Archive for Rotherham

LONG AWAITED DECISION ON SOCIAL SERVICES NEGLIGENCE

LONG AWAITED DECISION ON SOCIAL SERVICES NEGLIGENCE

(This applies to Exploitation and “failure to remove” cases).

Since December 2017 we have been waiting for the most senior judges in England to decide whether councils can be held liable for negligent social workers. Hundreds of claimants across the country were fearful that judges could have given councils immunity from having to compensate children for failures.

The case is called Poole Borough Council v GN [2019] UKSC 25

In a decision announced yesterday (6th June 2019) common sense prevailed.

The judges decided that where experts offer their skills to the public but provide a negligent service their employers can be held responsible. This will apply to social workers working for the council who investigate and make decisions on how best to keep children safe.

This will apply especially to children (a vulnerable group) who are affected by social work decisions. Failed care cases Where social workers become involved with a family they are expected to exercise reasonable skill and care to protect them from harm. That is the job and specialism of a social worker. The case says at paragraph 80: “..a public body which offers a service to the public often assumes a responsibility to those using the service. The assumption of responsibility is an undertaking that reasonable care will be taken, either express or more commonly implied, usually from the reasonable foreseeability of reliance on the exercise of such care”.

Children impliedly entrust their welfare to professionals looking after them.

My view is that there has been an assumption of responsibility in all cases where social workers have had more than a minimal involvement with a child. The Rotherham and Oxford exploitation cases provide stark examples of the failure of professionals at all levels. This case allows those affected to claim redress.

David Greenwood and the child abuse team at Switalskis Solicitors represent survivors of child abuse due to social work mistakes, including failures to protect from sexual exploitation and grooming. They have extensive experience in helping those who have been affected by child abuse to achieve justice.

If you were a victim of child abuse and would like confidential advice, please contact David Greenwood, Bev Mercer, Sally Smith or Amy Clowrey on 0800 138 4700 or by e mail at david.greenwood@switalskis.com

Ms A: Full Statement

Following the decision of the IPCC to uphold her complaint against South Yorkshire Police, Ms A released the following statement:

“I made this complaint about South Yorkshire Police not only for myself, but also for other girls in South Yorkshire who were in similar situations as me. You can only watch injustice go on for so long until you feel compelled to say something.

“My Pakistani ex-boyfriend told me he beat me and raped me because I was white, and I didn’t behave like a Muslim woman. I reported his abuse, stalking and threats to the police five times, but they said that if I didn’t have bruises, there was nothing they could do. Even when an honour attack led to my fractured skull, the police didn’t investigate, and they dissuaded me from making a statement. I expected him to go to prison for his crimes, but he was always allowed to get away with it.

“I still don’t know why South Yorkshire Police let so many girls down so badly, but they did, and we have suffered a lot. Living in fear, with scars and constant reminders of what they did to us.

“I am very grateful to the IPCC for thoroughly investigating my complaint about the way my case was handled.

“In the future I hope that the police take violent sexual crimes, stalking, and honour attacks more seriously. If the police spent less time making excuses, and more time actually doing their job, the world would be a safer place.”

For more information, please contact David Greenwood, who acts on behalf of Ms A and other survivors of the abuse perpetrated in Rotherham and Sheffield, on 01709 890400.

Louise Casey to appear before Committee

Louise Casey, author of the recent report into the inspection of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, will appear to give evidence to the Commons Select Committee. She is expected to be giving evidence this afternoon.

Ms Casey’s report found Rotherham ‘not fit for purpose’. It is six months since the report of Professor Alexis Jay OBE found that at least 1,400 children were abused in the town between 1997 and 2013.

Rotherham report: culture of bullying and denial at the heart of world of abuse council

The inside politics of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council have been laid bare by Louise Casey’s report, which was published on Wednesday. The report, which found the council to be not fit for purpose following the child sexual exploitation scandal (CSE), highlighted the dual culture of bullying and denial within the council, as well as the way in which council officers continually passed the buck regarding CSE.

David Greenwood, Director and Head of the Child Abuse Department at Switalskis Solicitors, represents 38 survivors of the abuse in Rotherham. Following the publication of the report, he said:

“It is clear that the culture of denial inside the council has resulted in the continued failure to protect vulnerable girls from exploitation by predatory individuals. Because people failed to take responsibility children were horrifically exploited. I’m pleased to see Louise Casey’s report highlighting these fundamental issues in the management of Children’s Social Care in Rotherham.”

David Greenwood on Radio 5 Live

On Friday 29th August, David Greenwood of the Switalskis Child Abuse department appeared on the Stephen Nolan show broadcast live from Rotherham. David appeared with a number of other contributors to a debate held in a local community centre to discuss the fallout of recent media coverage into the Rotherham child exploitation scandal.

David spoke on the programme about the need for Social Services to pick up on the signs of grooming earlier. People need to be aware of how gangs operate and how they entice girls into their control. There needs to be increased vigilance to the signs that girls may be groomed for exploitation. This vigilance is required from all people who are responsible for caring for these girls. This includes parents, schools and social services among many others.

David called for a change in attitudes pointing out how the perpetrators of these offences found it acceptable to behave this way towards young white girls. He called on the local community, social services and the police to look at their culture and change the way they treat young vulnerable girls.

David explained how the police and social services operated within a “comfort zone” and were not willing to step out of that in order to investigate people from different cultures and backgrounds.

David Greenwood also said that it would be a long time before the institutions which failed in Rotherham could build up the public’s trust again. He explained that they could do this by making changes to how they operate and by obtaining convictions against perpetrators. He commented that many girls have yet to speak out as they feel that no one will believe them. It was pointed out in the programme that the victims of exploitation will now be listened to and assistance is available if they choose to come forward.

The child abuse lawyers at Switalskis have a long and positive track record of holding social services to account for failing to protect children. If you need confidential legal advice call us on 0800 138 4700 or e-mail david.greenwood@switalskis.com