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Pages 10 (2510 words)
The story of Victoria Climbie may simply be seen as the story of two cruel adults, one innocent child, and a breach of trust of savage, unimaginable proportions. Entrusted by her parents in the Ivory Coast to her great aunt Marie Therese Kouao so that she could be given a better life in the United Kingdom, little Victoria instead found herself in the hands of sadists --- Kouao and her boyfriend Carl Manning.
And yet, it is also the story of institutions that have failed our children, a bureaucracy that has neglected the most vulnerable members of our society, and individual officials whose individual omissions have resulted in collective negligence. In the hearings subsequent to the death of Victoria Climbie, it was discovered that she was seen by dozens of social workers, medical practitioners and police officers but all of them failed to either detect signs of abuse or failed to act on them until it was too late. The inquiry revealed that there were as many as 12 opportunities were the authorities could have intervened, but failed to.
For example, when Dr. Mary Schwartz, a pediatrician, looked at Climbie's cuts wounds, she dismissed it as scabies and sent her back home to her abusers. Police officer Karen Jones refused to inspect the home of the Kouao and Manning, where Climbie lived, because she was afraid she would catch scabies from the furniture. Bickering and backstabbing the child protection service in the Haringey area had also contributed to the failure to provide immediate and adequate response to the abuse. ...
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