VCF – The Victoria Climbié Foundation UK is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Star Hobson, at the hands of her mother and her mother’s partner. Yet again, the murder of a child which could have been avoided and should have been prevented by the local authority.
Whilst we applaud the sentencing of the mother and her partner in this case, we remain questioning as to why the local authorities were allowed to continue with their poor judgement resulting in Star’s untimely murder. Inevitably, a review is underway, and we are left to ask what changes will actually be implemented, because clearly change needs to occur.
We have seen a number of reviews and recommendations for change, including two public inquiries led by Lord Herbert Laming (Victoria Climbié) and Sir William McPherson (Stephen Lawrence) supporting the fact that changes needed to occur in order to better safeguard children. Except this did not happen, and we continue to see countless children and young people tragically killed or seriously injured, often by the inaction of local and government agencies. The current government-commissioned reviews are set to deliver more of the same, whilst universally stripping the general public of their rights.
Yet not enough has been achieved to implement the stringent safeguarding procedures already in place to provide for the rights of every child to care and protection.
When our organisation was established, we expected genuine changes to occur. Instead, we are seeing almost 22 years since the anniversary of Victoria’s tragic death countless other child murders. The reporting of Star Hobson’s death is less than a month after Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and the mistreatment which he endured.
Despite assertions to the contrary, the act of locking down the country is not solely the cause of a surge in abuse, neglect and mistreatment of children when local authorities fail to implement and uphold the basic safeguarding of our children, under laws that already exist.
Where are you when all of these children are being neglected, mistreated and subjected to torture leading to their deaths. People who your authorities would have been made aware of on countless occasions leading up to the fatal blows which result in the loss of life (including those for whom a national review is pending). We have been observing your lack of actions and empty apologies after the event for many years.
Should we be looking into bringing corporate actions for heads of departments within local authorities EVERY time they fail in their basic duty of care to safeguard our children? Bizarrely, imprisonment and fines are implemented more robustly around food hygiene laws than there are around child safeguarding.
In the wake of multiple child deaths, do we need to go further than a national safeguarding review to question the transparency and accountability of the various agency roles and responsibilities (and regulatory bodies) set up to protect children and young people?