Is the follow-up of families suspected of ill-treatment effective? Some lawyers have put the subject on the table during the trial for acts of barbarism on a child of two and a half years, which has just ended at the Assizes of the North. Six people were sentenced to between 4 and 20 years in prison. However, in this case, the two families guilty of violence were known to social services.
“Alert beams should have mobilized the police and social services more on the dangers that weighed on Joris *, both in the family unit and in the close entourage”, regrets Me Laurence Micallef-Napoly, lawyer for the Blue child, a child protection association which had brought a civil action.
Reporting delays too long
The latter, moreover, pleaded for the establishment of “a centralized and easily accessible national file concerning worrying information and reports of families”. “With this file, she said, we might have been able to avoid the tragedy. The lawyer does not fail to recall that, in this case, “the delays in transmitting reports were too long”.
Go back. In early December 2018, days before the child was taken to hospital between life and death due to abuse, the link had been established between the two abusive families by the child protection services of the North . Joris*’s mother had, in fact, entrusted her son to a couple of friends.
“The teachers, who had spotted signs of violence the previous month, were very responsive as soon as little Joris* was no longer in school, says the lawyer. His brother explained that he was at auntie Coco’s. Tata Coco is Coraline R., sentenced on Friday to 15 years in prison. With her husband Sébastien B., sentenced to 20 years, they have been identified by reports in the North since 2010, but also in Lot-et-Garonne, where they stayed for more than two years. Their daughters are already victims of abuse.
Summoned to Lot-et-Garonne
The time to carry out the cross-checks, the services of the Maternal and Child Protection (PMI) summon the couple who are hosting Joris* on December 18. The next day, both are arrested by the police for having attacked the child during two alcoholic evenings.
But that’s not all. “Two months earlier, on October 9, they also received a summons from the Lot-et-Garonne PMI, with a view to setting up an educational measure. They took to their heels at that time to return to the North”, specifies Me Micallef-Napoly.
Realizing the couple’s move to the North, the social services of the south-west write a note for their northern colleagues concerning a “sibling in danger”. Today is November 29. The note will not be transmitted until January 7th. Too late. Back in the North, Sébastien B. and Coraline R. are given permanent custody of Joris* by his mother who finds her child too turbulent. The rest, we know.
“To escape tracking, families move”
In his argument, Me Micallef-Napoly called for the establishment of a national file to facilitate the work of child welfare. Because today, monitoring is managed at the departmental level. “To escape monitoring, families move and leave the department. I am more and more confronted with this kind of maneuvers during trials, ”notes the lawyer.
Lawyer for La Voix de l’Enfant, Me Diane Massenet, makes the same observation: “Parents disappear as soon as social services take too much interest in their case. And to evoke another dysfunction, this time judicial. Concerning the mother of Joris* (sentenced to 4 years), worrying information against her had been transmitted in June 2017 to the prosecutor. “However, the minors’ brigade was not seized of the investigation until January 2019,” she laments. Again, it was too late.