Coventry Case 5
Steps of Risk Assessment 6
Identifying Hazards 6
Less than required amount of attention on children 6
Thinking Errors and Biases 6
Improper communication channels 7
Lack of Initiative in helping out the victim 7
Educational and Emotional Neglect 7
Environmental Neglect 8
Risk Assessment 9
Qualitative Risk Assessment 9
Risk Mitigation 10
Risk assessments are an essential tool to ascertain risks and hazards in a situation to make it safer for people. Risk Assessment form an important part of workplace health and safety. They help providing awareness of the situation to the people connected to the place of concern and figure out how to deal with a potential hazard in a situation. It is very crucial to perform an assessment on concerning hazards in a situation. It helps workers and other people prioritize the hazards so they can plan and arrange safety hazards for future safety. Child protection includes decision making related to the welfare and safety of children. This decision making requires a lot of risk management taking factors into consideration like potential danger to children, level of neglect to children, exposure to environment and at what point of time or circumstance should a child be pulled out from the care of a family. Risk assessments are done to provide a detailed and technical approach to deciding what is good and what is harmful for a child. It helps recognizing future behavior in a situation and helps encounter problems in a better way. The Coventry case can be taken into consideration to ascertain how the risks can be ascertained regarding the problems of child neglect and abuse and how the situation can be dealt in a better manner in future. (Elicott, Dolan, & Cooper, 2013)
Risk: A factor, situation or event which can be harmful to a person or entity can be ascertained as a risk.
Hazard: The probability of a potential risk factor to cause harm to a person or property is called a hazard.
Risk Assessment: The process of analyzing the risks and hazards related to a situation and prioritizing them according to the intensity of the risk to provide safer ways to deal with the situation in the future is known as Risk Assessment. (Risk Mitigation, n.d.)
Risk Mitigation: The process of managing the risks of a situation and providing solutions to deal with the respective risks is known as risk mitigation.
Child in need for protection: When a child has suffered harm, is currently suffering harm, or is at risk due to past occurrences and events and doesn’t have a willing or proper parent to protect the child from harm, the child can be classified under one of the children in need for protection.
Harm: When a child’s physical, mental or emotional well being is getting damaged cumulatively due to any factor, then it can be said that the child is being harmed. It can be caused by neglect or different kinds of abuse.
A risk assessment is a necessity and a duty when it the issue is related to child protection. It is legally compulsory for school bodies to regularly assess the possible risk factors for kids. The protection of children is also a civic duty, if a citizen knows that a child might be at risk due to a certain factor then he should report to child protection. If a parent cannot protect a child in a situation which might cause harm to the child, then he/she should himself report to child services. A risk assessment is the first step in securing a better environment of good welfare and security for children. Increasing incidents of child abuse indicate that rigorous steps should be taken by the child protection council to observe the situation of children properly. If a child remains in the same environment and suffers abuse and eventually dies or grows to be destructive due to the environment in which he was raised then it is harmful to the society. To be able to progress in a country, its people should be safeguarded against threat and child abuse can be called an internal threat which should be accordingly addressed. (Munro, 2011)
The Coventry case is based on the series of events that resulted in the death of Daniel Pelka. It is a classic case of child neglect and child abuse. Daniel was facing neglect at home and at school. At the age of 8 moths he was hurt by a bruise on his head at home and in January 2011 his arm got fractured. Even the hospital increased concerns about the fractured arm. Many other bruises were found which were untreated. He was living with his mother and his stepfather out which neither took care of him properly. Finally when the staff at school discovered that Daniel was being harmed at home, they started taking action by communicating with the authorities but it had a lot of flaws and the messages did not get transmitted very well between the departments. Until it reached the authorities who could take actions to save him, it had been too late for them to act or interfere. He was found dead on 3rd March 2012 which shocked many people worldwide and the case was brought to light and analyzed and the professionals involved to help Daniel had failed miserably and this required authorities to change policies on how future incidents should be handled. (Easton, 2013) The system clearly needed improvement of their action plans and communications.
Steps of Risk Assessment
1. Identifying hazards: Analyzing the potential source of harm.
2. Assessing risks: Determining the entities that can get harmed by this occurrence and also categorizing the risks according to the level of fatality.
3. Mitigating the Risks: Establishing solutions through which the risks can be dealt with in the best possible way. (White & Walsh, 2006)
It is a process of dynamically collecting and analyzing the information to ascertain the risk factors in the situation.
Less than required amount of attention on children
The first hazard concerned with this situation is that the staff is not able to figure out if a child is in trouble or going through neglect or abuse. Proper attention is not given to each child so if there is such a situation cannot be discovered until conditions get very adverse. This can also be done by relatives, neighbors, parents or the teaching staff. Sometimes it also happens that if there is an injury then the school performs first aid and doesn’t inquire about the source of injury and they won’t be able to figure it out unless this activity happens again and again and raises an alarm among the staff. As in the Daniel Pelka situation, Daniel was seen to have 16 visible and alarming bruises and that should have been noticed beforehand the hazards could have been removed and situation could have been encountered in a better manner.
