The Times

June 07, 2002

Father's warnings of abuse ignored

By Alexandra Frean, Social Affairs Correspondent
The Times

Three children suffered prolonged abuse and neglect because a local council refused to believe their father’s warnings about his former partner, according to a report published today.

The report of the council’s actions, by Patricia Thomas, the Local Government Ombudsman, describes the case as profoundly disturbing and calls the council staff’s attitude inexcusable.

The report says that for two years the father, referred to as “Mr Barker”, repeatedly told social workers for Birmingham City Council that his children, aged seven, five and two, were left on their own at night by their mother, and were dirty, underfed and tired. But staff ignored his warnings because they thought his allegations were due to his break-up with the children’s mother.

“The persistent failure by the social services duty team to investigate the numerous allegations that were made had grave consequences for the children concerned which could have easily been much worse,” the report said.

The council will pay £12,500 compensation to the children, to be held in trust until they are 18. Mr Barker has received an apology and £2,000.

Copyright 2002, Times Newspapers Ltd.