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Modernising Risk Assessment and Decision Making in Child Protection

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Modernising Risk Assessment and Decision Making in Child Protection

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  1. SCD5 Child Abuse Investigation Command Detective Superintendent Richard Henson Modernising Risk Assessment and Decision Making in Child Protection Working together effectively in Hillingdon

  2. Child Abuse Investigation Command – SCD5 History & Background • SCD5 mission to make children safer in London • Established post Victoria Climbie’, 2000 • Largest dedicated police child abuse/protection command in world @ 450 detectives/200 police staff • Serves Pan London 32 LSCB’s (some wider remit) • Modernisation program post Baby Peter, 2008-10 • Consolidation 2011.

  3. SCD5 Issues/Challenges/Role • Forefront of Multi-agency working • Complex arena child abuse investigation • Child Protection/Safeguarding issues • Very High Organisational Risk • Critical decisions often at low levels • High profile criminal justice cases • Intense media interest • Political issues.

  4. What is Risk Assessment? • All assessments of risk require foundation knowledge on which to build our understandings and shape our interventions with children and families. • The determination of quantitative or qualitative value of risk related to a concrete situation and a recognised threat. Quantitative Risk Assessment requires calculations of two components of risk R, the magnitude of the potential loss L and the probability P that the loss will occur. • Assessment of risk is complex and not related to the number of risks appearing alone. Rather, the imminent risk posed in a particular situation will be dependent upon what they are and how they apply in that context. • A risk assessment can only identify the probability of harm, assess the impact of it on key individuals, and pose intervention strategies which may diminish the risk or reduce the harm. Assessments cannot prevent risk. • A common first step in the risk management process.

  5. Risk Assessment Think Umbrellas!

  6. Child Risk Assessment Model :CRAM Risk Factors • Based on learning from SCR’s, MARAC, Intel Analysis, SUDI’s etc • Risk Assessment reviewed & updated on new & current Information

  7. Case Study Think Risk Factors • Would you recognise them? • What would they trigger? • When would you notify or refer? • When would you intervene? • How would you intervene?

  8. Death of Baby Peter TIMELINE: March 2006: Birth of Peter Connelly (Baby P) June 2006: Mother begins new relationship November 2006: Steven Barker moves into the home December 2006: Peter admitted to hospital with bruising (placed in care). 1st police investigation January 2007: Return to care of mother April 2007: Admitted to hospital with bruising & swelling (police not informed) June 2007: Mother arrested for Common Assault after more bruising found. 2nd investigation July 2007: Peter is smeared with chocolate to hide more bruising 2 August 2007: Mother told not going to be prosecuted 3 August 2007: Peter is found dead in his cot

  9. Tracey Connelly • History of Drug abuse • Mother: Alcohol/Drug user • In & out of care • Socially inadequate • Special Needs Education • Previous victim of abuse • Met ex-husband at 15yrs.

  10. Stephen Barker • Semi-literate • Allegedly abused as a child • Mental Health issues • Special Needs Education • Animal Cruelty • Relationship issues.

  11. Jason Owen • Previous convictions • Drug abuse • Troubled youth • Suspected Paedophile • Name changes • 15 year old girlfriend.

  12. Post Mortem findings • Fractured spine • Nine broken ribs • Avulsed tooth • Necrosis of finger • Torn ear • Head injuries • No precise cause of death initially at PM.

  13. Medical Chronology • October 2006 Bruising to head GP • December 2006 NAI bruising to head taken into care hospital • January 2007 Old leg fracture found • April 2007 Further bruising to head different hospital • April 2007 Referred to CDC for banging his head • May 2007 Hives GP • 1 June 2007 Further bruising to head hospital • 6 June 2007 Walk in clinic finger infection • 9 June 2007 Walk in clinic ear infection • 9 July 2007 Hospital ear infection • 18 July 2007 Walk in clinic injuries to scalp • 19 July 2007 Injuries to scalp hospital • 26 July 2007 Head lice GP • 1 August 2007 CDC behavioural problems and why bruising • 3 August 2007 Found dead

  14. Death of Peter Connelly • Avulsed tooth 12 hours • Fractured spine 3 to 5 days • Nine broken ribs 7 to 10 days • Necrosis of finger 2 months old? • Torn ears 2 months • Head and facial injuries since October 2006 many are recent • Had most if not all of these injuries when he was seen by professionals - not just Health!

