Page last updated at 08:14 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Victoria Climbie Foundation calls for abuse openness

Victoria Climbie
Victoria was killed in 2000 by an abusive aunt

The foundation set up in the memory of murdered eight-year-old Victoria Climbie is urging that findings of child abuse inquiries be made public.

The 10th anniversary of her death is to be marked with a memorial event in Westminster on Thursday.

The Victoria Climbie Foundation (VCF)said secrecy around investigations meant lessons were not being learned.

Victoria was tortured to death by her aunt, Marie-Theresa Kouao, and Ms Kouao's partner, Carl Manning.

Dozens of social workers, nurses, doctors and police officers had seen Victoria in the run-up to her death in Haringey, north London, but failed to spot the abuse.

Foundation director Mor Dioum said Thursday would be the final memorial to Victoria, but work would continue to help other children facing mistreatment and neglect.

He called for all political parties to commit to publishing in full the serious case reviews (SCRs), which are investigations into the most severe cases of child abuse.

All too often, vague executive summaries give the same vague recommendations and rarely properly identify where and how concrete changes can be made
Victoria Climbie Foundation director Mor Dioum

Under current rules the detailed findings of the reviews are confidential and only a summary is published.

Mr Dioum said: "Just how are agencies and social care staff expected to learn and implement better procedures if it is not publicly made clear just how and where they went wrong?

"VCF wholeheartedly agrees that the publication of SCRs must firstly be geared towards protecting the children involved, and secondly, not be a tool of recrimination.

"Publishing SCRs whilst preserving anonymity is not an impossible task and has been achieved in other sectors.

"All too often, vague executive summaries give the same vague recommendations and rarely properly identify where and how concrete changes can be made."

Opposition MPs have said SCRs should be published in full after having names deleted.

But the government has rejected the calls, saying it could put vulnerable children and their families at greater risk, as well as making people more reluctant to take part in child abuse investigations.



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