…Damned if we don’t

The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people.  As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.

Adolf Hitler (Hitler, 1925-1926)

If anything sells more papers than forced adoption it is child homicide, and especially the homicide of children whom social services should have monitored and protected.  Social services may feel persecuted, but journalists undoubtedly perform a public service by drawing attention to their failures.  Child homicides are succeeded by public inquiries, and the findings are distinguished by strong similarities:

  • too many agencies are involved in the protection of a single child;
  • there is a blurring of responsibilities so that no one individual is ever in overall control of a case;
  • social workers fail to take warnings seriously or to visit the child’s home;
  • they are poorly trained and communicate inadequately between themselves and with other agencies;
  • they are often obliged to take on more cases than the guidelines allow;
  • they resent having to pass information to others and regard requests for information as an intrusion on their ‘patch’.

As will be shown, the recommendations following the Victoria Climbié case were depressingly similar to those which had been made in the Maria Colwell inquiry 30 years earlier.  Few of these recommendations are fruitfully put into practice, instead we have a succession of Children Acts and further legislation and rules.  Indeed, the story of child law in the United Kingdom over the last 60 years follows a distinct pattern: new legislation is typically the result of public and media reaction to the latest horrific murder of a child: a knee-jerk and poorly considered political response to the age-old demand, ‘Something must be done!’

In 2008 Clare Tickell, Chief Executive of charity Action for Children, reported that a child turning 21 that year would have witnessed 98 separate Acts of Parliament, 82 different strategies for children and youth services, 77 initiatives and over 50 new funding streams.    Three quarters of these appeared under Labour and most lasted no longer than two years, yet Labour believed fiddling in this way justified its own existence, confident it was acting with compassion and altruism, yet intruding ever further into family life.  The relevant Government department has variously been the Department for Education, the Department for Education and Science, the Department for Education and Employment, the Department for Education and Skills, the Department for Children, Skills and Families and now once again the Department for Education,

few would suggest that an environment of such uncertainty, with such a volume of change, is a healthy way of developing and maintaining support for some of the most vulnerable and marginalised children and families (Action for Children, 2008).

So why do Governments keep getting it so wrong?  One of the reasons is that domestic violence is seen by the feminist left as the way in which the ‘patriarchal hegemony’ exerts control over women.  Any violence against children is interpreted as collateral damage in a war in which the real victims are mothers and not children; indeed, male children are regarded as part of the problem.  Violence by women against children simply doesn’t register within this ideology, and first combating male violence against women is viewed as the only legitimate way of tackling child abuse.  This is one of many reasons why children like Victoria Climbié and Peter Connelly (‘Baby P’) will never be adequately protected by child protection services.

An examination of more than 100 child homicide cases since 1944 reveals consistently that child homicide is the result not of an isolated incident but of persistent abuse, torture, neglect and malnutrition throughout the victims’ lives.   These homicides take place in homes very different from the model married nuclear family.  The household in which they occur will characteristically be severely dysfunctional.  Complicated relationships will be constructed around a single mother with children by various fathers and a number of transient adult males, some of whom but not all will be the fathers of one or more of the children.  The biological fathers of the victim children will be absent.  A disproportionate number of these households will be black; few will be Asian.  The child concerned will have been starved and neglected for years, and will be physically stunted, severely malnourished and dehydrated and suffering from hypothermia.  At the time of death their body will reveal months of unremitting and deliberate torture, often in the form of blows – frequently sufficient to break bones – and burns from cigarettes and other items.  The final cause of death will typically be a blow by the mother’s boyfriend to the head or abdomen, perhaps in order to silence a child who was crying.  It is probable that a concerned neighbour or school will have raised the alarm, possibly many times; social services will have made casual visits and have been turned away at the door, never to see the child or to make any further attempt to intervene.

