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Daily View: Lessons learnt from Edlington torture case

Clare Spencer | 11:03 UK time, Monday, 25 January 2010

Court drawings of the two attackersThe case of two brothers torturing two young boys in Edlington, South Yorkshire, is a matter of discussion for columnists. They consider the case for and against revealing the identity of the brothers, their parents and the council staff working with them. They also look at the merits of the case cited as evidence of "broken Britain".

The Telegraph editorial asks for the full uncensored council report of the case to be published:

"So far, we have had only an executive summary of the investigation into the way the case was handled, with most of the details removed. How are we to know whether the failings are being addressed if we are not told what they were?
This is not about bashing social workers or seeking scapegoats: the people who were really to blame here are the brothers' parents, who so far have remained hidden behind a mask of anonymity."

The Daily Mail calls for all the people who work for Doncaster council to be held accountable for their mistakes:

"As the Mail reveals today, not a single council official, police officer or health worker is named in the Edlington review.
How will these catastrophic mistakes be avoided in future, if those who make them know they can escape censure?"

Child psychologist Eileen Vizard tells the BBC Today programme that the reason children don't get taken away earlier from problem families is a lack of expertise in child protection services:

"The problem that I think we see constantly is that having got the information over a number of years colleagues of all disciplines often don't seem to be able to understand it. They don't seem to be able to analyse the accumulating data that, to some people, might clearly suggest: look, here is a child in real trouble from a very high-risk family who ought to be helped."

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The Times editorial argues against the campaign to reveal the identity of the two boys:

"What purpose would be served by revealing the boys' identity? It is true that a little money would be saved by the public purse. But if justice is to be motivated by such economies, why not allow chopping off the hands of thieves?"

Melanie McDonagh in Telegraph says the pressure to lift the boys' anonymity focuses on the wrong target:

"It's the parents whose anonymity should be lifted. There was the father who battered their mother in front of his children, who let them watch horror films and pornography that could only have cauterised their childish humanity. And the mother who allowed the children to be abused, who gave them cannabis so that she could have quiet nights in. Let their photographs be all over the papers, let their details be made public for us to marvel at, revolted. They deserve prosecution - and exposure."

In his blog on the Go Fourth Labour website John Prescott critisises David Cameron for bringing up the case as an example of "broken Britain":

"All it does is show how shallow and out of touch Cameron and his team really are. Chasing tabloid headlines for the sake of it."

Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail supports David Cameron's argument:

"Politicians are also justified in asking what such an attack tells us about the state of our society.
Those who say that it tells us nothing of any significance merely illustrate the moral blindness in which such monstrous deeds are incubated."

Links in full

TelegraphTelegraph | Edlington attack: Publish the report
GuardianGuardian | Criminal justice: Mercy and the merits of the case
MailDaily Mail | How will these catastrophic mistakes be avoided in future?
TimesLibby Purves | Times | The moral is: question your motives, parents
TimesTimes | Justice, not Vengeance
TelegraphMelanie McDonagh | Telegraph | Parents must trust their own instincts
TelegraphTelegraph | Edlington attack: Publish the report
MailMelanie Phillips | Daily Mail | Cameron's right about Broken Britain
IndependentIndependent | Fearless talk saves lives
see alsoJohn Prescott | Go Fourth | Bad advice - or judgement?
ObserverObserver | Cameron tells us Britain is broken - but not how to fix it
MailPeter Hitchens | Mail on Sunday | What if the horrors were in cosy Notting Hill?
ExpressLeo McKinstry | Sunday Express | Evil goes unpunished as society loses moral fight
GuardianDavid Wilson | Guardian | Boy torturers were already tortured
GuardianRobert Reiner | Guardian | Labour has not broken Britain
TelegraphSimon Heffer | Telegraph | Edlington attack: we don't have to breed such savages
First PostColine Covington | First Post | Edlington brothers: why boredom turns to torture
BBCEileen Vizard | BBC Today Programme

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