Cllr Abraham: ‘no child deaths’ ‘most important thing’ about damning child protection report

Cllr Abraham said that no children dying while in the care of the council’s child protection services was the most important thing when considering the council’s ‘inadequate’ in all areas rating by Ofsted.

child on steps

At last night’s full council meeting, Barry Abraham, the ward councillor for Wootton Bridge gave his view on the damning ‘inadequate’ Ofsted report over child protection, which had been released the day before.

He was speaking in support of Cllr Dawn Cousins, cabinet member for Children and Young People, who had just finished defending the council in response to the report.

Cllr Abraham was quick to jump to Cllr Cousins’ defence, saying, “I am glad that Cllr Cousins isn’t going to resign” adding that “she is the person that can make a difference and improve it.”

‘No child deaths’
He went on to say, “as serious as this has been, there have been no child deaths on the Isle of Wight and I think that has to be borne in mind. I think that is the most important thing here.”

Cllr Abraham’s comment was met with a considerable number of gasps from the public gallery (and press) as well as incredulity from the opposition.

Damning response from public
The response of readers was damning, one reader said, “‘No children died’ – that’s OK then, children can carry on being exposed to neglect, abuse and mental cruelty that scars for life.”

Whilst another said, “Nice to know that if I don’t let anyone die, I can keep my job regardless how badly I do” going on to say, “with the bar already set so low, they’ve got nothing to lose I guess.”

One reader added, “Oh well that’s alright then! Is there a sliding scale of number of deaths before someone resigns?” adding, “I think it shows how detached from reality they have become. This is a deeply concerning report and that is their best response.”

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Barry Abraham: No child deaths

Storified by On The Wight· Thu, Jan 17 2013 02:22:34

Oh well that’s alright then!!!!!!! outrageous comment…..detached from reality I would say……….Tina Lukowitz Wroath
Am speechless .Paul Newton
Conservatives – delighted not to be quite Victorian.Thomas Cowley
That is quite frankly outrageous! So if they get abused it’s okay but if they die it isn’t? Well, that’s okay then!Jo Jeremy Burch
Disgusting!! Just cos some innocent children who weren’t getting the correct protection haven’t died its all dandy?! What a joke!Kelly White
the disability team are a shambles so this doesn’t surprise me , made me rage when cameron said horse in burger is unacceptable , it is but hes quite happy for atos to put disabled people through a year of hell . waiting for tribunal .Stephen Smith
goes to show a complete lack of insight of how these children can be badly affected by their experiences! Said it before say it again outrageous and disgusting!Tina Lukowitz Wroath
This is exactly the attitude that has allowed significantly poor practice throughout the care system to become common place. If risk assessments are being compiled with the attitude ‘well its not ideal but they’re not likely to die so it’ll do’ it is not suprising the whole system is failing the children that are supposed to be cared for. The comment is disgraceful and for me enough to demonstrate that Cllr Abraham should not be in any position to contribute to any decision making. Time to stand down! Zoe Thompson
I cannot believe that our councillors can come out with such outrages excuses! We are not talking about how badly a factory has done or how retail sales have dropped etc. We are talking about the lives of children…..not whether or not they have a life but what kind of a life they have! Cllr Abraham would have been better keeping his mouth closed! Someone needs to take some kind of blame for this and there should be no one trying to make excuses!Marilyn Legg
SHOCKING!Dagmar Turner
so I guess "Inadequate in ALL areas" means what it means , especially when referring to those in charge.surely a report of "Inadequate in ALL areas" should be considered a VERY serious matter that really needs sorting out.MOST importantly needs to be accepted by those in charge as the truth that it’s not some rumour it’s an official report by experts, any councillor ignoring these disturbing facts should surely be replaced for negligence.Bruce Steers
As a foster carer I have seen the emotional/mental damage done to kids who have survived neglect and abuse. Their whole lives are ruined and unfortunately the cycle tends to repeat.Luisa Francesca H
Maybe if they took some more staff on it wouldn’t be so inadequate. I feel sorry for the social workers, they’re doing their best but are so understaffed its impossible for them so provide the service they are suppose to. And with the lack of foster carers on the iow, where are they suppose to put these ‘at risk’ children. Well done iow council, yet another poor service due to understaffing and lack of funding.Louise Bolton
So "not killing anyone" is now how we measure a job well done in this country is it? I’m gobsmacked.Leeroy TMofo
Should the council be neglected and abused…as long as we don’t let them die it’ll be excusable…Chris Gallop
I always try to defend the island when my mainland friends jest that "its all backwards over there". The council certainly seem to be doing their best to substantiate those claims. Truly shocking.Chris Gallop
I would have assumed "no children dying" is such an obvious base line it would even need mentioning!! Surely the very basic standard should be they are happy, healthy and safe?!?Sara Thompson
well i am glad to see such public outrage. its a shame that the same was not directed at a private sector provider who recently lost a client and he was knocked down and killed. the iw council and the croft residential home should be in court over their failings a vunlerable child or an adult makes no difference they all need protecting. inadequete staffing and a grandeous cavalier attitude should be their downfall.Lisa Thorner

