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Failures in the Victoria Climbie Case

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The Victoria Climbie Report highlighted a catalogue of failings by various institutions that dealt with her. Below is a comparative table detailing these failings and the institutions. Social Services Ealing Council Brent CouncilHaringey CouncilEnfield Council | The role of social workers in child protection is to support service users through difficult periods and to ensure vulnerable children are protected from harm. Social workers who work in child protection build and maintain professional relationships designed to facilitate the needs of service users. They act as advocates for service users and will have to use their professional judgement when making decisions, some of which may be difficult for service users and their families to accept.Social workers are different form child protection Police Officers because they look to protect children by investigating criminal activity that may be responsible for child abuse. Nurses, especially paediatric nurses in hospitals look after children who are unwell or injured. Their responsibility is to report any suspicious illnesses or injuries that may be a result of child abuse. This also applies to GP surgeries. Social groups and their leaders such as churches have a moral responsibility to alert responsible authorities when they suspect abuse. Child protection agencies designed to protect children such as the NSPCC have a role to investigate and report cases of child abuse.In Victoria Climbie(VC)’s case the social services of 4 local authorities failed to carry out their duties in protecting VC. The failings began from not providing adequate housing then ensuring VC was enrolled in school. Having received a complaint about the welfare of VC from a distant relative, they failed to investigate the concerns. When they did investigate, the investigations were not thorough and often not followed-up or take seriously. Haringey social services even closed the case on speculation that VC had left the area. | Childminder | Childminders look after children in their home while their parents are at work or study. They provide general care for children. They spend significant amounts of time with children, therefore can note changes to a child’s well-being.They can operate without any professional training but have to be registered. They do not provide other professional services besides looking after children. However, they have the duty to report any concerns of abuse they may suspect.In VC’s case, the childminder noted small cuts on VC’s fingers and raised with Kouao(auntie). She together with her children were further concerned by VC’s subsequent injuries and on the advice of a French teacher, took VC to hospital (Central Middx) | Healthcare StaffNorth Middlesex HospitalCentral Middlesex HospitalGP surgery | Healthcare staff, mainly in paediatrics, deal with the medical care of children and adolescents. They look at injuries and illnesses and ensure that children maintain their health. They also have a duty to protect children from abuse by reporting any abuse related illnesses or injuries to child protection authorities within social services and police.As their role is largely a healthcare one, they differ from social workers in that they do not concern themselves with other needs of children such as education or housing. They also do not investigate criminal allegations of abuse which is done by child protection Police officers. Healthcare staff do not also concern themselves with other social needs such as those provided by Childminders or other Social groups like ChurchesIn VC’s case the healthcare institutions failed in their duty to protect children from abuse. Initially the GP practice nurse had the initial chance to spot the abuse, had she done a physical examination of VC. The hospitals involved failed in the assessments of VC’s injuries. At Central Middx hospital, Dr Beynon suspected the injuries were non-accidental and referred the case to Dr Ajayi-Obe (paediatric registrar) who then did a detailed report and relevant authorities were informed. However, the child protection consultant diagnosed VC with scabies and discharged her. At North Middx hospital doctors suspected the abuse but still discharged her. | Police Child Protection Teams | Police child protection teams investigate allegations of abuse of children under the age of 18. This can be physical, sexual, emotional or neglecting. They also investigate historical cases of abuse even after the child has turned 18.Unlike Social workers, Child Protection Police Officers, largely investigate criminal allegations of abuse. They do not concern themselves with issues of housing or education or the provision of healthcare provided by healthcare professionals.In VC’s case, 2 child protection teams failed to investigate the abuse of VC. Hospital reports had highlighted the concerns but failings were prevalent in the investigation. The assigned officer from Haringey saw the burns on VC and believed the explanation given by Kouao. The officers from Brent received a report about VC’s injuries but downgraded its importance after the diagnosis of scabies. They lifted the police protection order and did not inform VC that she was under police protection. | Child Protection Agencies NSPCC | Child protection agencies work to protect children from abuse. They investigate cases and provide a service for children to discuss and report their situations with properly trained staff. They provide a service for adults to report concerns about child abuse. They work with various child protection authorities to ensure the safety of children.Their role differs largely from Social services in that they provide a platform for children to express their concerns in a non-intimidating environment. They provide a more informal avenue to report abuse and focus on the well-being of the child. They also provide counselling services for abused children. Such agencies provide a platform for adults with concerns so they can make informed decisions about what to do next. This is a crucial service in protecting children.In VC’s case, the NSPCC failed to further investigate the case when it was referred to them. Due to some confusion the case was closed simply because VC had moved out of the borough, yet their mandate is to protect children everywhere. | Social GroupsUniversal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) | While Social groups such as Churches provide a social service, they have a moral and social obligation to protect their members. This involves reporting concerns about child abuse to relevant authorities.The leaders at UCKG noted the abuse of VC but did not take action. Instead they suspected VC could be possessed. This inaction resulted in the death of VC. |

Bibliography www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmselect/cmhealth/570/570.pdf www.nspcc.org.uk/what-we-do/the-work-we-do/priorities-and-programmes/intro-to-priorities/intro_wda86208.html www.content.met.police.uk/site/childprotectiononwhoweare www.prospects.ac.uk/social_worker_jod_description.htm www.nationalcareerservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobprofiles/pages/childminder.aspx www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2449743.stm www.education.gov.uk/cm573 Wikipedia.org/murderofVictoria Climbie
All accessed on 23/03/2014…...

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