Tuesday 13 May 2008

Here’s a New Excuse!

Obviously, social services departments have been advised to avoid the overuse of such phrases as ‘learning lessons’ and ‘organisational review', probably to spare Google’s servers when they keep cropping up in cases where they’ve blundered, or simply failed to do anything at all.

So they apparently have a new phrase to use: ‘It’s never happened before! How could we possibly know...?’:
Trycia Balhous was stabbed five times by her mother Galtricia Ntsimbi, 23, at their flat in Law House in Barking, east London, on 14 August 2007. The child died from a stab wound and her mother also had stab wounds.

Six days before the stabbing Ntsimbi was arrested for harassing a local shop keeper and was referred to Barking and Dagenham social services by a police doctor. But the Old Bailey heard that she was released without charge and did not receive any follow-up help.

The council had said she was found not to have any mental health care issues, but she was later found to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Barking and Dagenham council said: "This clearly was a tragic incident. The family only came to the attention of agencies a matter of days before Trycia's death and there was no history of intervention prior to this."
Ooops! Mind you, you have to dig a little deeper into a few more newspaper reports to get the full picture:

The ‘Mirror’: “she was released without charge after Barking social services had difficulty finding an interpreter.”

The ‘Mail’: “One psychiatric report later suggested her use of cannabis may have triggered her "episode of mental illness".”

The judge was pretty scathing:
Judge David Paget said: "It seems a thousand pities that his views (the doctor's) were not followed up more precisely. It might have avoided this tragedy."

Prosecutor Christopher Tehrani said the doctor thought Ntsimbi was suffering from a "fixed delusional disorder".

Mr Tehrani said: "He suggested a follow-up. The trouble was the defendant was referred to the local social services. There was no follow-up."
But Barking and Dagenham Council weren't particularly concerned:
It said following the girl's death a serious case review was carried out on behalf of the Barking and Dagenham Local Safeguarding Children Board, which concluded that it was highly unlikely that Trycia's death could have been prevented.
Move along, nothing to see here....

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