Four recommendations to improve children’s welfare in Guernsey have been made after a review into the case of an at-risk child.
The Islands Safeguarding Children Partnership found opportunities were missed to manage the risk posed by the boy, who went on to commit serious sexual offences.
The review said John, not his real name, was on a “harmful path”.
But he did not receive timely support from multiple agencies on the island.
Police, Children & Family Community Services and the Children’s Convenor had come into contact with him many times, but support was dealt with on an “episodic basis”.
The four recommendations for improving children’s welfare included reviewing information sharing guidance between agencies, reviewing the partnership’s online procedures, promoting the use of professional challenge and escalation guidance, and continuing to implement a plan arising from a NSPCC audit.
Sarah Elliott, from the partnership, said: “Managing the impact of children and young people exhibiting harmful sexual behaviour is an incredibly challenging area of work for agencies across health and care, justice, the police and education.
“It is important that they are not immediately criminalised prior to their behaviour escalating, yet agencies must consistently – and rightly – focus on the impact of such behaviour on potential victims.”
‘Harmful sexual behaviours’
John, who had neurodiversity issues, which includes conditions such as autism, “clearly” could have been identified as a child in need, the review said.
He started displaying “harmful sexual behaviours” as a late adolescent but opportunities to intervene were again missed.
The review said: “Some risks were seemingly recognised but that it was ‘someone else’ who would be doing the work.
“It is apparent from review that matters were often crisis-driven and fast-moving with concerns for victim safety leading investigations and interventions, but opportunities to intervene using established systems and processes not being used to support and protect John.
“In this case, John was not considered to be the victim of abuse; but treated as the offender.”
John and his mother contributed to the review.