Presentation on theme: "Reclaiming child protection Liz Davies"— Presentation transcript:
Reclaiming child protection Liz Davies
Child Protector Abuser Protector Abuser
CHILDISM Oppression of children Child abuse: abuse of power UNCHILDREN Children unseen: defined out of the protective systems
Child protection – child abuse is political Children are silenced Adult survivors are silenced Professionals who are the voices of children and survivors are silenced
Survivor’s accounts Cooper T (2007) Trust No One. London. Orion Frampton P (2003) Golly in the Cupboard. Manchester. Tamic Keeble H (2010) Baby X. London Pocket Books
Main message Since the mid-90s government policy has led to a demise of child protection systems and children are now less well protected. This agenda was deliberate and well orchestrated with extensive support from academics The government planned ahead for a public response to an increase in child deaths from abuse The global industry of child abuse has been protected but not the child victims
Children and young people who were the subject of a Child Protection Plan (CPP) by category of abuse, years ending 31 March 2009 Category Neglect9,20011,40011,80012,50013,40015,800 Physical12,5003,9003,6003,5003,4004,400 Sexual7,2002,4002,3002,000 Emotional3, ,0007,1007,9009,100 Focus on child in need not child in need of protection
What are the agendas/themes? E-government: Profit to IT companies to boost economy Surveillance of every child and family Criminalisation / control of children rather than children as victims Privatisation: a narrowing of statutory child protection Deprofessionalisation: ‘anyone’ can do child protection work (Tim Loughton MP – volunteers) Children as commodities Centralised control of services
Analysis of academic texts The texts were analysed with respect to five terms; joint investigation police child abuse investigation team/unit Section 47 (Children Act 1989) strategy meeting child protection register/child protection plan
Analysis of 42 child protection/safeguarding academic texts between 2000 and 2009 Number of texts out of a total of 42 in which term included joint investigation3 police child abuse investigation team/unit 3 Section 47 (Children Act 1989)5 strategy meeting4 child protection register/ child protection plan 10 Liz Davies: PhD thesis ‘Protecting children a critical contribution to policy and practice development. 2009
Laming progress report Entitled ‘The Protection of Children in England’ But no key child protection terms in it Focus on workforce and technology issues Said ‘ Just do it’ but didn’t say how
Munro review Critical: The problem is that previous reforms have not led to expected improvements in frontline practice – substantial body of evidence indicating that past reforms are creating unforeseen complications Rules and regulation drive practice not professional judgement Framework of Assessment : concern about over- preoccupation with meeting timescales for assessment relevant to concern about the quality of that assessment and its impact on the safety of children and young people / lack of focus on risk assessment /
BUT Fails to address child protection systems Nothing about joint investigation, child protection register, strategy meetings role of police etc. A return to the refocusing ideology of the mid nineties that too many children are caught in net of child protection. ‘High standards are achieved ; despite not because of the formal structures. Fear of missing a case is leading to too many referrals and too many families getting caught up in lengthy assessments that cause them distress but do not lead to the provision of any help. This is creating a skewed system that is paying so much attention to identifying cases of abuse and neglect that it is draining time and resources away from families’.
Peter Connolly SCRs First SCR ( which was discredited by government) included Section 47 protocols, attendance at strategy meetings and conference protocols Second SCR much less.. Words such as ‘authoritative’. Watered down version.
