COMMENT: '˜We will learn lessons' must be more than lip-service

The death of any child is inevitably going to be bound up in tragic circumstances.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 27th February 2018, 5:07 am

But the details behind the death of Jake Long at just 19 days old make for almost unbearably grim reading.

His mother Nicola Brown called 999 on December 19, 2014, to say Jake had stopped breathing.

The baby was found to have 17 broken ribs. Brown, of Agincourt Road, Buckland, is now serving a life sentence for murder after being found guilty at trial of murder and two counts of GBH.

But a report by Portsmouth Safeguarding Children Board into the death has revealed that ‘early signs of neglect’ were not shared by agencies, and the parents presented the ‘toxic trio’ of mental health problems, alcohol abuse and domestic abuse.

As with any incident like this, the authorities talk of needing to make sure lessons are learned. And more than three years on from Jake’s killing, action has already been taken in a bid to ensure this never happens again.

It must be stressed that no individual is singled out as having failed in their duty.

As always hindsight is 20/20.

However, the failure of the agencies involved to adequately share their information on the family undoubtedly contributed to Jack’s death.

We also routinely hear about how over-stretched many of the departments cited in the report are – from the police to midwives and social services. No mention is made in the report of whether this played a part in failing to pick up the signs.

The senior figures The News spoke to have reiterated that positive changes have already been implemented.

We must trust that this is more than mere lip-service.

Nobody wants another tragedy like Jake Long’s.