  15. Police Areas for Improvement – 30 AFI’s • Risk assessment (Control measures) • Identifying critical risk in high volume (How?) • Focus onhigh risk(How?) • Information exchange (Updating & challenging) • Recording - data standards (IT systems) • Supervision (Quality, consistency, timeliness) • Escalation and challenge (Who/How?) • Resilience and capacity. (Skills/training/support)

  16. Child Risk Assessment Model CRAM6 core elements • Intelligence • Risk factors • Risk assessment • Supervision • Recording • Communication

  17. Comprehensive research and collation of relevant information from police records and partner agencies including the continuing evaluation and identification of information gaps to support decision making and operational activity.

  18. Referenced areas of high risk are grouped in relation to the child (Victim), the suspect (offender) and the household (location). The relevance of each must be considered alongside other prevalent risk issues

  19. An on-going process requiring updating as the case develops. The risk assessment is case specific rather than an assignment of status of risk. SMART control measures are a vital to risk management.

  20. Competent, informed and regular supervisory input to support case officers and ensure appropriate case management, effective intervention to protect the vulnerable. Supervision must be proactive and visible with recorded rationale.

  21. Recording information, rationale and decisions is best practice. Records must be available for immediate operational reference and reports to other parties must be clear and concise. References to supporting material must be clear and duplication avoided.

  22. Research, analysis & decisions with rationale are recorded clearly and concisely. Dialogue is comprehensive & checked to ensure understanding particularly in strategy discussions and when requesting information. Actions should be completed within agreed time frames or parties informed as to barriers. Dissent must be recorded and brought to the attention of supervisors.

  23. “RISK” • "Once risk has been assessed, the more substantial task is to manage it, to think of how to intervene to reduce it" Munro, E Effective Child Protection 2008 • "The absence of a clear focus on the source of risk to children is important because in such situations child protection registration or any form of supervision is unlikely to be effective." Humphreys & Stanley, DV & CP, Directions for Good Practice.

  24. Reducing risk & repeat victims No of Repeat Victims Initial Crime Reports 0.08% were repeat victims 5 times or more (in 12months) 1.34% were repeat victims 3 times or more (in 12months) 9.17% were repeat victims

  25. Reducing risk & repeat victims 2 Initial Crime Referrals/Reports Escalation of supervisory review to DI on 3/12 repeats. Escalation of supervisory review to DCI on 5/12 repeats No of Repeat Victims

  26. ABC - Challenge! • A Assume nothing…. • B Believe nobody….. • C Check everything…

  27. Authoritative Practice • “Although perhaps not consciously, a parent/carer… tests the resolve of the safeguarding child protection systems” Baby P SCR • “It is crucial to be sceptical of the accounts that are given for any maltreatment of children… They must be tested thoroughly against the facts.” Biennial review of SCR’s 2005-7

  28. Challenge! Challenge! Challenge! Challenge! “Of Course they are lying. Everybody lies” David Simon, Creator of “The Wire” Are they lying?

  29. Authoritative Practice • We are the ‘Authorities’ … Do you tell the truth? • Fear is a powerful thing, especially when you are, or you feel vulnerable. • Child abuse can be addictive. • Some abusers are professionals! • Addiction is based on deception and takes many forms, professionals need to challenge.

  30. Think the Unthinkable • Look at the facts. Ask questions, explore your hunches, use your training. • Where is the evidence of real change? Research • 75% of parents do not co-operate with CP Professionals (includes disguised compliance telling workers what they want to hear, learned behaviour & professional language) Biennial review of SCR’s 2005-7

  31. Control Measures- RARA RReduce risk A Avoid risk R Remove risk A Accept risk Risk assessment is an ongoing process! Measures must be SMART Record Rationale.

  32. Supervision • Timeliness (24hrs, 7days, 28 days Crimes (42days CPP) or on new significant Intel. • Authoritative supervision (Who) • Recording rationale and direction • Challenge • Prioritisation • Escalation • Risk Management

  33. Moving Forward • Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) • Implementations Harrow/Haringey Jan'12 • Confidential information sharing • Improved communication • Joint service provision • Improve problem recognition • Improve outcomes for vulnerable.

  34. The Crambrella ! Richard.henson@met.police.uk