About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Ishaq Serious Case Review

The full SCR has also been published in the case of Khyra Ishaq who died of malnourishment. All of her surviving siblings also suffered from malnourishment. Her mother and her male partner was convicted of manslaughter, causing / allowing the death of a child and five counts of cruelty.

The history of the case shows that mother separated from the children's father and then started a new relationship with a man who had suffered severely himself as a child, with one of his siblings being killed by their father & was diagnosed as a schizophrenic. Mother had previously been a protective responsible parent. Concerns began to arise with the professional and educational network about her eating and that of the children. Shortly afterwards all but one of the children were taken out of school to be educated at home. At her criminal trial it was eventually accepted that mother was suffering from severe depression in the run up to Khyra's death. The mother was extremely avoidant of intervention, articulate and well-versed in legislation affecting home education and made formal complaints about social services who in turn were not familiar with the home education assessment process assuming it to be more in-depth and comprehensive than in fact it is.

As with the Baby P case, the new partner's background was not checked out although there was no concealing of the relationship. His mental health deteriorated fast and he came to believe that Khyra was possessed with spirits and to punish her by withdrawing food. He also increasingly imposed a wide range of extreme punishments on all the children for relatively minor misdemeanours.

The main legal issues arising from this case relate to the monitoring and assessment of children being educated at home and this will need to be addressed at national level.

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