Council apologises after rape by 11 year-old boy

Council apologises after rape by 11 year-old boy

By Liz Lockhart

A Serious Case Review has identified errors in communication between the agencies involved in a young rapist’s care.

Sunderland City Council admitted that it failed to act upon two warning letter written by a child psychiatrist about the schoolboys mental state and apologised the failures that led to this 11 year-old boy raping another boy.

The boy and his family were known to the police, health, education and children’s services for a number of years but there had been no co-ordinated involvement between these agencies.

Another finding was that Sunderland City Council had not taken the advice from mental health professionals.  Dr Stephen Westgarth wrote to social services on March 23 and again on May 26 to recommend that the boy be placed into care but the letters appear to have been ignored.  Neither did Dr Westgarh receive a reply from the letters.

The 11 year-old boy, from Sunderland, who cannot be named, raped a nine-year-old boy on 8 June 2009.  He had lured him to his bedroom on the pretence of playing on his Xbox games console.

He was sent to a secure detention centre for four-and-a-half years and ordered to spend another three-and-a-half years on licence once released.

After the report by the Serious Case Review the council made a statement saying that it was sorry that mistakes had been made, and a number of measures had been implemented to improve its service.

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council said ‘As a council, we acknowledge that things could have been done better in this case.  We’ve listened and learned from what went wrong and we’ve put in place a series of measures, including extra training, resources and investment’.

He added ‘This is to help make sure, as far as possible, that something like this doesn’t happen again’.

He described this as ‘a very sad case’. 

Relevant links

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