A scary story appeared today on the CBC News website (cbc.ca) on May 30, 2014 under the headline:
London, Ont., couple charged after boy, 10, found locked in 'squalid' house
Boy's aunt and uncle face charges of forcible confinement
For fans of Harry Potter, the story sounds eerily familiar:
A couple in London, Ont., face charges of forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessaries of life after their 10-year-old nephew was found malnourished and locked in a bedroom of a house that police describe as "filthy" and "squalid." Police said they found the boy locked in a bedroom that has an ensuite bathroom. Police believe the boy had been confined there for 18 months to two years. The boy, who police say was underweight and suffering from malnutrition, was taken to hospital. He has since been released from hospital and is in the care of the Children's Aid Society. The couple facing charges have a biological child who was also living in the house at the time. That child, whose age and gender have not been released, is also now in the care of the CAS. Police said there is no evidence that the couple's biological child was confined inside the house.
How often was Harry left locked in his tiny bedroom by his uncle and aunt, with only short breaks to go to the bathroom and with only the most basic of meals provided through a flap in the door, while his cousin Dudley enjoyed complete freedom?
Now, granted, Harry was only confined for a couple of days at a time, not for 18-24 months like the poor child in the news story but, when you think about it, locking a child in a bedroom for any extended period of time is abuse and a pretty serious offense.
It's a wonder none of the neighbours in Little Whinging ever called the authorities on Vernon and Petunia Dursley!