Silent words I crouched in the corner Curled up as small as can be. One part hoping that you Wouldn’t notice me The other half hoping that you’d Hear the words I’d spoken Without uttering a word Nelson S (2008) See Us Hear Us. Dundee, Scotland. Violence is Preventable p21
Children will know if you can hear or not hear Nelson S (2008) See Us Hear Us. Dundee, Scotland. Violence is Preventable p21
Children want social workers to; Stick with them over time Each case individual response because of complexities, apply procedures using judgement Understand about abuse They ask for; Neutral informal settings away from home Settings that do not require appointments
Someone noticing ‘She didn’t judge me, she understood the kinds of ways I would feel without me telling her... and gave me space even when my behaviour must have seemed weird and didn’t make sense – even to me’ (Nelson, 2008)
Mary Bell: victim of organised abuse and convicted in 1968 of murder of two children But it was horrible, and then I was on the bed, and then.. they turned on me……I was so frightened because before it, or later she says if I ever told anything I would be taken away and locked up. You know I told you about the sentry box on the bridge? That’s where she said I would go. And she said nobody would believe me. And anyway, I think I must have thought it was my fault. I had done wrong and was being punished. I… I…’ She cried and cried. ‘I felt so.. so dirty’ (Sereny G (1999) Cries Unheard:335)
The London Borough of Islington child abuse scandal 1980s -1990s Extensive abuse of children within the care system. Ritual abuse of children. Murders, abductions, buying and selling of children. Professionals involved From over 150 newsprint articles on the abuse of children within the Islington care system: Each of 13 inquiries followed disclosure in the media Survivors were involved throughout alongside whistleblowing social workers
Islington Inquiry report 1995: denial and cover-up : children and Professionals unheard Report said that a social worker identified 61 young people – victims of abuse but said there was no evidence of a network Report said there was no evidence of ritual abuse
Demetrious Panton: in ‘care’ of Islington council from age 10 years. Minister for Children, Margaret Hodge, described him as ‘disturbed’.
NEVRES KEMAL : Because we're good people, and we do a very good job, and someone has to do it Social worker prevented from investigating case of sexual abuse of 7 young children She gained a voice in the media but has no work If they had listened to my concerns and taken measures to rectify them Baby Peter might never have died. I’ve had four years of hell and disbelief, words cannot express what I have been through but it’s all irrelevant – a boy has died.
North Wales: Lost in Care inquiry Over 2000 children abused in the care system Abuse would have been prevented if workers had voiced concerns But Staff who did voice concerns were disbelieved and blamed for speaking out Waterhouse Sir R and the Tribunal of Inquiry into the abuse of children in care in the former county council areas of Gwynedd and Clwyd since 1974 (2000) Lost in Care. London. The Stationery Office
JERSEY 14 x 8 km - Population only 91,000
Haut de la Garenne - Jersey children’s home until children lived there between the 50s and 80s. Police investigation found remains of 5 children, over 100 children’s bones and 4 punishment rooms.
Care Leaver /survivor in grounds of former care home
Gorey Bay and Gorey castle close to Haut de la Garenne home
The bath found in the cellar after survivor’s descriptions
The Jersey opera house
Voices of the children: read the blogs Simon Bellwood former Social Worker Stuart Syvret - Senator What we are dealing with is a continuum of abuse A culture of contempt A culture of disregard A culture of abuse A culture of concealment And it didn’t end with Haut de la Garenne. It continues to this day
Police Investigator: LENNY HARPER I can quite clearly say that the investigation is being held up. There are people on the island who just don't want us going down the route of this inquiry"
A global crime requiring a global protective response sexual exploitation trafficking international adoption trade organised, institutional and ritual abuse networks online abuse trade in abusive images of children forced marriage sex tourism bonded labour/ child sex slavery organ harvesting Abusers – less severe penalties than for other crime – easier to remain undetected. More police effort into stolen antiques than stolen children Fewer than 1 in 50 reported sexual crimes against children lead to conviction of a criminal 25% all reported rape is of children under 16 years An estimated 95% sexual crime against children is unreported
Section 47 Children Act 1989 Local Authority duty to investigate when there is reasonable cause to suspect actual or likely significant harm
Working Together in practice Confident professional specialists Mutual trust and respect (now removed from policy) Informed debate within procedures and policies Shared goals : a commitment to the ‘best interests of children’ Agency support / supervision / training When things go wrong non-compliance is the problem NOT the policies and procedures
Child abuse inquiry 1945 ‘a story unfolds, in the report of small carelessness's, pressures of other work, difficulties of staffing and failures to cooperate ……….. which collectively resulted in individual tragedy and public scandal.’
