‘Abused’ girl turned away by Doncaster children’s services

Interim director of children's services Eleanor Brazil.
Interim director of children's services Eleanor Brazil.

A teenager who claimed she was being physically and emotionally abused by her dad was turned away by Doncaster children’s services when she asked for help – and told to go back home.

An investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman found Doncaster Council should have carried out safeguarding enquiries.

Without an initial assessment, the council never considered the girl’s health and welfare, education and housing needs before coming to its decision.

It meant the authority could not have said she was not at risk of harm if she returned home.

Despite the 17-year-old, from North Yorkshire, telling social workers that her father was ‘extremely controlling’ and that he had been physically abusive towards her since she was aged nine, social workers there told her they would not help.

But the law says it is the responsibility of the authority in which a young person presents themselves as homeless to assess their needs, regardless of where they come from.

Eleanor Brazil, director of children’s services at Doncaster Council, said: “We have apologised to the young person concerned and it was certainly not our intention to cause her any distress or concern.

“We felt at the time that assisting her to return home, and asking the home authority to assess any need for intervention with her and her siblings as a whole family was the right approach and we have liaised with colleagues in her home authority to help that to happen.”

Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband said: “Since the change of administration in May, I know the Mayor has taken steps to improve children’s services.”