Today the BBC website reports the sad case of Tia Rigg who was murdered by her uncle.

A serious case review found Salford Social Services wanting in various respects.

It is depressing how often I come across cases like Tia’s in my role as an abuse compensation solicitor where the same factors are present and where Social Services have failed to protect children in Tia’s position.

Common themes in these cases include:

  • parents reliant on drugs;
  • domestic violence within the family;
  • an over estimation by Social Services of the parenting skills of the mother;
  • a failure to intervene and take action despite reports from other agencies (often medical/police/school).

This case follows earlier criticism of Salford Social Services after a murder in 2009 when there was a failure to set up a protection plan.

The Social Services have a crucial role to play in protecting our children against child abuse, be it of a physical, sexual or psychological nature.

In Tia’s case, it is unlikely that Social Services could have prevented her murder. It is extremely concerning however that in a growing number of cases at the moment, various Social Services are being found to fail in their duty to protect children from the abusive circumstances in which they are being raised.

Abuse in childhood causes lifelong damage.  We must work harder to prevent it.