IF ONLY….. The child had been heard The adults concerned about the child had been heard Signs had been recognised Someone had called social services / police That fax had been followed up The workers had proper supervision / safe working conditions A suspicion had been checked out Someone had blown the whistle Budgets hadn’t been cut / services not restructured
Hearing the voice of the child To do the work of protecting children as workers we need to be in safe working environments. Many professionals do succeed but it is against the odds. They are creative, dedicated and committed despite the obstacles to good practice
Working Together in practice Effective joint investigations in UK Young people and professionals speaking out Resource intensive Compensation and negligence claims High profile people and organisations exposed Ritual abuse
The backlash The mythology that too many children are entering the child protection ‘net’ Vigorous government directives to shift away from proactive multi-agency joint investigation of child abuse Proactive practitioners accused of being ‘over- zealous’
We know how to protect children: the knowledge base exists The language of child protection has been taken from us Protect – Safeguard Abuse/significant harm – concern Investigation – assessment Risk – need The systems of child protection have been taken from us. S47 investigation marginalised – focus on need instead Abolition of Child Protection Register Reduced role of police
Safeguarding - Working Together definition: 2010 Prevention agenda Protecting children from maltreatment Preventing impairment of children’s health or development Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care and undertaking that role so as to enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm
OUTCOMES are not RIGHTS ‘Every Child Matters’ Policy 2003: 5 outcomes (particularly related to education) expected of children defined as future citizens not children in their own right. Non achievement of the outcomes is met with a punitive state response The child’s right to protection becomes marginal within policy
Prevention/Protection: Either/or? Family support defined as an alternative to child protection Prevention presented as an alternative to protection (need smoke alarms AND fire-fighters) Distinction to segregate service provision between two extremes allowed restructuring of service centralisation of government control of child protection work increased privatisation
Victoria Climbie – child in need NOT defined as child in need of protection
Debunking the myths Victoria injuries Where was the analysis of the injuries? Not in the Inquiry: no forensic approach
Family support model / child in need but not in need of protection: Climbié and Peter Connolly – assessment not child abuse investigation It was my managers and not I who instructed that this was not a child protection case which required a section 47 enquiry but instead a family support case which is more routine general support of a family. I thought I was doing it – no-one told me otherwise. Its what I was taught on my course (Lisa Arthurworrey 2005) ……………………………………………………………………………. Peter Connolly case: social worker’s response during the criminal trial Q: what was your role in the case A: I was there to support the family …………………………………………………………………………… Haringey response included document, ‘Support offered to family of Child A’ (Peter C). …parenting classes, provision of appliances, housing support, placement with friend, Signs of Safety approach
Victoria Climbie/Peter Connolly: Section 47 threshold met but defined as family support Unexplained scald/injuries/buckle type marks, thumb prints inconsistent explanations Delayed admission to hospital Unavailable to authorities Indicators of neglect Emotional abuse indicators/ master servant relationship History of hospital admissions Confused family background Unexplained inflicted injuries/scratches/infections Delay seeking medical attention Avoidance of professionals Indicators of neglect Emotional abuse indicators – high pain threshold/ head banging History of hospital admissions Lack of knowledge of adults in household
Victoria Climbié– Peter Connolly – some other comparisons Lack of joint investigation Lack of multi agency and forensic analysis of unexplained, repeated and unusual injuries and indicators over time. Analysis of patterns / explanations Child perceived as causing injuries to self Lack of focus on and investigation of adults in the child’s life No legal safeguards in place: placed with family friends Lack of checking out mothers explanations Failure to investigate complex and confused family structure and history.
Peter Connolly Case managed through core groups Lack of strategy meetings Signs of Safety approach Core assessment Police focus on crime Social work focus on assessment and family support
Peter Connolly’s name was on the Child Protection Register. Already the Register had been undermined and lacked status Less professional involvement – police and health A conference is as good as the investigation that informs it.
Government response to Peter Connolly case Focus on Serious Case Reviews, Ofsted’s role and the role of managers Restated the Every Child Matters agenda and asked Laming to check that it was being implemented. ‘Some authorities have not focused on early intervention and prevention…’ Taskforce: focus on workforce issues Some focus on a review of IT systems What about the demise of child protection systems?