It should be relatively easy for social services to identify those children most at risk, and then to monitor them closely and direct resources where they are most needed.    Yet for various reasons, including a largely justified fear of being thought racist, they rarely do; tragically these households conform to the ideal favoured by the gender feminist ideology: they are families from which the father has successfully been excised.  Over and over again, and in spite of unambiguous evidence to the contrary, the liberal establishment repeats the lie that family structure is irrelevant to the welfare of children.  It should also be clear whether additional legislation is really necessary in order to enable the requisite intervention, and yet, as shall be seen, the legislation introduced is either indiscriminate, a blanket bombing which achieves nothing, or is directed at entirely the wrong targets.

Dennis O’Neil died in January 1945, aged 12, following a severe beating from his foster parents, Esther and Reginald Gough.  He was malnourished, of stunted growth, and covered in injuries and septic ulcers; Dennis and his two brothers had been fed on three slices of bread and butter each day, and would suckle from the farm’s cows for additional nourishment.  Eirlys Edwards, a clerk with Newport Education Committee, had visited the boys two months before Dennis died and recommended they be removed, but no further action was taken.  The public inquiry revealed Reginald Gough had a conviction for violence and no inspection had been made of the boys’ welfare.  The two councils involved were criticised but no individuals were named.  Jean Heywood, an academic at Manchester University, later wrote about the case,

a story unfolds in the report of small carelessnesses, pressures of other work, difficulties of staffing and human procrastinations and failure to cooperate, by which few workers, if they are honest, have not at times been tempted from their standards, but which collectively resulted in individual tragedy and public scandal (Heywood, 1959).

In 1947 new regulations were introduced on the boarding out of children, including the requirement to visit a child within a month of being placed and to make further visits every six weeks; no children were to be placed with anyone having a criminal conviction rendering them unsuitable to foster.  A parliamentary committee was set up and the Children Act 1948 established a children’s committee and children’s officer in every local authority.  Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap is loosely based on the O’Neil case, and in March 2010, Dennis’s surviving brother, Terry, published a book about their childhood, Someone to Love Us.

In the same way, the 1975 Children Act was introduced following the death of Maria Colwell, who was 7 when she was killed by her mother’s partner.  Maria had been in foster care where she thrived, but was returned to her mother, Pauline, then living with William Kepple, who favoured his own children over Maria.  Neighbours and teachers reported their concerns to various agencies that Maria was severely malnourished but once again no action was taken, and by the time she was taken to hospital in Brighton she was skeletal and suffering severe internal injuries.  She died soon after.  The report of the official inquiry identified three main factors which had contributed to Maria’s death, the lack of communication and cooperation between the involved agencies, the inadequate training given to social workers responsible for children deemed to be at risk, and changes in the makeup of society (Field Fisher, 1974).

A report by the Houghton Committee, established in 1972 to report on simplifying adoption law, recommended creating a legal institution of ‘custodianship’, similar to the status we now accord foster care.  A Private Member’s Bill was launched by Dr David Owen with the intention of giving substance to the Committee’s report which aimed to ‘provide more and better chances of a secure substitute home for children whose parents cannot give them a home’.  This in turn led to the introduction of custodianship in the Act, but this provision was not enacted until 1988 and was swiftly superseded by the Children Act 1989.  This Act is probably the most familiar example of knee-jerk legislating and was introduced following inquiries into the deaths of Jasmine Beckford, Kimberley Carlile and Doreen Mason and the report into alleged child abuse in Cleveland – of which more in the next chapter.

Jasmine Beckford died on July 5th 1984 at the hands of her stepfather, Morris Beckford, who had himself been abused as a child, forced to sleep in an outhouse without a bed.  Jasmine had over 20 broken bones, fractured legs, burns and cuts; she weighed only 23lbs, half the weight of a normal 4-year-old.  Jasmine and her sister Louise were placed with foster parents after both girls suffered broken limbs, but were later returned home by social services.

