Pelka Review ‘Highlights Need To Encourage People To Speak Out On Abuse’

Specialist Lawyers React To Serious Case Review In Devastating Case

18.09.2013

By Rob Dixon

Legal experts specialising in providing support to victims of child abuse, have urged authorities to ensure that significant lessons are learned from the serious case review into the tragic case of Daniel Pelka.

The review by Coventry Safeguarding Children Board highlighted a number missed opportunities to protect the four-year-old boy, who died after months of neglect and abuse by his mother and her partner.

It found that the missed opportunities included professionals too readily accepting a broken arm in January 2011 as caused accidentally, no concerns from his school regarding injuries and marks and no recognition at a paediatric appointment of the child’s weight loss.

Report author Ron Lock stated that while no one could have predicted that the youngster would be killed, professionals may have been able to better protect him by having “more enquiring minds”.

Luke Daniels, a Partner at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, specialises in helping victims of child abuse to gain justice over the ordeals they have faced and helping them to access the vital support they need to attempt to come to terms with what they have been through.

Commenting on the serious case review, he said: “This report has clearly identified a series of points when opportunities were not taken to address concerns over injuries suffered by Daniel, as well as the weight loss he suffered.

“If anything can be learned from this awful case, it is that authorities and those in positions of trust need to be given support to speak out and raise concerns over potential cases of abuse whenever they emerge.

“As we have seen across recent months, abuse is an issue which very few people talk about and only when issues are out in the open do many people feel able to come forward and discuss concerns or experiences.

“More needs to be done to not only encourage victims to talk about their experiences, but also to ensure that professionals such as teachers or medical experts are encouraged to act on any concerns and raise them as soon as possible.

“As this truly devastating case shows, taking such action can in some cases be the difference between life and death.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Child Abuse claims