Haringey council says it should have intervened more swiftly in case of toddler who at one point had 50 bruises on his body
The council that dealt with the Baby P and Victoria Climbié cases has apologised after failing to prevent the abuse of a toddler who suffered extensive injuries at the hands of his family.
The boy, referred to only as Child T, was twice taken to hospital but returned to his mother and stepfather before eventually being taken into care in June 2011, when he was aged four.
At one stage he was found to have more than 50 bruises on his body. He told a doctor of being hit with a belt and a stick by his stepfather, a heroin addict.
Haringey local safeguarding children board launched a serious case review (SCR) into the matter, which found failings by the police, social workers and medical staff who saw the boy and his three siblings.
The report concluded there was an overall weakness in following up collaborative investigations across all the agencies along with a failure to focus on the children of the family and what life was like for them.
It also blamed a reluctance to “think the unthinkable” and recognise all the adults in the family as the perpetrators of abuse, as well as a lack of alertness to the possibility of child abuse being the cause of his injuries.
Referring to the case of Baby P, who died in August 2007 with more than 50 injuries, the report said: “The correspondence with the abuse of Peter Connelly cannot go unmarked.”
The “list of concerns sounds like a textbook presentation of frequently found weakness in the protection of children,” it added.
The first time Child T came to the authorities’ attention was when he was taken to the A&E department at North Middlesex hospital by his mother and stepfather in June 2010. He had bruising around the eyes, forehead and nose and swelling that was said to have become worse during the day.
His stepfather told medics that the boy often ran around and “bangs and hits himself on the wall”. Child T was kept in overnight before being seen by a paediatrician the next day who thought his case should be referred to children’s social care services. But the fax was mistakenly sent to Enfield instead of Haringey.
In February 2011 police were called to the family home after Child T’s mother said his stepfather had been violent to both him and herself. The stepfather, referred to as Mr C, was arrested and the toddler was taken to hospital by police the following day where he was found to have more than 50 bruises of varying ages and sizes.
The doctor judged that many of the injuries were caused by physical abuse and that others were “highly suspicious”. Mr C was interviewed by police where he denied causing any injury to Child T, claiming that his mother and maternal grandmother, who lived with them, hit the child with a slipper. He also denied any violence towards his partner.
There were also claims that Child T’s younger sister and older half-sister were abused by Mr C, and that he tried to drown the older girl in the bath and hit her with a rod. The three children, along with Child T’s six-month-old half-sister, were eventually taken into care. Mr C was sentenced to four years in prison in October 2011 for assaulting a person under the age of 16.
Haringey council’s leader, Claire Kober, said: “We fully accept the findings of this SCR and apologise unreservedly for the failings set out in the report. Together with partner agencies, we could and should have intervened more swiftly.
“We are pleased that we were able to secure positive outcomes for the child in this case, and that he is now thriving in a safe family environment.”
SOURCE: The Guardian