Parents of twins who killed themselves following years of sexual abuse claim they ‘might have been saved’

Parents of twins who killed themselves following years of sexual abuse claim they ‘might have been saved’

There were wasted opportunities to save the lives of two teenage twins who ended their own lives after years of sexual abuse and mental health difficulties.

It was just a matter of time until Sam and Chris Gould both perished from the effects of the abuse that they had kept a secret for nearly 10 years.

It's now been reported that the girls' parents told ITV News Anglia that "no one ever given up hope" despite their numerous suicide attempts.

Combined, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Children Partnership Board's two reports contain more than two dozen suggestions for improvements.

Among them are alterations to how police deal with victims of sexual abuse, improvements to mental health services for children, and alterations to how these and other agencies collaborate on difficult situations.

There is no conclusive evidence that either of the sisters would be alive today if these things had been in place.
They think there were numerous opportunities to save their daughters that were missed by those in charge of caring for Sam and Chris, who are Ian Gould and Jane Cannon, respectively.

"We think there were numerous possibilities to help them early on if the challenges that they had were noticed earlier, treated earlier, if the experts at an earlier stage were more curious," said Ms Cannon.

"Abuse could have been prevented at a much earlier stage, and victims could have received the care and treatment they required. As time passed, it became increasingly difficult for both the girls and us to make a difference.

"Even so, there was never a moment when anyone quit up. As a result of numerous missed opportunities, it is our belief that we would now be in a very different situation."
After they were six years old and lived in Hampshire, the twins were sexually abused for several years. Teachers noticed Sam's habit of ripping out her hair and eyelashes at an early age.

By the time Sam started self-harming at the age of 13, his family had moved to Cambridgeshire, and no support was available. Chris overdosed for the first time at the age of 14 and disclosed that she had been self-harming as well while in the hospital.

He finally told her about the sexual abuse he had endured a few weeks later. As a result of the investigation, Sam revealed that she had been abused by police as well.

Police closed the investigation just a few months later because neither twin was able to participate in a video interview. The twins' parents told the authors of the study that their daughters felt "totally invalidated" when they learned that no action would be taken against their abuser.

Sam committed suicide on September 2, 2018, at the age of 16. Chris died on January 26, 2019, at the age of 17, less than five months after his death.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) was found to be the cause of Sam's death in an inquest held earlier this year, while Chris's death was attributed to the abuse and loss of her sister.

In a Prevention of Future Deaths report, Coroner Nicholas Moss voiced major concerns regarding the treatment of the two girls..

After they were six years old and lived in Hampshire, the twins were sexually abused for several years. Teachers noticed Sam's habit of ripping out her hair and eyelashes at an early age.

By the time Sam started self-harming at the age of 13, his family had moved to Cambridgeshire, and no support was available. Chris overdosed for the first time at the age of 14 and disclosed that she had been self-harming as well while in the hospital.

She finally confided in a friend about the sexual abuse she had endured several months before. As a result of the investigation, Sam revealed that she had been abused by police as well.

Police closed the investigation just a few months later because neither twin was able to participate in a video interview. Parent's statement to report writers: "The girl's felt completely invalidated" after hearing that no action will be taken against their abuser.

Sam committed suicide on September 2, 2018, at the age of 16. At the age of 17, Chris succumbed to his illness and died on January 26, 2019.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) was found to be the cause of Sam's death in an inquest earlier this year, while Chris's death was linked to BPD and the loss of her sister.

In a Prevention of Future Deaths report, Coroner Nicholas Moss voiced major concerns regarding the treatment of the two girls..
Founder and mental health crusader Marjorie Wallace condemned the deaths of the sisters as "profoundly tragic" in a statement.

She remarked, " "Frequently, we hear from parents who believe that things could have been done better at the time, but that they weren't listened to.

Because the child and adult mental health care teams are overstretched and under-resourced, families aren't listened to as early as they should be.

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