1. Background

This review concerns three children aged three, five and six and a fourth sibling was born during the period of the review​. Four adults are included within the review: mother of all four children and three partners.

Concerns relating to the family included disclosures of child sexual abuse made on three occasions during time period of review, as well as physical abuse and domestic abuse.

There were significant periods of support from Children’s Social Care (CSC) but difficulties were experienced by all agencies in engaging mother and her partner with work to support them.

Police involvement and investigations commenced within the timeframe of review but closed with no further action.

All four children now reside with maternal grandmother under a Special Guardianship Order

2. Learning Points - Risk Assessment

All family and household members and their roles should be included within risk assessments. An area that resonates with other local and national case reviews.

When children are living in a household where domestic abuse is suspected or known, all safeguarding measures should be considered.

Concerns raised within the public law outline process should be mirrored within the child protection process to ensure consistency across the levels of support.

The use of the Graded Care Profile in this case may have supported discussions relating to possible neglectful parenting and supported the evidencing of this complex form of abuse.

Practitioners should detail their understanding of terms such as disguised compliance, where these are utilised, and seek to understand the possible reasons for such behaviour where this is observed.

3. Information Sharing

Information sharing protocols between local authorities should enable the prompt sharing of information relating to children who are supported under child in need processes to ensure that full information is shared, and the process is robust

4. Voice of the Child

‘The child’s views should inform analysis and assessment so that intervention is appropriate to address key concerns and needs.’

When a child requests to speak to a practitioner alone, this should be facilitated in a safe location, or a suitable location identified by the child, unless there is cause to believe that this would place the child at risk. The details of any decision not to act on the wishes of a child should be recorded.

5. Support for Victims

All children who have been victims of or are at risk of child sexual abuse should receive timely and appropriate support in order to reduce the impact of the trauma of this abuse.

There is a systemic overreliance on a child to make a disclosure of child sexual abuse.

Appropriate medical examinations should always be considered when a child discloses physical or sexual abuse or neglect, based on the best interests of the child.

6. Support for Practitioners

All practitioners should be supported to discuss barriers to engagement with families.

Reflective practice and consideration of unconscious biases are important and should inform work with families.

Use of the Resolving Professionals Differences policy.

7. Resources

Centre of Expertise for Child Sexual Abuse https://www.csacentre.org.uk/

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Safeguarding Children Partnership Board Child Sexual Behaviour Assessment Tool https://safeguardingcambspeterborough.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Child-Sexual-Behaviour-Assessment-Tool.pdf

7 Minute Briefing - M Family

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