The death of Khloe Abrams from Northampton may have been averted if an Army psychologist and doctor had told civilian authorities of her father’s thoughts about harming a child, a Serious Case Review has concluded today.
Former Grenadier Guardsman Liam Culverhouse was jailed for six years at Northampton Crown Court last month for causing the death of his daughter, Khloe, who died of her injuries in November 2012.
A serious case review, published today, has said the failure to share this information was a “serious error” which, if in place, “could have prevented the child’s death”.
The report, presented by chairman of the Northamptonshire Local Safeguarding Children Board, Kevin Crompton, says: “There is evidence that several months before the child was born, the father had declared to two doctors employed by the Army that he believed he was likely to harm his child if they were left alone together.
“Neither doctor shared that information with Children’s Social Care or the Army Welfare Service. This failure to ultimately share that information with civilian safeguarding agencies was a serious error as it denied those agencies the opportunity to fulfil their responsibilities to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare.
“Had the information been shared, an initial or core assessment should almost certainly have been triggered and in turn, highly relevant further information about the parental backgrounds would have been accessed.
“Measures may well have then been put in place which could have prevented the child’s death.”
Major General Ewan Carmichael, director of General Army Medical Services, said: “This was a tragic case and our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.
“We take the safeguarding of children seriously and despite having procedures in place, we could have done more to help protect the soldier’s family.
“We have since taken a number of steps to improve information sharing between Army units, the Army Welfare Service, Defence Medical Services and with their equivalent civilian organisations.
“We will now consider all of the recommendations of the Serious Case Review to ensure our procedures are as robust as possible.”
The Army said that at no stage during his military career did Culverhouse update his records to inform his chain of command or his administrative staff that he had dependent children.
The Army maintained today that “there is no clear evidence that Army procedures failed”.
A spokesman said the Army have, nevertheless examined those procedures and, where possible, improved them.
Changes made included the following:
- The Army have reminded and will continue to remind all personnel that it is essential they keep their personal information up-to-date. Regular audits of this information are carried out.
- The Army introduced a new system to ensure that defence medical personnel are familiar with child protection practices and that their training is up-to-date.
- The Army have reviewed the training of other non medical personnel who may be involved with concerns or issues about children, to ensure they have received the appropriate level of safeguarding guidance.
- The Army have improved Army Welfare Service procedures to ensure appropriate information sharing both within the Army and with other external agencies.