An independent investigation into the death of
a six-year-old Bedford boy has called on professionals to make sure
they speak to children in cases where domestic violence is
one of 10 recommendations made by Ron Lock, chairperson of the
Bedfordshire and Luton Area Child Protection Committee (ACPC)
serious case review group and author of a report into the killing
of Jason Hill by his father last August.
was seen twice by the duty social worker with his father present,
but on both occasions the father was “in control” and didn’t allow
the professionals to have any meaningful contact with the child,
the report said.
contacts, apart from seeing that Child C (Jason) appeared
physically well, fell far short of any attempt to engage Child C in
the process of assessment and to ascertain his wishes and
feelings,” it adds.
result, professional interventions became more adult-focused rather
than child-focused as it was felt Jason’s father’s mental health
could suffer if the child was removed from his care.
part eight review also said Jason’s death highlighted the need to
improve inter-agency communications and the requirement to ensure
that risk assessments should be child-centred.
review group found there was a lack of a child-centred approach in
undertaking a seven-day initial assessment of the family’s
circumstances and that concerns expressed by Jason’s school
warranted a decision by the child care team, in consultation with
the police, to undertake an investigation under section 47 of the
Children Act 1989.
report criticised communications between different agencies and
said they led to incomplete and confused information.
were also delays by agencies in acting upon information, and
correspondence from the police to the child care team went
recommendations made by the review group include the need to review
and update the Bedfordshire and Luton domestic violence practice
guidance, improve record-keeping, demonstrate reasons for decisions
on whether or not to conduct section 47 child protection
investigations, and assess the knowledge and understanding of child
care staff to ensure they are adequately trained in child
copy of the report summary is available at www.bedfordshire.gov.uk