Kimberley Carlile was murdered, also by her stepfather, Nigel Hall, on June 8th 1986, weighing only 24lbs.  She had been kept prisoner in Hall’s home and had eaten her own faeces in an effort to survive.  She was sexually abused, beaten and burnt, her body was covered in so many old bruises she appeared jaundiced, she had been lifted by her ears, causing the skin to tear.  Aged only 4, she had told her mother that all she wanted to do was die.  Her mother hadn’t contacted social services in case her children were taken into care; social services eventually attended following calls from a concerned neighbour, but made no attempt to gain entry and were easily turned away.  Louis Blom-Cooper, QC, chaired both inquiries and identified the same failure by professionals to exchange relevant information and to take appropriate action to protect the children under their care (Blom-Cooper, 1985) (Blom-Cooper, 1987).  Kimberley Carlile’s story was similar to Maria Colwell’s 10 years before: both concerned a ‘tug-of-love’ between fosterers and natural parents, in both cases social services failed to monitor the girls’ welfare or to consider sufficiently the circumstances into which the girls were returned.  There was a common lack of communication between agencies.

Doreen Mason was killed by a blow to the head either by her mother, Christine, or by her mother’s boyfriend, Roy Aston; she was bruised, burnt and left without medical treatment after her leg was broken.  Christine had already smothered an earlier child.  Her social worker was inexperienced and untrained and no visits were made in the 7 weeks preceding the death.  Christine and Roy’s convictions were quashed because it was not clear which of the two had dealt the fatal blow.

Most of these deaths have one feature in common: the men involved were not the children’s fathers, but their mothers’ boyfriends.[1]  Much research, party policy and therefore legislation, does not make this distinction, and yet, according to the principle researchers of the phenomenon, children aged under 2 are 100 times more likely to be killed by their mother’s new partner than by their biological father (Daly & Wilson, 1988). The feminist analysis uses this fact to absolve mothers of responsibility, and thus opens up a gap in child protection.  The testimony of these children’s natural fathers is heart-breaking; Ishaq Abuzaire, Khyra’s father, said,

This wasn’t about finance, this wasn’t about the lack of social workers, this wasn’t about whether the social workers were professional or not, this was simply that these social workers did not follow a chain of command, neither did they carry out their job the way it’s supposed to be carried out (BBC, 2010a).

Peter Connelly’s natural father, denied access to his son, said in a statement read out for him,

Those who systematically tortured P and killed him kept it a secret, not just from me but from all the people who visited the house up until P’s death.  Even after he died they lied to cover up their abuse (Beckford, Gammell, & Tibbetts, 2008).

Maria Colwell’s natural father had died when she was a baby; Sophie Casey’s father was denied access to her; Carla-Nicole Bone’s paternal grandparents repeatedly warned social services of the threat posed by her mother’s boyfriend, Alexander McClure, but in vain; John Gray’s father made complaints to the police but they ignored him; Courtney Crockett’s father, Paul, phoned social services days before she died after noticing extensive bruising on her face and bottom, but the social worker was on holiday and never returned his call – Courtney died the following week; Tiffany Hirst’s father Martin Wright said he could not describe the ‘hate he felt inside’ towards the Hirsts for the way his daughter was neglected.

These murderers are men with no natural affinity or sense of protectiveness for their girlfriends’ children; they have made no genetic investment in them and may see them as an impediment to their own self-interest, or to be competition for their own children.  The trigger is often the child’s constant crying when the mother has left them alone together, and it provokes anger and frustration rather than the empathy a natural father would feel.  There is evidence these men are more likely than natural fathers to have had disadvantaged childhoods themselves, to have drug dependency problems, to have a history of offending, or to be unemployed – all factors associated with increased fatherlessness.  They are much more likely to cohabit with than to marry the mother, suggesting a limited commitment to the relationship, or that the presence of the child destabilises the relationship (Cavanagh, Dobash, & Dobash, 2007).  It is profoundly alarming that so little attention has been paid to this phenomenon.

