts to services, I suppose you don’t have a daughter that works in an LA ? But you do have a daughter that works in the NHS.

        The real issue is neglect/incompetence by the “caring” professionals, with regard to what I am saying NOT cuts or who made the .decision for the cuts or violence committed by anyone.

        If you go back to my original comment in it I say,

        “All across the country police forces are attending hospitals and care homes to deal with dementia patients and the mentally ill, many of these types of patients end up in their cells, WHAT are the “professionals” in the “caring” professions doing?????”

        It was an assertion and a rhetorical question and an “answer” wasn’t the intended purpose of it, an acknowledgement that the reader understood its meaning was its purpose if anything at all and if you put that into the context that I made the comment in this blog where many of its readers understand that the “caring” professions are rife with incompetence and neglect and abuse (including those in the NHS), you do not need to be Einstein to see that, do you????.

        Intellect is the ability of the mind to come to correct conclusions about issues and what is real or true, and about how to solve problems. It also gives people the ability to see for themselves that your comments continue to divert from the actual point that you attempted to defend and divert from in the first place and what is true and real.

        The real issue is members of the “caring” profession are neglecting their duties or and are incompetent and vulnerable patients with mental health issues or dementia are ending up in cells

      • Ben

        I suggest you spend some time reading defamation 101. Frankly, your apparent attempts to scare people off from disagreeing with you by threatening them with libel actions would be laughable were it not for the fact that you are involving the owner of this blog in your threats.

        Had you bothered to evenly briefly peruse defamation law in England and Wales you would be aware that it is the publisher of the alleged libel who gets sued; in this case it would be Suespiciousminds.com. Having spent time as a moderator for libel issues on another blog I am very careful about how I express myself because I am very much aware of that fact…

      • Yes, can we please calm this down. Two people can have a difference of opinion without either one of them lying. We all come to these discussions with different standpoints and perspectives and experiences, and philosophies. Those things inevitably have an impact on the views we take on things. Someone else can see things entirely differently, and that doesn’t mean that either of you is lying, or that one of you is right and one of you is wrong.

        If you find here that you are talking to someone and they are just getting under your skin, the best solution is just to not carry on the conversation. To be honest, it is really worth thinking before you post something – is that something you would say to a real life person that you met in a supermarket or a pub?

      • Incidentally, in the interests of trying to introduce some facts into your latest rant, may I suggest that you look up what the EWTD actually says?

        The 48 hours per week you refer to is averaged out over six months, which means that it is perfectly legal for NHS managers to require that my daughter works 12 hour shifts for 12 days in a row. She has no choice in the matter…

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