It would be hard to find someone in the UK who was not touched by the story of Baby Peter Connelly, who was brutally tortured and murdered in his own home, by the people who were supposed to care for him, under the noses of the people supposed to protect him.
His case changed the way many of us see child abuse, and our responsibilities to vulnerable children. A.A.A was founded as part of the effort to create a world where children like Peter are safer. It was born out of grief, outrage and a need to do something, anything, to try to make a difference. But mostly, it was born out of Love. Love of the admin and members for Peter, which motivated us all take action against child abuse.
Since then, there have been efforts by the government to improve the system for the better. Lord Lamings 2nd report and the Munro Inquiry (both can be viewed under the Knowledge Is Power tab), to name a couple of attempts at effective change. But the sad truth is that babies are still as likely to die a brutal death as five years ago – and eight times more likely than other children to be a murder victim. 23 children still suffer and die every year in the UK, and many of those deaths are preventable.
Serious Case Reviews are investigations conducted when a child dies or is seriously injured whilst under the protection of social services. The NSPCC has investigated 28 SCRs in the 5 years since Peter’s death, and found that many of the issues identified in Peter’s case (and Victoria Climbie before him, and many other children before that) are still serious problems today. These issues include domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as mental illness and the arrival of an unknown male partner (like Stephen Barker in Peter’s case). Andrew Flanagan, Chief Exec at the NSPCC, said:
“These factors feature over and over again. In half the cases, family history was not fully explored by professionals as part of a risk assessment. Twelve of the reviews revealed the focus was on the adults and not the child, while an unknown male joining the family featured in seven cases. The NSPCC believe more needs to be done to learn from past mistakes and ensure these errors are not repeated. While we wholeheartedly support efforts by the Department for Education to cut bureaucracy in social work, we must not forget one of the reasons highlighted for the failure to protect Baby P was social workers were overworked. If we are to learn from the past and protect more babies it is important we invest in the social workers themselves so we can retain the best and most experienced staff.”
We had an absolutely amazing response to our Master Letter Campaign just after Peters death, and we were able to reach over 40% of UK MPs, through their own constituents, because of awesome people like YOU! Some of the suggestions in that letter have or are being implemented. Not only that, but it affirmed to the political parties the importance of effective child protection to the general public.
Public interest has dwindled, and it is a lot harder now to motivate action than it was when the case first exploded onto the media. But the facts remain the same:
5 years on, children JUST LIKE PETER are in DESPERATE NEED of your help, now more than ever.
Support Our 5 Years On: I Still Care Campaign!
Send the message below (in italics copy/paste or modify as you like) to YOUR MP in literally SECONDS by typing in your postcode via this link.
We can NEVER THANK YOU ENOUGH for every single thing each one of you does to end child abuse, but we’ll never stop trying – THANK YOU! :) <3
Dear [MP’s NAME]
I am writing to you on behalf of children suffering today as Baby Peter Connelly did 5 years ago.
I acknowledge the efforts the government has made to improve child protection in the 5 years since Peters death on the 3rd of August 2007. But i am concerned that as public pressure decreases and the sense of urgency seen in the aftermath of Peter’s death is dulled by time, the committment of the government to genuinely and honestly face the insidious problems within the child protection system may be dwindling too.
The sad and alarming truth is babies are still as likely to die a brutal death as five years ago – and eight times more likely than other children to be a murder victim. 23 children still suffer and die every year in the UK, and many of those deaths are preventable.
A new report by the NSPCC into 28 Serious Case Reviews in the 5 years since Peter was murdered, identifies some of the problems that hindered the protection of Peter are still very prevalent today, including the arrival of an unidentified male into the family home. Andrew Flanagan, Chief Exec at the NSPCC said that in half the cases, family history was not fully explored by professionals as part of a risk assessment and 12 of the reviews revealed the focus was on the adults and not the child. He also warned again of the very real problem that is over-worked social workers; cutting bureaucracy is a start but is not enough.
I was pleased to see that a lack of inter-agency communication was not cited as a major problem in this report – a vast improvement on a problem that has plagued child protection for many years. I applaud this change, and am glad to see we are making some progress.
I urge you to do everything in your power to ensure the rights of vulnerable children are protected. I urge you to do everything possible to keep children and child protection issues at the forefront of the political agenda. I urge you to be vigilant in ensuring the well-being of our children is the number 1 priority for government.
I ask you to remember a beautiful little baby boy, who was failed on every level, and who paid the highest price. In remembering him, please do all you can to ensure future babies like him are not failed so terribly.
Thank you for your time,