Herbert Laming: Learning the lessons of Victoria Climbie

From the Eve Saville Memorial Lecture given by the chairman of the Victoria Climbie inquiry
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Had anyone asked just basic questions of why Victoria Climbie was not in school or how she spent her days they may have discovered that for months she was bound hand and foot, lying in plastic bags in her own urine and faeces, in a cold bath in an unheated bathroom in winter eating whatever food she could get by pressing her face to the plate when it was put in the bath beside her. Yet the very day social services were closing her file under "no further action needed" was the same day Victoria was admitted for the third time to hospital. But this time she could not be saved and her life ebbed away.

When I was appointed I was asked several times if the inquiry would make any difference to the wellbeing of children. Would it change things? Would children be better protected in the future?

I well recognise that risk cannot be eliminated but I am in no doubt that it can be better assessed and more effectively managed. It is to the credit of the Government that at the earliest point after the report was published they put in place an audit in each of the services against the practice recommendations in the report. The Prime Minister has also appointed a Minister for Children.

I hope the Victoria Climbie inquiry will be the last inquiry of its kind.