Newham

Message from Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz about Serious Case Review

20 October 2018 in Community safety and Mayor
On Friday the Serious Case Review into the death of Corey Junior Davis was published. The review is available for you to read here.​​​

Statement from Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz

One day last September, 14 year old Corey woke up in the morning with his eyes set on the future and big dreams about all the great things he could make of his life. But on that day he was brutally attacked in an act of sheer evil and the perpetrators are still at large.

Corey’s death shook us. 
 
His mother’s life was changed forever, stunned with grief about what had happened to her baby, and pained that her cries for support went unheeded from those who should have stepped in to help.  His sister, grandfather, other family members and all those that loved him are consumed by anguish about how this could have happened. Everyone is desperately missing him. 
 
A community has been stunned by the raw fact that a young child could be killed in broad daylight in Newham. Parents scared because it might have been their families or their children. Young people traumatised by the horror of the violence surrounding them, anxious about who’ll be next. And authorities grappling with the risks to our young people and how to protect those most vulnerable, like Corey, from being drawn into gangs, hurt or killed.     
 
On that day, like every day I hear news of another young person being attacked or killed in circumstances like Corey’s or most recently the incident that happened in Forest Gate last Friday, I react not only as a politician or the Mayor of Newham but as a carer, an aunty and as a member of our community who wants the best for all our children in our borough and their safety secured. 
 
The Serious Case Review published on Friday sets out clearly how in the months leading to Corey’s death, his mother made many efforts to protect him and to get help from various agencies including Newham Council. I am heartbroken and deeply troubled that during that period as a Council we didn’t do the best we could for her and Corey. 
 
As the new Mayor of Newham, I have apologised to her personally, and when I recently attended the memorial service she organised for her son, I quietly apologised to Corey as well. 
 
To Corey’s mother: once again on behalf of the council and from me personally, I am profoundly sorry, and I know these words will do nothing to help you deal with your loss, daily anguish and pain. 
 
But I hope that you will take comfort in my determination to address the broader issues highlighted in the Serious Case Review, and ensure that all the recommendations are fully implemented.  
 
It is clear that that as a Council we did not understand the risks to Corey’s life. The fact that he was viewed as an offender, rather than a child who was vulnerable points to a flaw in our methods and a wider culture that views these young people as criminals. They are children and young people facing complex risks whom we have a duty to help, protect and safeguard. 
 
The Serious Case Review highlights critical risks facing Corey that weren’t sufficiently understood but pointed to clear dangers to his life. Under my administration we are now tackling these through a public health approach,  better systems and a culture centred on exemplary safeguarding of our children and young people in Newham. 
 
And there remain other areas that need concerted effort in collaboration with the police, other agencies and our school partners. 
 
It is concerning that in Corey’s case, his secondary school didn’t adequately address or respond to his special educational needs provision, and their decision to send him to a pupil referral unit was a contributing factor in what eventually happened to him. 
 
We are already reviewing the issue of exclusions by schools in Newham as I have concerns about the disproportionate numbers of young Black people and those with special educational needs that are being sent to pupil referral units. Work has also started on assessing our pupil referral units in the borough to ensure that they are meeting the needs of all our vulnerable children. 
 
We also need to tackle the dangers of social media, the normalisation of violence in our society and the grooming of young people by criminal networks. 
 
Since becoming Mayor, I have heard countless stories from our young people who talk about their fear of violence and that they don’t want to be killed.  They want to be protected and listened too.  
 
That’s why we have created Youth Citizen Assemblies as one of the many mechanisms of listening to our young people. In November, I will be announcing details of the Youth Safety Board which will both shape and oversee the work of the council and its partners in this area, alongside monitoring the implementation of the Serious Case Review recommendations. It will have young people round the table and I am grateful that Corey’s mother has agreed to sit on this board. Her input will be invaluable.
 
I will also be announcing the most significant investment in our youth service provision in Newham for a generation and this reflects the value my administration places on our children and young people. This will include the expansion of our youth hubs and extending our services for our young people most at risk in our borough. 
 
My administration’s commitment and focus is on youth safety. The legacy of Corey will not be forgotten. We will continue to listen to the voices of all our children and young people in Newham. They will not be ignored as they are our future and we will invest in them.