Haringey criticised over failures in case of young person who took her own life

The council failed to follow up child protection implications of Mary Stroman's situation, a serious case review found

Photo: WestEnd61/REX (posed by model)

Haringey council has been criticised for not following up child protection concerns despite “such obvious cause for concern” in the case of a young person who took her own life.

The Haringey Safeguarding Children’s Board serious case review into the death of Child O, who has been identified as Mary Stroman, said child protection implications of the overall situation were not pursued, and that concerns over whether the girl was sexually exploited were at times not followed up by children and young people services.

Services were criticised after they reached “unevidenced conclusions”, which included dismissing “early disclosures by Child O of sexual exploitation on the basis that they were incredible and probably a consequence of O’s ‘mental health issues’”.

Stroman died in January 2014, aged 16, after four years of involvement from services. She had post-traumatic stress disorded caused by episode(s) of sexual abuse, which was identified in a coroner’s hearing last year. She self-harmed and disclosed suicidal thoughts throughout the four years covered by the review.

Child protection response

“The circumstances of Child O’s situation required a formal child protection response and, within that, a consideration of the specific guidance on children who are being sexually exploited. No agency identified this and pursued it. This is perhaps further evidence of the way in which the disagreement between agencies about admission to care diverted attention from the fundamental processes of assessment and review,” the review said.

It added: “Even without reference to this specialist guidance one would have expected a formal child protection response in the light of Child O’s extreme behaviour and the extent to which her parents struggled to control her and protect her from the potential consequences of that behaviour.”

The local authority resisted placing Stroman in public care, the review said. She was eventually placed in a residential therapeutic school in Wiltshire, until her death. Concerns were raised about the decision by the council to cancel this placement following an inadequate Ofsted judgement, without consulting Stroman or her family who had gone on holiday. She was eventually allowed to return to the placement.

A total of 21 agencies, including the police, NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups  were involved in the serious case review, which raised concerns that a number of issues raised in a 2013 serious case review, which looked into the circumstances surrounding the abuse of a child that should have been prevented earlier, had re-appeared in this case.

The council was criticised for responding slowly and failing to provide “any written explanation for their decisions and actions” to the family.

Sadness

Paul Ennals, independent chair of the safeguarding board, said it has started acting on the reviews’ recommendations, which it accepts.

“She did not normally find herself able to trust people, and perhaps the greatest sadness that staff from all agencies express is that, despite so many people working with her closely over several years, nobody can feel sure that they truly understand what was at the heart of her unhappiness,” Ennals said.

On the arranging of Stroman’s final placement: “The quality of joint working between the council and the relevant health commissioning group, who were sharing in the costs of the placement, was poor, particularly from the local authority that provided two thirds of the funding. There has been clear learning for the local authority and its partners from this episode, and improvements have been introduced to the systems for jointly commissioning any future very high intensity placements.”

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4 Responses to Haringey criticised over failures in case of young person who took her own life

  1. andy October 22, 2015 at 8:16 am #

    It is a common denominator to have lack of trust when under the cosh of sexual abuse .

    The facilities for help not just in Haringay but in Britain are appalling because they are fragmented and so hard to get .

    I believe the mental health services are in deep **** too .

    So ..the suicide .

    Let’s have more cutbacks ..more police cover ups. ..more whitewash ..and sadly read more of these cases .

    The Tories hang their notes out to dry
    While survivors of sexual abuse hang their heads and cry .

  2. Nigel October 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    Once upon a time as all good stories go ..all children’s stories ..that is ..grown men and women with hard jobs to do were sat in a room and a magician told them an incredible tale that two MP s were responsible for so much harm and a deal was done outside the room long before the magician arrived .

    The good magician felt very sad about this deal and had no part in it .

    She said The big trusted people were trying to make a deal and they made one .

    All the grown men and women felt sad too and one of them tried to tell the big trusted people but one of the good trusted people said it must be a dream for the ingredients are all gone .

  3. The wise owl October 27, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    I do hope others reply .

  4. The wise owl October 27, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    If after all our silences we remain in omission and all the good people ..the Police . the teachers . the Social Workers remain scared of losing their jobs ..performance ratios ..then Mary Stroman has died for nothing .like Baby P and Kimberley Carlisle the bureaucracy strangled the child before it died .

    It is terrible for a child to come forward .I was never believed and u read and I can read it takes 8 times in average before a child is .

    ” First they came for the political prisoners and I said nothing. Then they cane for the Hews and I kept silent. Then they came for me and there was no one to speak up for me .”

    Pastor Niemoller.

    PLEase print this .