Shameful lack of care must not be repeated
PUBLISHED: 06:00 16 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:27 16 August 2018
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It is hard to read today’s three serious case reviews without thinking “here we go again”.
We have been here before, exposing failings in Norfolk that have put children in harm’s way. We have also reported the familiar response from Norfolk County Council that the incidents happened a while ago and things are much better now.
Time does not reduce culpability - and it certainly does not wash with the victims or their families, whose suffering goes on and on.
On this occasion, we are deeply saddened to report on three harrowing cases on the same day:
■ A six-month old baby shaken to death by her father after a string of opportunities to give the family better support were missed;
■ A 20-year-old man, on bail for abusing a young boy, who was placed in accommodation with young families and abused another boy;
■ Four children sexually assaulted by their father over several years after agencies failed to recognise symptoms of sexual abuse.
Three cases, one dead baby, five emotionally scarred children - what a shameful situation this is.
Let it be crystal clear at this stage that we are unflinching supporters of the social workers, police and other staff who daily face heartbreaking situations and have to make tricky decisions. They are unsung heroes.
But, when the lives and wellbeing of the most vulnerable among us are endangered or ruined by poor systems or downright inexplicable individual decisions, it cannot pass unscrutinised.
These serious case reviews must not be played down by any of those involved. Instead, the suffering of the children should be a searing reminder to work tirelessly to protect every child who comes under their radar.
For everybody’s sake, we do not want to be writing “here we go again” in 2020 or another future year.