Image: f_mafra under CC BY 2.0

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Thursday, 17th January, 2013 8:31am



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Youth

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15 Comments on "Cllr Abraham: ‘no child deaths’ ‘most important thing’ about damning child protection report"

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What an outrageous thing to say, where’s this man’s grip on reality? You say the opposite and public were shocked by it, what about his fellow Tory councilors? I’d like to know what areas of the council Mr Abraham is responsible for? Does he sit on any committees or panels?

steve s

The same councillor had invoked a disturbing procedural curiosity (14?) in order to stifle debate earlier in the proceedings. It’s a real worry when ‘opposition’ councillors can be prevented from speaking by a block vote from the ruling group. :-s


Is this guy for real?! What a shocking statement to make.

Can only think he didn’t think that through – certainly a very foolish thing to say. It is very fortunate that we have not had a Baby P or Victoria Climbie case on the island. However this is patently due to luck rather than judgement. There is little doubt that a number of vulnerable children have been left in situations of neglect or abuse – the physical… Read more »

…… and this man is a member of the “Children and Young Peoples Scrutiny Committee”! Just indicates how far up the management chain the incompetence has spread.

Remember the IWC election is coming in a few months- or will Abraham join the other Tory councillors (including the Leader?) scurrying for cover before being humiliated by voters?


He has already said he’s standing down:

Praise the Lord.

Not only should Dawn Cousins resign but Cllr Abraham should also. Cllr Abrahams remarks were totally out of order and shows he has no concept of his role as a member of the cabinet of the IWC. Dawn Cousins is an ex-employee of the Social Services so she should have a clear insight of what her role is with regard to her portfolio, she has sadly failed… Read more »
Robert Jones
Whaaaaaat??? Thank your lucky stars Barry that no child DID die – what the Hell would you have said if several had? I have had big fallings-out with Dawn Cousins over the years, who is not one of life’s greatest listeners and is peculiarly sensitive to criticism: too much so for her own good given her political role. But I’ve always known she was the only councillor… Read more »
mike starke
A former colleague was brought up in the East End alongside the Kray gangster gang. During a discussion on the atrocities committed by the gang in the 1960s, he commented: “Wot chew don’ realise is, vey wuz good ter deir muvver!” Cllr Barry Abraham would obviously have agreed, judging by his appalling statement on County Hall’s dismal childcare failures. Look on the bright side, though; when pre-election… Read more »

IWCP finally in on the act, with a good report on Geoff Lumley’s calls for resignation –

Unable to comment on this at present, a feature that seems to be less available at IWCP recently?

Well to all those who voted this tory council in i bet you must be so proud of the disaster that is the IWC , how proud Cllr Barry Abraham’s words must make you feel. How delighted you must be to blame a few bad eggs in social services for this mess???? Yes i have also heard it said that Cllr Cousins is very full of her… Read more »
Does this man have a clue about this subject or does he just act as a support worker for councillors under attack? Does he have no clue about the physical and Psychological damage done to abused children? Is it OK to abuse children and harm them just as long as they don’t die? As for the current trend of ‘buck passing’ as a way to defend the… Read more »

The comments about the excessive work load are relevant as this demonstrates that the management have no understanding of what the workface looks like ,it sounds like davimel has a similar lack of the reality of the day to day work at the work face

Stewart Blackmore
Barry Abrahams is a disgrace. I could hardly believe what I was listening to last night. I thought it was bad enough when, in answer to Geoff Lumley’s very pertinent observations during the ‘Poll Tax’ er, sorry, Council Tax debate, the very wealthy George Brown went on to say that second home owners should be valued and not discriminated against whilst not even mentioning the unemployed or… Read more »
CRASS comments by Cllr Abraham.Resign NOW. You are not a fit person to sit as a councillor or on any Scrutiny panel that purports to “Safeguard Children” Have you no empathy at all,have you not heard the heartfelt sorrows of Adults who were abused by Saville and for some, even 30+ years on they can still recall how this SYSTEMIC abuse has impacted on their relationships and… Read more »