Can you forbid an abusive parent from having more children?

A 3-month-old Belgian baby is in critical condition after her father crossed the line, again. In 2011, he was convicted for killing his 6-month-old son and sent to prison. 

Marjan Justaert
Marjan Justaert De Standaard, Belgium
Source: De Standaard
Can you forbid an abusive parent from having more children? - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

Belgium is reeling from a recent incident in which a Brussels father dropped his 3 month old daughter headfirst onto the ground because her crying made him angry. The girl is now in critical condition. It was soon discovered that this was not an isolated incident.

Ten years earlier, the man had been sent to prison for beating his 6 month old son to death for the same reason.

The man received therapy for his abusive behavior in prison, but it was stopped once he was released. His new girlfriend didn't know anything about his past.

Now public debate is ongoing about how to avoid this terrible type of recidivism. According to sources close to the case, there's no guarantee at all that the regular control of a social worker would have prevented the abuse.

But what can be done? Can a state forbid an abusive parent from having more children? 

Details from the story:

  • On Saturday night, a 36-year-old Brussels-based father was keeping an eye on his 3 month old daughter. When the child wouldn't stop crying, the man lost his temper and threw her on the floor. The girl sustained a skull fracture and is now fighting for her life. The father turned himself over to the police.
  • What the authorities subsequently discovered was that the same man had beaten his 6 month old son to death ten years ago. Additionally, a few months before sending his daughter to the hospital, he had been arrested for beating both his partner and their baby. He was released under conditions.
  • It is clear to the authorities that the man is hypersensitive and very aggressive.
  • In 2011, after killing his son, the man was sentenced to 10 years in jail, but he was released earlier this year. After his release there was no supervision or probational visits.  According to psychiatrist Peter Adriaenssens and "child commissioner" Bruno Vanobbergen this is an acceptable state of affairs.
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