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BASW comment on Daniel Pelka murder sentencing

On the day that Magdelena Luczak,  the mother of Daniel Pelka, and her partner Mariusz Krezolek were both given life sentences at Birmingham Crown Court for the four-year-old's murder, BASW urged policy-makers and commentators to avoid using the tragic case as an opportunity to further demoralise the profession.

Commenting on the sentencing, BASW Professional Officer Nushra Mansuri said: "No-one could hear the horrific details of this case and not be moved. We feel so incredibly sad about the torture and suffering endured by little Daniel.

“We wish we could say that the child protection system should be made infallible with no flaws, no gaps and no weaknesses, but we can never give a guarantee that cases like this won’t happen again.

“Today [2 August 2013] is about the sentence and about justice being done for Daniel. This trial has of course, however, raised questions about all the agencies that were involved in Daniel’s life over a period of time. 

“We need the Serious Case Review to identify the opportunities that were missed and to understand in much more detail why they were missed. 

“We need to carefully consider how professionals arrived at certain decisions, what evidence was available to them at the time to inform their assessments and the pressures that may have contributed to mistakes. 

“Many people are asking why these things happen time and time again but we cannot eradicate human error or whatever the other significant factors are in each given case that meant that errors were made. 

“Unfortunately, while every profession understands that mistakes are made over time, with social work such errors or failures so often involve the lives of vulnerable children.

“That said, we should not despair and say that the lessons from the past aren’t being learned, because if we look at the cases where things have gone well and good decisions have been made, we could certainly argue that this is the case. 

“Even though we are all shocked and upset by this case, it is important that it is not be used as an opportunity to devalue and demoralise the profession.

“As long as some adults are determined to inflict cruelty on children and plot to avoid detection, social workers and other professionals who are trying to help young people must be given full support to help them expose such wrongdoing. We as a society need to work together to do our utmost to protect our vulnerable children."