We welcome the Jury’s findings and feel they got a real sense of who Jessie was, of all her difficulties, and the fight as parents that we have had with health services and East Sussex County Council, since 2016.
Jessie was often misunderstood and badly treated since she was 14. This added layers of traumatic experiences to her young life, exacerbating her anxiety, and resulting in complex PTSD.
Jessie’s physical pain and conditions were often brushed aside or simply ignored, especially since she turned 18. Mental health units just do not have the right accommodation, equipment, skilled staff or interest to support people with physical disabilities and illnesses.
It is so utterly disappointing that both Brighton & Hove City Council, and East Sussex County Council, completely failed to deal with safeguarding enquires appropriately, and in a timely manner. This had a significant detrimental effect on Jessie’s wellbeing, and on the family, as she was being abused and neglected by care staff in the community. We call for the practice of using unregulated agencies (which are then able to avoid accountability) to care for the most vulnerable, to be banned.
As we mentioned in our inquest statements, the way we as parents have been treated since 2016, by services who are supposed to be there to help and support, is inexcusable. There is no need for the arrogance and dismissive attitudes we saw demonstrated time and time again, by some social workers and their managers. Instead of parent-blaming, they should be looking hard at their own actions and damage they are causing to families, who want to work with them and are desperate for some compassionate support and help.
The multiple, repeated, systemic failures in Jessie’s care definitely led to her death.
Jessie was our beloved, loving, caring, bright, funny, creative and intelligent daughter. She wanted to eventually work and help in the care sector. We miss her every minute of every day. Her death has left us devastated. Our lives are changed forever, but most of all Jessie lost her life unnecessarily and avoidably, at such a young age. Tomorrow would have been her 21st birthday. We should have been celebrating and having fun, but instead we are grieving.
We thank the Jury, the Coroner and our Legal Team for the care, compassion and interest they have shown in Jessie’s story and towards getting the right outcome for Jessie.
Andy Seares and Kate Eastland