There is a link on the website of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board headlined: ‘If you think it, report it!’ Click it and you are given a list of authorities to contact if you think a child is being, or is at risk of being, abused. It includes the police.
That was the action taken by a neighbour of Roxanne Davis and partner Samuel Davies on the night of March 11 last year.
That neighbour did the right thing and called the police to the couple’s Gosport flat after hearing screaming. Inside was one-week-old Stanley Davis.
Seventeen days later he would be dead having suffered a catalogue of appalling injuries including the one which would cause his death, an 8cm skull fracture.
Davis and Davies have now been convicted of causing or allowing the death of Stanley.
It is a deeply shocking case, especially so because Stanley was just 24 days old when he died.
The chairman of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board has now promised a serious case review which we hope will recommend improvements in future practice in cases of this kind.
What might prove difficult here is that Stanley was so young.
There was little time after his birth to assess whether he was at risk. He was just 16 days old when he was taken to hospital.
But the review needs to examine in minute detail why alarm bells were not triggered into Davis’s suitability as a mother long before Stanley’s birth.
We know she and Davies were cocaine users; we know they had a stormy and violent relationship.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but why, many will ask, were the police who went to the couple’s flat, not sufficiently worried for the safety of Stanley to have him taken into care? What role, if any, did social services play in this?
It’s too late for baby Stanley but we hope the review’s conclusions might prevent another grotesque death such as this.