• Alfie Steele RIP

Alfie Steele RIP

Alfie Steele RIP.

The media was full of this murder at the end of last month.

This note is about the case as reported. Reports, and still more re-reports on social media are affected by agendas which might put a spin on the cold facts.

Alfie Steele was a nine-year-old killed by his mother and her new partner. He was convicted of murder and she of manslaughter. They were clearly both involved, but how much of the horrors were directly inflicted between them is unclear.

Step parenting generally has a good record. However, stepparents, or more specifically stepfathers, feature disproportionately in the mercifully uncommon horror stories. Both sometimes feel the need to wipe out the history of separation and rebuild a new perfect family together, eliminating the non-resident parent. The role of a stepparent is not simple and requires delicate handling when they are introduced to your child from your last relationship. The expectations of a stepparent regarding the child of their new partner needs managing too. It is rarely something family courts take into consideration.

Clearly a risk factor insufficiently addressed when there are other concerns for child or maternal welfare.

There appears to have been no mention of Alfie’s natural father in the reports. No-one seems to be interested. Is he dead? Is he a ‘deadbeat dad’ (they exist)?  Was he excluded? Something to be noted.

Mothers with possession of their children can invoke the police, CAFCASS and the family courts if they have allegations of abuse of their children or themselves by the children’s father. These are normally taken seriously and often result in him not being allowed to see his children until he has cleared his name. A father (or his family) who fears his children are being abused by their mother or her new partner is rarely taken notice of.

We must put in some defence of the police and social workers. There may well be a search on for low grade workers to be vilified for bad decisions. The real culprits, however, are higher up. Most of the individuals on the front line don’t have the time, training, support or resources to do what is expected of them properly.

Alfie Steele RIP

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