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Letter: Who will take the blame?

Byline: Michelle Martin

I WAS amazed to read that it is unclear whether social services knew of a teenager's five-year history of sexual offences ("Just Who Allowed This To Happen?", Echo, March 2).

In 2004 while on holiday with care staff there were allegations of him being sexually inappropriate. At the time the care staff will have completed a mountain of documents and there will have been a case review involving social services regarding the incident, risk assessments and further placements.

While at two hostels he was sexually inappropriate, leaving behind a further three victims.

There must have been further risk assessments, meetings and reports completed and, once again, social service involvement.

What risk assessments were carried out before his emergency placement with a family with children who were at risk of harm?

The council has instigated an urgent case-management inquiry and, although in the early stages, admits to errors of judgement and states it is doing all it can to find out what went wrong. Such case reviews nearly always recommend a need to improve team work, communication and information sharing between the agencies involved.

Ofsted's Joint Area review (JAR) conducted following the death of Baby P found that when children are at risk of harm there is a reluctance to share information to safeguard them.

This is quite clearly the case here. The foster family had children who were not safeguarded from this sexual predator.

I find it difficult to accept assurances from the director of social services that the first priority is the responsibility for safeguarding children from abuse.

How can he make such a statement when this family's nine-year-old daughter and younger brother have been abused at the hand of someone who they put in place.

Social services actually provided him with a further two victims of his sexual deviancy.

They should be held accountable and indeed brought to justice for their part in this tragic case.

Michelle Martin Cardiff
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 6, 2009
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