2. Victoria’s biography
3. After Victoria’s death...
5. Pictures about the material
The death of any child as the result of non-accidental injury is a tragedy. The fact, that in England around 80 children die every year from abuse or neglect, and that this figure has remained relatively constant over more than 30 years, is shocking. Since 1948 there have been around 70 public inquiries into major cases of child abuse. The names of many of the children who have died have become well known, simply because of the terrible nature of their deaths. In many of these cases the child has been the target of abuse from an adult who is not the natural parent (typically a step-father). While the particular circumstances of each case are different, there are also areas of considerable similarity. In particular, the following features recur time after time: • Failure of communication between different staff and agencies. • Inexperience and lack of skill of individual social workers. • Failure to follow established procedures.
• Inadequate resources to meet demands.
Victoria Climbie, the 8 year-old girl, died on 25. February 2000 in London, because the child protection system and medical care that should have protected her failed her so absolutely.
Victoria was born near Abidjan in the Ivory Coast on November 1991, the fifth of seven children. According to her parents, she had a happy and healthy childhood. In October 1998, Marie-Therese Kouao, the aunt of Victoria’s father, visited the family and took Victoria to France with her, where she promised to arrange better education for the girl. From that point Kouao pretended that Victoria Climbie was her daughter Anna Kouao, which was already documented in her passport (she originally planned to take another girl, Who’s names was Anna, but failed to do so). Throughout her life with Kouao, Victoria was known as Anna. They stayed there about five months where Victoria finally attended school, but her absenteeism was causing concern. In february 1999, the school issued a child-at-risk notification and a social worker became involved. On 24. Aprill 1999 Kouao and victoria left France and moved to London, where Kouao used Victoria as a useful tool for claiming benefits. A day later, after arrival, they visited Kouao’s Distant relative named Esther Ackah, who was concerned about Victoria and made two anonymous telephone calls to Brent Social Services, but no action was taken. From June 1999 Victoria was spending much of her time with a childminder, Priscilla Cameron, while Kouao went to work. The abuse of Victoria seemed to increase after they moved in to Carl Manning’s Flat in Somerset Gardens, Tottenham. Victoria had many injuries on her face which Kouao claimed were selfinflicted. The following day Mrs Cameron’s adult daughter took Victoria to the Accident and Emergency department of the Central Middlesex hospital. Victoria was admitted to the hospital and Brent Social Services and the police were informed. After conclution that she was suffering from scabies, she was sent back home. On 24 July 1999, just over a week later, Victoria was back in North Middlesex hospital with several burns and she was admitted to the paediatric ward and stayed there for 13 nights. The senior house officer contacted Haringey Social Services, and a referral was also made by an Enfield social worker based at the hospital. On 28 July a meeting was held at Haringey’s offices, and Victoria’s case was allocated to a social worker Lisa Arthurworrey. Ms Arthurworrey and a police constable visited Victoria on 6 August 1999 and decided it would be appropriate for her to be discharged back into Kouao’s care. During these months Victoria had little contact with the outside world, and was seen by professionals on only four occasions, twice when she was visited by...