Print version: SCR into tragic death of Daniel Pelka may raise more questions than answers…
The release of the Serious Case Review (SCR) report today, into the tragic death of Daniel Pelka highlights some key issues for VCF – The Victoria Climbié Foundation UK, not least the transparency of the council-led review and thus accountability following publication of the report.
What we hope the report will help us to understand, is whether Daniel’s death could have been prevented, and whether the process was independent enough. In a case that bears remarkable similarities to Victoria Climbié and, more locally, the case of Khyra Ishaq, we know that there have been apparent failings by the agencies involved which we can only comment on post-publication. Like Victoria, Khyra, and even Peter Connelly, Daniel was not a hidden child, thus within the current system, his death should, and could have been prevented.
VCF continues to work together with all statutory agencies to facilitate effective coordination and engagement with the community. Our work within the community to raise awareness of child abuse in the context of the legal framework, and aspects of culture or faith, has demonstrated a greater willingness within communities to speak out about child abuse.
Where reviews are conducted, we hope that greater involvement of the family around the child will seek to aid learning within the sector, and where there is reticence to conduct case reviews, for this to be challenged where appropriate.
The recent reporting of this tragic case has brought the usual shock and reaction to the recurring tragedies that continue to happen, despite improvements to the child protection system. We have also seen increasing calls for mandatory reporting of child abuse by those working with children and families.
At VCF, we have long campaigned for mandatory reporting of child abuse through our links with, and understanding of such reporting in France and the U.S. – and particularly in light of recent public interest cases where professionals, relatives, neighbours or members of the public raised concerns that did not go further, or where they did not raise concerns at all.
Mor Dioum, VCF Co-Founder and Director states “the increased call for mandatory reporting of child abuse is extremely welcome at a time when we are moving towards greater reporting of crimes against children, including child abuse linked to faith or belief.”
“However, the Children Act 2004 also made it the responsibility of voluntary groups and the community, to protect and safeguard children, thus it is imperative that any legislation is not limited to safeguarding professionals, rather placed on the public at large.”
We await the publication of the Daniel Pelka SCR with genuine hope that the report seeks to assist with future learning by the sector, a greater understanding by the public, and one that takes the child protection agenda forward.