A recent example of knee-jerk legislating, and by far the most wide-reaching, was the enormous expansion of state intervention and intrusion into the family and children’s lives following the report into the death of Victoria Climbié.  Eight-year-old Victoria was murdered in February 2000 by Marie-Thérèse Kouao and Kouao’s boyfriend Carl Manning.  It did not emerge until after her death that Kouao was not her mother at all but a ‘great aunt’.  It never became clear who actually had parental responsibility for her; she wasn’t registered with a school or a doctor, and her legal status was uncertain.  By the time of her death Victoria was suffering from hypothermia, malnutrition and multiple organ failure; she had 128 separate injuries from lighted cigarettes, bicycle chains, hammers and wires.  She was known to no fewer than 12 agencies, including 4 social services departments, 2 hospitals and 2 child protection teams.  Not a single one of these services took the steps necessary to prevent the months of torture which led to Victoria’s death.  In the 30 years between the Colwell and Climbié cases the concept of ‘family’ had become muddied by social breakdown, diluted by ideology and complicated by cultural diversity.

The inquiry into Victoria’s murder was conducted by William Laming, former director of Hertfordshire County Council’s social services who had themselves mishandled a case of child abuse in 1990.  Laming’s appointment was criticised by the girl’s father and by the Conservatives.  Victoria’s death was shown to have been the result of systemic failure: the social worker assigned to her case, Lisa Arthurworrey, was inexperienced and had been given more cases than guidelines allowed; her supervisor, Carole Baptiste, had mental health problems and her own child had been taken into care; her replacement, Angella Mairs, never even read Victoria’s file.  None of the duty social workers in Brent had been trained in this country, which raised the question of their familiarity with existing guidelines.  The Laming report, published in January 2003, revealed how every agency and every individual involved in monitoring Victoria had failed and continued to fail even after her death (Laming, 2003).  The inquiry was hindered by lost and missing files and the refusal of some witnesses to attend court; many who did attend lied – clearly there was much they did not want to become public knowledge.  The effects of the report will form the subject of Chapter Twenty-Two.

The relentless death toll continued.  The most notorious case was that of Peter Connolly who, denied dignity even in death, was known for months under the suffocating and dehumanising secrecy of the family justice system merely as ‘Baby P’.  Peter was killed aged only 17 months in August 2007 by his mother, Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend, Steven Barker, and their lodger, Jason Owen.  Camilla Cavendish observed in the Times, instead of responsible fathers,

the state has helped to create a class of jobless serial boyfriends who prey on single mothers on benefits.  When two of these men moved into the flat that Haringey Council had generously provided for Tracey Connelly, Baby P’s mother, the little boy’s fate was sealed.  They killed him… The welfare system has helped to deprive these children of the most effective check on abuse — the family (Cavendish, 2010).

Peter was seen by social workers 60 times in 8 months, but none of them considered there was any risk to the child who died days after his ribs and back were broken, injuries undiagnosed by his doctor, paediatrician Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat or his case worker, Maria Ward, who disobeyed a requirement to visit Peter at least once a fortnight and failed to recognise that the chocolate and nappy cream with which Peter was smothered hid horrific injuries; to her he ‘appeared well’.  The findings of the official inquiry make familiar reading,

  • Failure to identify children at immediate risk of harm and to act on evidence, including a failure to talk to children believed to be at risk;
  • Agencies acting in isolation from one another without effective co-ordination;
  • Poor gathering, recording and sharing of information;
  • Insufficient supervision by senior management;
  • Insufficient challenge by the Safeguarding Children Board to council members and frontline staff;
  • Over-dependence on performance data which was not always accurate;
  • Poor child protection plans;
  • Failure to implement the recommendations of the Victoria Climbié inquiry, which had heavily criticised Haringey five years earlier.

The response of Haringey Council was revealing.  They attempted to cover up their failings by accusing the whistle-blower, social worker Nevres Kemal, of abusing her own child, subjected her to a four-year witch hunt and threatened to take her daughter into care.  When that failed to silence her, Haringey went to the natural ally of bureaucratic dysfunction and incompetence, the courts, and secured an injunction against Kemal.  It is profoundly troubling that covering up the abuse of one child demands the abuse of another, using the almost limitless powers now invested in the social services.  This scandalous episode shows how services established for the protection of the most vulnerable in society have become corrupted to serve the ends of those who work in them to protect them from scrutiny or accountability.

