source: The Guardian
published: 17 August 2017
The neglect of young people represents state-sanctioned child abuse, argue Deborah Coles, Prof Joe Sim and Prof Steve Tombs from INQUEST.
INQUEST’s work with bereaved families has consistently revealed a litany of systemic neglect, violence, institutional complacency and short-sighted policies which contribute to the deaths and harm of children and young people (Report on Northants children’s prison finds rise in violent incidents, 9 August).
These deaths are the most extreme outcome of a system that fails some of society’s most disadvantaged children and young people.
Ten years ago, in July 2007, the judge at the inquest into the death in 2004 of 15-year-old Gareth Myatt, asphyxiated as a result of being restrained by three officers at Rainsbrook, delivered a damning indictment of the treatment of young people in custody, and wrote a 17-page letter to the then secretary of state for justice and lord chancellor saying that it would be “wholly unforgivable and a double tragedy” if there was any delay in learning from and acting upon the lessons of Gareth’s death.