Liam Fee Review 'Must Focus On Social Services'

1 June 2016, 12:08

Liam Fee at nursery

The significant case review into the death of toddler Liam Fee must address why he fell "off the radar'' of social services despite concerns being raised about him on numerous occasions, the boss of a children's charity has said.

A probe is under way into the circumstances leading up to the murder of the two-year-old by his mother Rachel Trelfa or Fee, 31, and her partner Nyomi Fee, 29.

Alison Todd, chief executive of charity Children 1st, told the BBC that the ``unimaginable cruelty'' experienced by Liam and two other boys who were abused by the couple had "shocked the whole of Scotland''.

She said: "All of us are looking for answers, and it is really important that the significant case review does actually pick up on all the unanswered questions so that we can make sure that no-one suffers in the same way that Liam Fee did.''

During the couple's seven-week trial at the High Court in Livingston, several witnesses described contacting social services in Fife with concerns over Liam's health and wellbeing.

The court also heard that the boy had dropped "off the radar'' of Fife Council's child protection team.

"I think we know that there were a range of people who raised concerns and I think it is important that we understand how we can better co-ordinate concerns going forward,'' Ms Todd said.

"We have heard that Liam fell off the radar, and again it's important that we understand why that happened and make sure that we make provisions so that it doesn't happen again.''

Patricia Smith - who lived near the family and was one of those who contacted social services - said in an interview she felt her call served little purpose.

Mrs Smith said: "They told me that they would send a health visitor round, but the feeling I got after that call was that I shouldn't have bothered.

"I personally felt like they were maybe getting quite a few calls about them and this one was just another one on the list that was creating them more work.''

Professor Brigid Daniel, a child protection expert at Stirling University, said authorities face the challenge of "maintaining that balance of empathic support for parents... but also being able to maintain that sharp focus on the needs of the child and the potential risks''.

She added: "If you are overly vigilant and overly judgemental, society feels that professions are overly intrusive, whereas if we stand back and provide more support rather than protection, the system is accused of not being alert enough of the risks to childre


The significant case review into the death of toddler Liam Fee must address why he fell "off the radar'' of social services despite concerns being raised about him on numerous occasions, the boss of a children's charity has said.

A probe is under way into the circumstances leading up to the murder of the two-year-old by his mother Rachel Trelfa or Fee, 31, and her partner Nyomi Fee, 29.

Alison Todd, chief executive of charity Children 1st, told the BBC that the ``unimaginable cruelty'' experienced by Liam and two other boys who were abused by the couple had "shocked the whole of Scotland''.

She said: "All of us are looking for answers, and it is really important that the significant case review does actually pick up on all the unanswered questions so that we can make sure that no-one suffers in the same way that Liam Fee did.''

During the couple's seven-week trial at the High Court in Livingston, several witnesses described contacting social services in Fife with concerns over Liam's health and wellbeing.

The court also heard that the boy had dropped "off the radar'' of Fife Council's child protection team.

"I think we know that there were a range of people who raised concerns and I think it is important that we understand how we can better co-ordinate concerns going forward,'' Ms Todd said.

"We have heard that Liam fell off the radar, and again it's important that we understand why that happened and make sure that we make provisions so that it doesn't happen again.''

Patricia Smith - who lived near the family and was one of those who contacted social services - said in an interview she felt her call served little purpose.

Mrs Smith said: "They told me that they would send a health visitor round, but the feeling I got after that call was that I shouldn't have bothered.

"I personally felt like they were maybe getting quite a few calls about them and this one was just another one on the list that was creating them more work.''

Professor Brigid Daniel, a child protection expert at Stirling University, said authorities face the challenge of "maintaining that balance of empathic support for parents... but also being able to maintain that sharp focus on the needs of the child and the potential risks''.

She added: "If you are overly vigilant and overly judgemental, society feels that professions are overly intrusive, whereas if we stand back and provide more support rather than protection, the system is accused of not being alert enough of the risks to childre

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