Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Baby P Report Blasts Agencies Which Failed to Identify Violent Boyfriend

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Baby P Report Blasts Agencies Which Failed to Identify Violent Boyfriend

Article excerpt

Byline: Anna Davis and Kiran Randhawa

DAMNING failures to identify and check out one of Baby P's killers were revealed today.

The toddler's mother Tracey Connelly named her violent boyfriend Steven Barker as her next of kin on an official form.

But the authorities missed the chance to investigate who he was and find out that he was living with them.

A report reveals for the first time the full extent of the failings by social workers, doctors and the police that led to the death of 17-month-old Peter Connelly.

His mother, Barker and a lodger were jailed last year for causing or allowing his death. He was found dead in his cot at his Haringey home in 2007. He had suffered 50 injuries despite being visited 60 times by the authorities. The Serious Case Review was made public in order to restore public confidence and improve transparency in the child protection system.

The report found: Child protection officials failed to establish Barker's identity or to interview him and carry out background checks on him.

Social workers were so intimidated by Connelly they were "reluctant" to approach her with their concerns.

She was seen slapping and shouting at one of her children in public.

She swore and intimidated other parents at her children's school.

She became angry after being told to cut her children's hair to deal with their head lice.

Graham Badman, chair of Haringey Safeguarding Children's Board, said: "If Peter is to have a legacy, it is that other children are now safer as a consequence of the honest analysis of events that led to his death and the embedding in practice of the lessons learned." The report revealed Baby's Peter's social worker was told Connelly had a boyfriend but did not ask who he was or request to meet him even though Barker apparently accompanied her to hospital in April 2007 after the toddler suffered a head injury and he was present when a family support worker visited Connelly at home two months later.

The report noted: "Hovering in the background to the situation is Mr H (Barker), the male friend of Ms A (Connelly).

The nature of his relationship to Ms A is not known, the extent of his involvement with the household is also not known, and most importantly his possible criminal background, antisocial behaviour or general background, is not known.

"A man joining a single parent household who is unrelated to the children is well established in research as a potentially serious threat to the wellbeing of the children."

It went on to say social workers were so intimidated by the mother of Baby P that they were scared to talk to her about her children. Peter was still returned to his mother's home despite her "volatile emotional state".

The report adds: "Ms A intimidated the staff with her volatile emotional states so much so that they were reluctant to approach her with concerns about the children or her own antisocial behaviour. …

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