Risk assessment in cases like Peter Connolly’s is conducted under a system called ‘MARAC’, Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference, in which representatives of the various involved agencies shun responsibility by trying to pass liability around the table.  Inevitably petty rivalries fester and children slip through the gaps which open up between the agencies.  The ‘toolkits’ employed by MARAC are supplied by an organisation called ‘CAADA’, Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse, a confederacy of feminist lobby groups.  Their ideology is predictably gender-feminist; abuse perpetrated by women doesn’t register on their radar, which is one reason why child protection is so powerless to protect children who live only with their mothers.

Khyra Ishaq died aged 7 in May 2008 at the hands of her mother, Angela Gordon, and her mother’s boyfriend, Junaid Abuhamza, in the London borough of Haringey, where Victoria Climbié and Peter Connolly had both died.  She had been repeatedly beaten and weighed just 2st 9lb; two other children were found to be malnourished and at risk of dying.  The pathologist, Dr Roger Malcolmson, was shocked: he had never before seen before such a severe case of emaciation (Daily Telegraph, 2009).  Abuhamza had himself been abused as a child and his sister had been beaten to death by their father.  Khyra’s mother had removed her from school 5 months before but, despite the anxiety of her school’s deputy head, social services said there was no cause for concern.  A serious case review published by Birmingham City Council more than two years after the death found Khyra’s death to have been preventable, and produced a now familiar list of failings both organisational and ideological:

  • No initial assessment was made due to staff holidays and poor communication and organisation;
  • There was ignorance of the role and remit of different agencies;
  • Opportunities to share information between agencies were not taken or were delayed by months; information that was shared wasn’t followed up;
  • Efforts to raise concerns were not accepted by social services;
  • There was a lack of professional curiosity and a focus on the rights of adults (including social workers) rather than on the needs of the child;
  • Agencies were overworked and understaffed, the social services caseworker had been assigned 50 more cases than she should have had;
  • Social services failed to overcome the aggression of adult family members and their resistance to intervention; the mother had made a complaint of harassment against them and they were keen to avoid further ‘repercussions’, safeguarding their careers rather than preventing a little girl’s death;
  • Neighbours were from a variety of ethnic and immigrant backgrounds and were fearful and mistrusting of officialdom and authority;
  • Current legislation enables the removal of children from school and from professional oversight: it effectively renders professionals impotent and silences children.

An Ofsted report into 147 serious case reviews carried out between 2009 and 2010 revealed that despite appropriate structures and procedures, social workers were consistently failing to implement them or to follow good practice (Ofsted, 2010).  Agencies were failing to work effectively together or to share information; children were falling through the gaps.  Social workers were failing to challenge parents and were accepting their statements at face value.  There was a failure to focus on the needs of children or to listen to them.

In November 2009 Labour made an abortive attempt to change the law on home education so that parents would have to be registered and regulated by the local authority; this was just avoiding the issue: it must be emphasised that what happened to Khyra Ishaq had nothing to do with home education.  Following publication of the Ofsted report in 2010, Michael Gove, the Coalition education secretary, said,

It is extremely difficult to prevent random and isolated incidents of violence against children, but the tragedy is that Khyra Ishaq endured a painful abuse over many months and eventually died, and this could and should have been prevented.  Today’s serious case review confirms that all the agencies in Birmingham failed to protect this vulnerable child (Carter, 2010).

Baby A was killed – probably by his drug-abusing teenage father – in December 2007.  The official report observed, ‘Overall the response to these referrals was grossly inadequate and came nowhere near fulfilling the duties placed upon the Children and Young People’s Service by the Children Act 1989 and Working Together to Safeguard Children (2006)… It has been observed that these events were set against the backdrop of unmanageable workloads exacerbated by staff abstraction and shortages, both leading to and resulting from a “chaotic and dangerous” situation within the team concerned’ (Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board, 2008).  Even following the baby’s death the authorities involved failed him: the handling of his body was not ‘satisfactorily coordinated’ by health and police staff.

