Haringey: Professionals ‘must be more sceptical’ after Baby Peter

Graham Badman, chair of Haringey local safeguarding children board, today said that Baby P “deserved better” from the services that were supposed to protect him.

Badman, who was brought in to replace former LSCB chair and director of children’s services Sharon Shoesmith following the Baby P trial last December, called the case a “dreadful tragedy”.

Professionals ‘must be more sceptical’

Following the sentencing of the child’s mother, her lodger and Baby Peter’s stepfather today, Badman said: “I believe the most important lesson arising from this case is that professionals charged with ensuring child safety must be deeply sceptical of any explanations, justifications or excuses they may hear in connection with the apparent maltreatment of children.

“If they have any doubt about the cause of physical injuries or what appears to be maltreatment, they should act swiftly and decisively.”

He said that while every member of staff in the agencies involved with the case were “appropriately qualified, well-motivated and wanted to do their best to safeguard [Baby Peter]” his “horrifying death could and should have been prevented.”

‘Long way to go’ in child protection

Also responding to today’s sentencing, the Local Government Association warned there was a “long way to go” in reducing child abuse in the wake of the case.

LGA chair Margaret Eaton said: “Councils have been working very hard to improve child protection in recent years. However, there is still a long way to go if we, as a society, are to reduce to a minimum the chances of children being abused by a small number of dangerous individuals.

“Protecting vulnerable children is one of the most important jobs local councils do and they are committed to doing it as well as they possibly can.”

Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green said: “The guilty have at last been punished, but we still cannot rest until we fully understand how this poor little boy suffered so terribly, and for so long, under the noses of Haringey’s children’s services.”

Baby P’s mother was today jailed indefinitely for causing or allowing the toddler’s death. Her lodger, Jason Owens, was also jailed indefinitely. Her boyfriend was jailed for 12 years.

More on the sentencing

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