The myth of ‘Every Child Matters’ - real prevention would; increase child protection referrals – given known incidence of child abuse and how this is not reflected in the numbers of investigations made or convictions obtained focus on systems to remove abusers from lives of children increase resources to investigate serious crimes against children
Children need both – prevention and protection One is little use without the other Prevention strategies to teach the public and professionals to recognise and report abuse – creating a network of protective adults in the community Protection of children requires appropriate reporting enabling professionals to prioritise, investigate, intervene and act to protect
Early state involvement in child ‘concerns’ within families does not prevent child abuse This means lack of focus on children at high risk of abuse who will be lost among the mass of low level ‘concerns’ – the needle in the haystack child abuse is located within the needs of the family rather than investigation of the global industry of child abuse child abuse located within socially disadvantaged families
ASSESSMENT of need IS NOT INVESTIGATION of harm Assessment processes do not assess RISK of HARM S.47 became a secondary process to assessment – harm was missed Timescales and targets undermine professional judgement Form filling overwhelms practitioners and reduces contact time with children and families
Child protection register ‘No research has been commissioned by the DfES specifically on the use of the child protection register’ (Ministerial response) Some authorities are keeping secret registers to retain the alert to hospitals and police CP Plans made anywhere. Alarm bells don’t ring with emergency services
social workers – assessment police - crime The police role in child protection declined Police now only became involved when a crime had been committed not at the level of significant harm to a child. Reduction in police child protection teams and resources – redirection to ‘anti - terrorism’ and population control functions and to children as criminals not victims of abuse
Deprofessionalisation BASW (British Association of Social Workers) had to take legal action to protect the title of social worker Common Assessment Framework Common core training standards Children’s workers Volunteers Integrated Children’s Systems Increased centralised control- tick box culture
Loss of specialist child protection social work teams Specialist child protection social work teams abolished Assessment teams doing mainly family support work privatised – small ‘units’ of social workers and therapists become the new model: The Hackney model
Supporting front line social workers and whistleblowers Kline R (2009) What if. Social care professionals and the duty of care. A practice guide to staff duties and rights. London. Aspect Trade Union
The Children’s House: the Barnahus Scandanavian model of child protection 30 houses in Norway, Iceland and Sweden Multi agency: child centred environment for Investigation and interview and therapy Involves psychologist, prosecutors as well as police, social workers and paediatricians EU recommended introduction throughout Europe
The media as an ally – voice for the silenced The media is an effective way of protecting children. It works. Often it is all we have. If someone has a story to tell there is always a way of it being told safely via trusted journalists and a time when it is right to make the issues public
Nick Davies (2008) Flat Earth News - falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media If we can sell it we tell it Give the public what they want Little time for investigative journalism Easy stories Churnalism – simplistic – little time to check facts Stories generated by commercial and political interests
Soundbites: presenting the complexities of child protection We know how to protect children - the knowledge base exists But ; The language of child protection has been stolen from us The systems of child protection have been stolen from us
Focus on single issues Islington child abuse scandal Lisa Arthurworrey – social worker for Victoria Climbie Nevres Kemal – Haringey social worker and whistleblower Margaret Hodge – former Minister for Children and former Islington councillor Demetrious Panton – Islington survivor/care leaver Jersey care leavers – no child protection investigation Teresa Cooper – survivor/care leaver - abuse in care and drug regime Maria Ward / Gillie Christou – Peter Connolly’s social worker and team manager Appointment of Laming to report following Peter Connolly case Opposing children’s database Challenging abolition of child protection register and lack of joint investigation Challenging the role of pharmaceutical companies
Ofsted Trustee: Glaxo Smith Kline vice president, Paul Blackburn, described by Ed Balls as having ‘A passion to help improve the lives of children and learners’ Phil Frampton - research Comment piece: ‘Real experience should have been reflected in Ofsted appointments’ Guardian: Fairweather in Mail. Financial Times: question corporate appointments. Resignation within 2 weeks.
