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Victoria Climbie Case Study Bbc Urdu

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.

Victoria Climbie Foundation director Mor Dioum

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

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.



The man heading the public inquiry into the case of Victoria Climbie has said it will be a turning point in the protection of children.

Lord Laming told the hearing, which opened on Wednesday, that the eight-year-old's death had shocked the nation.

He added that its recommendations may affect the way the police, NHS and social services carry out their functions in the future.


My little girl was taken to the hospital, it was there that she should have been saved, yet it wasn't done


Berthe Climbie
Mother

The young girl died after being abused by her great aunt and her partner in north London, in one of the worst cases of child neglect in Britain.

Therese Kouao and Carl Manning were jailed for life in January this year for the murder of the girl in February 2000.

Victoria's parents, who have travelled from the Ivory Coast to attend the inquiry, have called for child protection chiefs to be called to account.

In his opening statement, Neil Garnham QC, counsel to the inquiry, said Victoria had been kept bound and naked in a freezing bath, and repeatedly attacked, leaving her with 128 separate wounds on her body when she died.

'Unimaginable' suffering

He said that she must have gone through "unimaginable" suffering.

Mr Garnham told the inquiry that Kouao took Victoria to Europe in 1998. Her parents had hoped she would receive a better education.

They received just three messages giving news of Victoria after she left. All said she was in good health.

It is thought that the girl arrived in Britain with her great aunt in April, 1999, after an initial stay in France.

The hearing was told that Manning, a bus driver, met Kouao in June that year and they moved into his flat in Tottenham.

Berthe Climbie: Devastated by daughter's death

Mr Garnham described how Victoria's case moved between Brent, Ealing, Haringey and Enfield social services, two separate hospitals in different health authorities and the police, but she was returned to her abusers time and again.

He said: "There were at least 12 chances for the agencies charged with duties of child protection to have saved her. All of those chances were missed."

Brent Social Services received an anonymous call about Victoria's welfare in June 1999 and three weeks later a "cursory" home visit was made, Mr Garnham said.

Social workers accepted the family had moved away but "at that very moment she was at Central Middlesex Hospital because of concerns she was being abused".

Victoria was taken to the west London hospital by a childminder named as Mrs Cameron. She was immediately taken under police protection.

But doctors at the hospital attributed Victoria's injuries to scabies and found nothing to substantiate abuse.

Severe burns

Mr Garnham said Brent Social Services removed her from police protection "without ever having seen or interviewed Victoria, Kouao or Mrs Cameron".

Just a month later Kouao took Victoria to North Middlesex Hospital.

The hospital was told that Victoria had poured hot water over her head for relief from the itching from scabies.

The inquiry was shown three photographs taken by the hospital showing terrible burns to Victoria's face.

Her mother Berthe was escorted from the hearing in distress after looking at the photos.

Marie Therese Kouao used Victoria to get benefits

Concerned nurses spoke to senior staff and doctors about a series of concerns about Victoria's condition.

But despite visits from two different social workers and a police officer she was allowed to return to her great aunt and Manning. She died six months later from multiple organ failure, malnutrition and neglect.

Mr Graham urged the inquiry to be "alive to the possibility" that race may have influenced the way the case was dealt with.

Earlier Victoria's father Francis Climbie had told the BBC that someone should take responsibility for his daughter's death.

Witnesses

"If someone is to take responsibility it must be the person at the very top," he said.

Mrs Climbie added: "My little girl was taken to the hospital, it was there that she should have been saved, yet it wasn't done.

"The people there didn't seem able to do their job. Today this has happened to me but tomorrow it could happen to somebody else."

A total of 232 witnesses have been called to give evidence to the inquiry with 144 taking the stand.

It is the first of its kind to involve three separate agencies - social services, the NHS and police.

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