Sean Denton, killed in the same month as Baby A by his drug-abusing mother, had been taken off the at-risk register.  Ten government agencies were involved in monitoring the family, all of them, from social services to police, failed him.  Alex Sutherland was burned to death in November 2009 when his alcoholic mother left him in front of a blazing gas fire.  He had severe nappy rash and injuries to his head and body.  Relatives, friends, police, nurses and a child-minder had raised the alarm on 17 occasions, but social services had failed even to place him on the ‘at risk’ register.  The official report by Manchester Safeguarding Children’s Board said,

No single agency was responsible for failing to protect Child T from the chronic neglect which he suffered at the hands of his mother, but rather he was the victim of the multiple failures of all those agencies (Manchester Safeguarding Children’s Board, 2011).

Two-year-old Keanu Williams suffered months of abuse at the hands of his mother, Rebecca Shuttleworth, and had 37 separate injuries when he died in January 2011 including bite marks, a fractured skull and a fist-sized tear in his stomach.  When Rebecca moved from Torquay to Birmingham Keanu’s father, Steve Yeoman, remained behind and was only allowed occasional contact, ‘He was never miserable when I saw him and was always happy’.  Four-year-old Daniel Pelka was starved, forced to eat salt, repeatedly drowned and revived, and forced to defecate in a room from which the door handles had been removed; he finally died, weighing 24lbs, from a blow to the head in March 2012.  Daniel’s school bought the story that he had a food allergy, failed to record injuries properly and did nothing when they saw him scavenging for food in rubbish bins and raiding other pupils’ lunch boxes.  Social services missed 26 opportunities to take action before closing their file on him; Daniel’s excluded father, Eryk, said of them,

As far as I know they did just nothing.  Of course they failed Daniel.  That nobody reacted in time.  I am not saying they are guilty, but I know they made a mistake.

The body of Hamzah Khan was eventually found by police in his cot two years after he had died, aged 4, so malnourished and stunted that he was still in a baby-grow made for a nine-month-old.  His excluded father, Aftab, contacted social services but was told it was a ‘private matter’; he pleaded with the police to send a doctor but they ignored him,

All I want you to do is get a doctor to check Hamzah, check how undernourished he is, check how neglected he is, see how he is.

Aftab told the court,

Nobody listens to the male in this country, nobody; there’ll be loads of fathers like me, all over, but nobody listens to us, nobody listens to the father and look what’s happened, I’ve got a dead son, I’ve got to live with this for the rest of my life…..who am I?  Nothing!

The unexpected truth is that these deaths are rarely the result of a deliberate intention to kill and are far more often the consequence of inappropriate and excessive attempts at discipline applied by adults who are easily provoked to violence and who have no empathy for the child.  Most of these perpetrators were themselves the victims of severe child abuse who managed to survive.  As Carol Edwards remarked in her 2004 essay Child Death Enquiries, ‘It is not bad adults who murder children but deprived, needy, unsupported and deeply troubled adults’ (Edwards, 2004).  A report prepared for the Government in 2012 revealed the spiral of deprivation and depravation experienced by ‘troubled’ families,

The most striking common theme that families described was the history of sexual and physical abuse, often going back generations; the involvement of the care system in the lives of both parents and their children, parents having children very young, those parents being involved in violent relationships, and the children going on to have behavioural problems, leading to exclusion from school, anti-social behaviour and crime (Casey, 2012).

The mother and sister of Daniel Pelka’s mother, Magdelena, insisted, ‘She was a normal girl, who grew up in a normal home.  Not with any problems.  She was a normal child as long as she lived in Poland’; they blamed her partner, Mariusz Krezolek, for leading her astray (Stallard, 2013).  Her neighbours in Poland, however, told a very different story of a violent mother who beat her daughter while her father was away driving, and how Magdelena was a drug-addicted prostitute.

