To update the Committee on the learning from the Serious Case Review
The Sub-Committee considered a Report on the learning from Serious Case Review (SCR) Jasmine published in April 2021
The SCR had been commissioned in July 2019 by North Tyneside Safeguarding Board (NTSCB) in line with statutory guidance at that time. An Independent Reviewer was commissioned to facilitate the review process and complete the report. The Review was completed in September 2020 but could not be published until criminal proceedings had concluded.
The purpose of a SCR was to undertake a rigorous analysis of the contact Jasmine and her family had with services to try and understand what happened and why. The organisations responsible for services could then identify any lessons to be learnt which could be used to improve services and reduce any future risk of harm to children and young people.
The Safeguarding Partners were resolved to act on the learning and a detailed action plan was in place which identified achievable and measurable actions to act on the learning identified in the Review.
Members discussed the issues raised in the Report and in the course of the discussion raised the following points:
- A Member expressed concern that the perpetrator had been allowed to go back to the family home, that the child had been let down by Services and that the sexual abuse would impact on the child and family and affect the child’s mental health.
The Review found that Jasmine’s allegation against P was taken seriously, discussed with agency partners and actions taken in line with child protection procedures. However, Jasmine’s retraction of her allegation and the response to it was not discussed with agency partners and was not subject to the same degree of scrutiny. Her refusal to cooperate and the letter she sent stating she had made up the abuse did not spark healthy skepticism and was not sufficiently explored with her. The important role of trusted relationships with vulnerable children and young people to enable them to talk about their experiences was highlighted.
It was noted that to support practitioners in this complex area of work the Safeguarding Partnership had developed training which considered child sexual abuse from the child’s perspective and included why children may retract statements of sexual abuse and how they can be best supported when they do so. Feedback in relation to the value and relevance of the training had been positive.
- Members referred to the child’s retraction of her allegation and the response to it not being discussed with agency partners and asked what action Children’s Social care would be taking in the future to make sure this does not happen again.
It was reported that going forward as part of the training there would be multi agency involvement and the procedures emphasised and shared with agencies and other local authorities on retractions.
- A Member expressed concern that the views of the articulate professional parent had been listened to at the expense of the child’s view in this case.
The learning identified in the Review highlighted the need to be aware of the possibility of elements of disguised compliance in the responses of some parents/carers.
- Reference was made to the support that Social Workers received when dealing with a case of sexual abuse and it was confirmed that a number of actions from the Case review for Children’s Social Care included:
- Supervision training which had taken place with all team managers in relation to the principles of quality, effective and reflective supervision.
- A Workshop for managers in relation to group supervision using the Signs of safety methodology had taken place
- Supervision audit had been carried out, and a task and finish group had implemented the recommendations, including changes to the supervision policy.
- In reply to a question regarding social work support and supervision, it was noted that staff met with managers every four weeks to reflect and virtual support was available for practitioners.
- It was acknowledged that the Safeguarding partners were resolved to act on the learning and would have a better understanding of this area of work and share in multi agency training.
The Chair thanked the North Tyneside Safeguarding Children’s Partnership Business Manager for the Report and for attendance at the meeting.