Thinking Errors and Biases
The second risk factor in this situation was thinking errors and biases among the authorities and staff. Thinking Errors in encountering a situation results in faulty decision making which reduces the time to act upon the situation slowing down the entire process. It is also possible that the staff is ill advised about the decision making process about a specific situation. In the Daniel Pelka case, when the authorities came to know about the situation they began the communication but due to confusion, the departments were not able to communicate and come to a particular decision or action plan to counter the situation and it got delayed until a long time.
Improper communication channels
After encountering a hazard, the respective departments are supposed to communicate within each other to reach a conclusion regarding the decision to be taken. If the departments have different types of communication channels then the messages won’t get transmitted in time and the delay will produce fatal results. In the Daniel Pelka case, the school contacted their authorities but one department worked on telecommunication while one operated with written communication. Due to poor performance strategies the message got delayed and never made it in time.
Lack of Initiative in helping out the victim
It has happened in many cases that if a victim has come to light but is ignored a chance to get analyzed properly for signs of domestic child abuse as they are ignored thinking that the bruises are accidental or caused due to playing. This kind of method to deal with a victim is fatal as the victim can be going through cumulative harm and can soon face worse consequences through time due to neglect.
Educational and Emotional Neglect
Educational neglect is caused by negligence of the school staff where absenteeism is overlooked and there is no inquiry is done with the child’s guardians when a child remains constantly absent without prior notice for more than a certain number of days. Neglecting special services at school like treatment or special education is a sign of educational neglect by the educational staff.
Emotional neglect is more difficult to notice or diagnose than physical harm and has more long-term effects. Inadequate nurture causes child to feel isolated and unwanted from which a child can suffer emotionally and mentally. When a child is exposed to an environment of smoking and drug abuse it has apparent effects on the child’s psyche which is not at all healthy and has visible long term effects.
The environment in which a child lives in is surrounded and occupied by various factors like neighbors, teachers, relatives, etc. So when any of these factors do not pay heed to a potential situation in which a child is suffering, It is termed as environmental neglect.
Qualitative Risk Assessment
Unnoticeable Minimal Moderate Above Normal Cataclysmic
Highly Likely Mild illness from time to time which is treated Physical injuries on child and regular illness disregarded
Likely Light bruises which do not repeat and seem normal Environmental neglect Faulty communication channels Child not being able to communiacte his problem at school Authorities showing complete neglect to the any potential problem
Possible Mild Absenteeism Absenteeism due to illness Emotional neglect at home Exposure to smoking and drug substances.
Not Likely Zero participation in extra activities by school disregarded Absenteeism due to injuries Total absenteeism perfectly ignored by school
Rare Erratic behavior at school Child being violent at school Depression and erratic behavior disregarded at school
Hazard Risk Mitigation Suggestion
Emotional Neglect Maximizing quality time with the child to not make him feel neglected
Environmental neglect Introducing the children to neighbors and making more plans with other people
Repeated physical injuries noticed Instant contact with protection
Absenteeism Regular contact with the guardians by the schools advised
Erratic behavior and depression found School appointed or recommended child psychiatrist should contact the child
Faulty communication channels Regular drills and channel optimization advised
Child health deteriorating Health checkup required to ascertain source of harm
Risk Assessment regarding child abuse and neglect brings out various hazards to be concerned about. It is currently a situation seen quite often which is not vital to the progress of the society and proves how careless everybody has become to the pain of the people that surround them. Constant care and nurture is a must in the upbringing of a child in any environment the child goes to which includes both schools and home. The schools are advised rigorous watch over the children to ascertain potential harm to a child. If authorities and communication systems are optimized it will bring a fast decision making system in operation which will substantially aid the cause. Regular risk assessments regarding this kind of a situation is advised to promote and properly regulate Child Protection Services.
Easton, M. (2013, September 17). Starved boy Daniel Pelka ‘invisible’ to professionals. Retrieved July 5, 2014, from http://www.bbc.com/: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-24106823
Elicott, C., Dolan, A., & Cooper, R. (2013, July 31). Daniel Pelka Trial – Boy starved & beaten to death by parents. Retrieved Junly 5, 2014, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2381922/Daniel-Pelka-trial-Haunting-final-image-boy-4-starved-beaten-death-parents.html
Munro, E. (2011). How organisations can learn to reduce risk to children. Child Protection System in England , n.a.
Risk Mitigation. (n.d.). Retrieved July 5, 2014, from http://www.riskythinking.com/: http://www.riskythinking.com/glossary/risk_mitigation.php
White, A., & Walsh, P. (2006). Risk assessment in child welfare. Ashfield: Centre for pallning and Research.