Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Saturday, 14 June 2008 14:27 UK

Climbie worker made a 'scapegoat'

Lisa Arthurworrey

Victoria Climbie's social worker has accused officials at London's Haringey Council of the UK's "worst case of institutionalised scapegoating".

Lisa Arthurworrey was sacked and banned from working with children after she failed to spot the signs of horrific abuse suffered by the eight-year-old.

The Care Standards Tribunal ruled last week Ms Arthurworrey should be allowed to re-register as a social worker.

Victoria was murdered by Marie Therese Kouao and Carl Manning in 2000.

The Care Standards Tribunal said it will allow Ms Arthurworrey to re-register pending an assessment of her mental health. It says her state of health has been affected by what she has been through.

Ms Arthurworrey says she was made a scapegoat by senior management at north London's Haringey Council.

Victoria Climbie had 128 marks and scars on her body when she died in February 2000.

She had been brutally treated - tied up in a bin bag - and left in a freezing bath tub.

I see Victoria as a child who lost her life prematurely, unnecessarily, at the hands of the people who murdered her, but alongside a system that was flawed and unable to protect her
Lisa Arthurworrey

Her great aunt, Marie Therese Kouao, and her then boyfriend Carl Manning are currently serving life sentences for her murder.

Ms Arthurworrey - her social worker - was sacked and banned from working with children.

She has spent the last eight years fighting to clear her name.

Ms Arthurworrey told the BBC: "This is probably the worst case of institutionalised scapegoating this country has ever seen.

'Life destroyed'

"I'm now in this position where I'm expected to take responsibility for my team manager, the commissioning manager, the director of Haringey Council - a useful scapegoat for all.

"There were failings in Victoria's case. That's where my inexperience in child protection let me down."

She said she had faced severe repercussions as a result of being banned from working with children.

"I was confronted by someone carrying a baseball bat. I've been assaulted twice... I was told I had blood on my hands.

"It has destroyed my life and I've experienced great problems because of who I am.

"I don't actually believe that people understand the failings that were made in Victoria's case.

"I see Victoria as a child who lost her life prematurely, unnecessarily, at the hands of the people who murdered her, but alongside a system that was flawed and unable to protect her."

A spokesman for Haringey Council said it had no comment to make.




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