Social worker charged over Savanna's death
8 December 2006, AMSTERDAM — The social worker responsible for the family assistance in 2004 for the murdered Savanna and her mother will be taken to trial, the public prosecution office (OM) said on Friday.
8 December 2006
AMSTERDAM — The social worker responsible for the family assistance in 2004 for the murdered Savanna and her mother will be taken to trial, the public prosecution office (OM) said on Friday.
The OM will press charges of culpable homicide or negligence resulting in severe physical injury against the social worker.
The three-year-old Savanna of Alphen aan den Rijn died in September 2004 after being physically abused by her mother, Sonja de J.
The girl suffocated after De J. shoved a cloth or sock in her mouth to keep her quiet.
The abuse — which included beatings, the withholding of food and locking the child up — was systematic.
The tragedy sparked heated debate in the Netherlands about how Savanna could have died after years of visits to her mother by social workers.
The Youth Care Inspectorate had earlier issued a report criticising various organisations involved in the welfare of the family.
It accused welfare groups of placing the interests of the mother before those of the child.
But the toughest criticism was reserved for the social worker who co-ordinated the work.
The OM then started inquiries and alleges that the woman did not investigate the situation enough and ignored signals of abuse.
It said the seriousness of the case, the regular abuse and eventual death of the child means the social worker should be placed before a court judge.
However, the mother and father were chiefly responsible for Savanna's death, the OM said.
Her mother was sentenced on appeal at the start of this year to six years jail and TBS psychiatric detention on charges of manslaughter.
Step-father Mario B. was given two years jail and TBS on a charge of abuse resulting in serious injuries.
The social worker's defence lawyer, Brigitte Roodveldt, has lodged an objection against the prosecution's decision to pursue a trial hearing.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news