Lisa: 10 years after Victoria’s death - GSCC agree registration Serious case review Disciplinary proceedings Employment tribunal ET appeal hearing Victoria Climbié Inquiry Care Standards Tribunal (POCA) Care Standards Tribunal (GSCC) Appeal to CST again re GSCC decision Registration 2010
How could she ever have been expected to do the job right? Inexperience Lack of essential training Non-existent leadership Useless supervision Inadequate local procedures Chaotic and demoralised work environment Excessive caseload and overwork Allocation to a case beyond her capacity Misleading information from senior medical staff National organisational and resource shortcomings Plausible murderous adults Peter Jackson QC PRESS COVERAGE: Victoria’s parents became supportive
Fairweather – Peter Connolly articles ‘ Baby P relative implicated in child sex ring’ Sunday Times ‘Baby P’s close relative is linked to big paedophile network’ Daily Mail
Phil Wheeler:Met officer scapegoated in the Victoria Climbie inquiry finally clears his name Daily Mail Eileen Fairweather January 30 th 2010
Nicholas Rabet Insall, R (1993) Pervert runs play park in the woods! Kiddie porn haul seized by vice cops. London. News of the World. 21 st March Manager of Islington children’s home. UK police could not investigate fully. No prosecution. He went to Thailand – convicted of abuse of 300 boys.
Peter Connolly: the media strategy Television - news and documentaries Radio Print media Professional magazines/ journals Blogs/ comments/ phone-ins
Gillie Christou and Maria Ward – social workers in Peter Connolly case Serious case review (1) Serious case review (2) Disciplinary hearing (1) Disciplinary hearing (2) GSCC hearings Appeal hearings Employment tribunal
Tabloids or broadsheets? Truth among the falsehoods Sun - printed the link with Epping Forest. News of the world - raised questions about the Nazi memorabilia and filming of abuse. Stated that some adults in the household had learning disability Prof.Eileen Munro: Independent Lessons learnt, boxes ticked, families ignored. Policy prompted by Climbié have made children less not more safe. Prof.Sue White: Guardian: ICS takes time away from children and families.
Voices heard: overwhelming professional dissatisfaction and an increase in child deaths Social workers blogged, went on talk shows, appeared disguised on TV. Caseloads very high. Not allowed to seek EPO’s,care orders Accountants involvement in decision panels. Costs of care proceedings risen Cases kept at S17 rather than S47 Conveyor belt culture/ bullying ‘My way or the highway’ Lack of training in cp Targets before children: Assessments closed prematurely Technology driven social work: the child doesn’t shout as loud as the managers demanding data entry. Strategy discussions but not meetings Difficulty accessing archived records. Inexperienced managers / experienced staff leaving / agency workers Hot desking / smart working
Stuart Syvret: Jersey Senator: Christmas speech 2007 (full text on his blog) I went about the back-streets, the housing estates, the tenement blocks, the foul, overcrowded and exploitative "lodging houses" in which the poor in Jersey often dwell. And I listened to people opening up; often for the first time in their lives speaking of what they experienced - what they saw - and how they had been failed by everyone. For many of these people, I was the first person in authority they felt able to speak to about what happened to them. I listened to things - things sometimes said through tears - that I hope never to have to hear again.
As time passed, I found myself moving from these dark rendezvous with witnesses - experiencing encounters with victims - and clandestine meetings with brave whistle-blowing front-line staff. In the early stages of this odyssey amongst the night roads and back alleys of St. Helier - in the unspoken underbelly of Jersey - I realised what I was seeking - and finding - were ghosts. Shades and spectres – the vaporous trails of long-departed children – still haunting the outer shells of people I met. Sometimes you catch a glimpse of these ghost children - in eye - or word - or gesture - and you want to reach out to them - but these burnt and vanished phantoms disappear into the scars,
the tattoos, the needle marks, the self-harm lacerations, the haunted faces and the wrecked lives. Although many of the people I met are in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties - I cannot but see them as children still. And many of these children have passed through the hands of the States of Jersey 'system’ - I cannot bring myself to use the phrase "care". Some of these children ended in custody for minor offences - and such was the cruelty, abuse, neglect and violence they suffered - many went on to become habitual criminals.
Poem by Jersey care leaver/survivor You took away my freedom When I was just a child Then wonder why I’m like I am From innocence to wild You took away my sanity And left me fend alone You took away my childhood And left me without a home Is this what you wanted Clap your hands you have achieved Destruction of a young man’s mind Who never was believed It’s hard for those who suffered At the hands of those who hide Who denounce responsibility To the police they all have lied Now we are the ones Who control your destiny We’re stronger, older, smarter You were wrong to damage me