Sara Ege: Domestic violence reports as far back as 2003 says case review

Yaseen Ali Ege Yaseen Ege suffered prolonged cruelty, the judge said

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Reports of domestic violence as far back as 2003 were made in the family of a seven-year-old boy whose mother has been jailed for life for killing him, a serious case review has found.

Sarah Ege beat son Yaseen to death at home in Cardiff in July 2010.

The review said there were also delays in making referrals to children's services following reports of domestic violence in 2007.

Jailing Ege on Monday, the judge said Yaseen had suffered prolonged cruelty.

Cardiff Crown Court heard he had been subjected to a ferocious beating when he failed to memorise passages from the Koran.

In the serious case review by Cardiff's local safeguarding children board, published separately on Monday, seven recommendations are made.

The report says while lessons could be learned, Yaseen's death could not have been predicted

Outlining the background, it says in 2003 - seven years before Yaseen was murdered - reports of concern about domestic violence were made to the women's safety unit.

But they were not reported to the police or Cardiff Council's children's services.

In 2007 when further reports of domestic violence were made, there were delays in making referrals to children's services.

When the referral was received by children's services it was not possible initially to contact the family because they were away from the UK for several weeks.

The police and children's services tried to follow up the concerns when they returned but the mother declined the offers of intervention and said the matter had been resolved.

The report said there had been no further reports of domestic violence or any referrals to children's services at the time of Yaseen's death.

The review also said that after Yaseen started school, there were "one or two occasions" when teachers became concerned about his health and wellbeing.

They contacted his mother to say that he should be taken to the doctor, but these were "not referred for consideration under the inter-agency child protection procedures and did not come to the attention of children's services or the police until after his death".

REVIEW RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Training and development audit for education staff responsible for safeguarding children to identify concerns about pupil welfare.
  • Review external support and advice to schools over safeguarding children to ensure clarity and proper communication between head teachers and other professionals
  • Safeguarding children board should engage with Cardiff Domestic and Sexual Violence Forum to learn from Ege case, especially getting views of parents and children threatened by abuse.
  • Learning on "culturally informed assessment and intervention" in families where children are believed to be at risk of domestic violence should be shared with all Wales Domestic Violence Forum
  • Safeguarding children board should identify a sub-group to receive information from Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference coordinator about how it ensures decisions are implemented
  • The board's training should include sufficient awareness about distinct cultures within the city and implications for professional inquiries and assessment, including honour-based violence.
  • Development day to close the gaps in coordinating information and support for vulnerable families with needs below the threshold for statutory help.
  • Source: Cardiff Local Safeguarding Children Board - Serious case review

Nick Jarman, chair of the Cardiff Local Safeguarding Children Board, said:" I am deeply saddened by the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Yaseen.

"The review has highlighted learning for agencies around the crucial area of safeguarding which are already being implemented.

"Knowledge and understanding in respect of safeguarding children is an area where continuous improvement is essential and the lessons learned from this review will contribute to practice development across agencies involved in working with children."

The serious case review panel found evidence that several agencies and individual professionals had worked with "considerable dedication and concern to support the mother".

However, it was found that the efforts were not part of a co-ordinated plan and the "extent of the mother's social and cultural isolation, and the possibility that Yaseen might be at risk of significant harm within the family, was not realised or understood".

The review made recommendations that have been accepted by Cardiff's local safeguarding children board. The board has drawn up an action plan in response to the recommendations and will be monitoring its implementation.

On Monday, Ege was jailed for life, for a minimum of 17 years, after a five-week trial. The court heard she had also set fire to her son's body.

She was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice and given a four-year sentence for that crime.

Her husband Yousuf Ege, a taxi driver, was cleared of allowing the death of a child by failing to protect him.

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