Yesterday in the House of Commons we had a statement from the Education Secretary in response to the tragic death of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, whose stepmother and father were convicted of his murder and manslaughter last week. I am sure many of you will have found it very difficult to read the distressing details of the horrific abuse Arthur suffered at the hands of the very people who were entrusted with looking after him.
This should never have happened, but now we need to learn lessons from Arthur’s case. One of these is the need for a statutory mechanism that would spot when a child’s parent or primary caregiver is imprisoned, and ensure the child receives the appropriate support. Arthur ended up living with his father and stepmother after his mother was given a prison sentence, but there were no checks done at the time.
I have been working with the charity Children Heard and Seen on this, and we are due to meet the Children’s Minister next week. 300,000 children a year are affected by parental imprisonment, and we need to be sure that, unlike Arthur, they’re safe and supported.
Watch the clip here.