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BASW statement on Hamzah Khan after his mother is sentenced for his manslaughter

Commenting on today’s sentencing of Amanda Hutton for the manslaughter of her son Hamzah Khan, Bridget Robb, Chief Executive of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) said:

“This is an appalling case involving the desperately sad life, and tragic death, of a helpless child, Hamzah Khan, as well as the neglect of five of his siblings who survived their ordeals.

“More details about the involvement or otherwise of various agencies will emerge when the Serious Case Review is published but what is clear is that domestic violence and alcohol abuse were huge factors in the neglect and cruelty Hamzah and his siblings experienced over a disturbingly long period of time.

“This has been a difficult month for anyone with a concern for the welfare of the most vulnerable people in our society, and especially so for those professionals for whom child protection and adult safeguarding are their daily occupation.

“Whether a child is known to the authorities and mistakes are made that lead to injury or death, or a child isn’t on the radar of child protection workers and terrible suffering comes to light, or adults are living with serious domestic abuse and addiction problems, there is a need for all professionals, and wider society too, to consider how to act quicker and more effectively to keep vulnerable people safe.

"No-one can ever promise to keep all children and vulnerable adults safe from harm but social workers, as much as anyone in society, want to see all realistic and practical steps taken that can minimise the chances of similar tragedies in future. Equally, social workers will always join with other professionals in exploring better ways of joining up our work to reduce the chances of other children having to endure terrible suffering like that experienced by Hamzah."

BASW's Special Interest Group in Alcohol and other Drugs has produced a series of pocket guides to support social workers in working with substance use, which can be downloaded here: http://www.basw.co.uk/pocket-guides/