A SOCIAL worker has given evidence in the case of four siblings who are suing Milton Keynes Council, claiming the authority failed to protect them from being abused by their father.
Teresa Angelico worked with the family in the 1990s, after the father admitted he had sexually abused his two eldest sons.
The father left the home and the children – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – were placed on the child protection register.
However, London’s High Court has heard the father returned home, following intervention by the council’s social services team, and the children’s names were removed from the register.
The father was years later jailed for life after admitting 40 offences against his four children – including rape, making indecent images, gross indecency and indecent assault. During cross-examination by the children’s barrister, Justin Levinson, Miss Angelico said she did not revisit the case after 1993, because she was no longer the children’s social worker and they were no longer on the register.
She told the court that “sexualised behaviour” displayed by the two eldest boys, and a deterioration in their schoolwork, were not seen as “clear signs” that the abuse had started again after the father returned to the home.
Miss Angelico added: “I didn’t think these were seen as clear signs at the time.
“I think what was accepted at the time was that the boys getting involved in sexualised behaviour could have been sexual experimentation, due to their young ages, or possibly them reacting to the previous abuse.
“But it wasn’t seen as a sign that the abuse had resumed.”
She told Judge Alison Hampton QC that “keeping safe work” was done with the three eldest children, and that they were repeatedly told to inform an adult if the abuse started again.
Miss Angelico also said that no such work was done with the youngest child –who was not born at the time social workers were involved with the family – because it was not believed she was at risk.
She added: “It was considered that the work was as completed as it could be and it was believed that the children understood what they needed to do if they felt unsafe again in the future.
“(The youngest child) had no keeping safe work. I believed the work with the family had been successful.”
When asked by Mr Levinson if she had ever considered whether the youngest child was at risk, Miss Angelico replied: “No, I thought the children were safe. I didn’t believe she was at risk.”
The four siblings have launched legal action against Milton Keynes Council, claiming social workers failed to protect them from years of horrific abuse at the hands of their father. The claimants – now aged between 17 and 25 – are seeking hundreds of thousands of pounds in damages.
They contend that, had it not been for the council’s negligence in allowing the father back into the home, they would not have suffered any abuse after 1992.
Milton Keynes Council denies liability for the children’s injuries and argues it owed no duty of care to the youngest child – as she was not born at the time of their involvement with the family.
The case continues.