By far the most dangerous environment in which to raise a child is the home where the family has been destroyed and from which the father has been expelled, to be replaced by welfare state hand-outs and a series of transient males, whose misguided attempts at discipline, lacking in empathy, place children at great risk.  This is the truth which dares not speak its name: the lesson which should be learned more urgently than whether social workers do their jobs.  Social work has been called the ‘feminist industry’; its function is to promote the rights and needs of women, not those of children.  Mothers are not culpable perpetrators but innocent victims who must be protected from violent men; if a woman abuses or kills her child it is because a man somewhere made her do it.  Feminism will never face the reality that women can and do abuse their children; it will never see a dangerous woman, only a vulnerable one.  For feminist social workers men are the root of all evil and they are on the alert only for male-based domestic violence and children who are at risk from their own mothers slip under the radar.  Social workers protest they are ‘damned if we do and damned if we don’t’, but when they do their actions are based on unsubstantiated and insubstantial predictions of future emotional harm, and when they don’t they have ignored clear and significant evidence of abuse.  They are rightly damned.

Works Cited

Action for Children. (2008). As long as it takes: a new politics for children. Retrieved from Action for Children.

BBC. (2010a, July 27). Khyra Ishaq’s father hopes her death is not in vain. Retrieved from BBC News.

Beckford, M., Gammell, C., & Tibbetts, G. (2008, November 14). Baby P: Father speaks out. Daily Telegraph.

Blom-Cooper, L. (1985). A Child in Trust, the Report of the panel of Inquiry into the Circumstances surrounding the Death of Jasmine Beckford.

Blom-Cooper, L. (1987). A Child in Mind: protection of children in a responsible society: the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Circumstances surrounding the Death of Kimberley Carlile.

Carter, H. (2010, July 27). Khyra Ishaq death preventable, says serious case review. The Guardian.

Casey, L. (2012). Listening to Troubled Families. London: Department for Communities and Local Government.

Cavanagh, K., Dobash, R. E., & Dobash, R. P. (2007). The murder of children by fathers in the context of child abuse. Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect, 31(7), 731-746.

Cavendish, C. (2010, May 28). Useless, jobless men – the social blight of our age . The Times.

Daily Telegraph. (2009, June 16). Pathologist ‘shocked’ by emaciated body of Khyra Ishaq. Daily Telegraph.

Daly, M., & Wilson, M. (1988). Homicide. New York: Aldine de Gruyte.

Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board. (2008). Serious Case Review in respect of Child A deceased December 2007 (aged 10 months). Doncaster.

Edwards, C. (2004). Child Death Enquiries: Bureaucracy Meets the Practitioners. NAGALRO.

Field Fisher, T. G. (1974). Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Care and Supervision Provided in Relation to Maria Colwell.

Heywood, J. (1959). Children in Care. Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Hitler, A. (1925-1926). Mein Kampf, trans Ralph Manheim.

Laming, W. (2003). The Victoria Climbié Inquiry: Report of an Inquiry by Lord Laming.

Manchester Safeguarding Children’s Board. (2011). Serious Case Review in respect of Alex Sutherland deceased 2009.

Ofsted. (2010). Learning lessons from serious case reviews, 2009-2010.

Stallard, K. (2013, August 01). Daniel Pelka’s Mother Was ‘A Good Girl’. Retrieved from Sky News.


[1] To these we could add the deaths of Graham Bagnall, Wayne Brewer, Jason Caesar, Sophie Casey, Heidi Koseda, Darryn Clarke, Karl McGoldrick, Doreen Mason, Christopher Palmer, Daniel Vergauwen, Sophie Merry, Martin Nicoll, Leanne White, Darren Lee, Sarah Adams, Zoë Evans, Suzanne Rarity, Lauren Creed, Philip Martin, Jordan Sullivan, Kennedy McFarlane, Carla-Nicole Bone, Jade Hart, Danielle Reid, Perrin Barlow, Jasmine Galyer, Kelvin Cochrane, Ainlee Labonte, John Gray, Tiffany Wright, Michaela Moffat, Courtney Crockett, Ukleigha Batten-Froggatt, Aaron Gilbert, Deraye Lewis, Leticia Wright, Tiffany Hirst, Sanam Navsarka and Brandon Muir.

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