THEY were supposed to be looking out for her.

But a lack of communication across key services meant a six-year-old girl suffered abuse while living with a dangerous man with a history of violence.

Known as Child L for legal reasons, the girl was taken to Southampton General Hospital in December 2012 with 92 bruises of varied ages and amphetamines in her system, finally prompting police action against her mother and her partner, ‘Mr A’.

It can be revealed they were both jailed in April this year for “offences relating to her injury and neglect” while the girl has settled happily into foster care.

Now a serious case review by Southampton’s Local Safeguarding Children Board has criticised children’s services, health visitors, GPs and her school for not sharing key information that could have protected her.

And child services failed to correctly check his records because they accepted the young girl’s incorrect spelling of Mr A’s surname during a background search.

It followed months of concerns mentioned in the report raised by neighbours and teachers around the following:

  •  Her behaviour towards adults was inappropriate and “overtly sexual”, including putting her hands down a female dance teacher’s costume.
  • Her school attendance record dropped to 74 per cent and her mother would say she was not well enough to take her.
  •  Turning up at neighbours’ homes in her pyjamas asking for breakfast and to be taken to school.
  •  She had her own pair of house keys and was frequently being left outside until 9pm, whatever the weather.

Mr A, who started seeing the mother in September 2012, had five previous convictions for violent behaviour and was known to social services as someone who posed a risk of domestic violence.

He was also involved in an incident in 2011 when a 16-year-old girl was hospitalised after snorting drugs while in his care, but the girl and her mother refused to cooperate with police and social services.

School staff became concerned when he began dropping off Child L late using only his first name to sign her in – but they never asked for his full name.

But when they raised concerns with children’s services, a visit in November 2012 by a newly qualified social worker found “nothing of concern”, before the background check using the incorrect name, which was confirmed by her mother.

However, the review said the social worker could have refined the search to include slightly different spellings to discover Mr A’s violent past.

Child L’s older brother, who had a history of violent behaviour, was living with the family on and off and receiving health visits for his own child – but no connection was made between the cases because he used a different surname.

Mistakes date as far back as Child L’s birth, as her mother was a known drug-user who suffered from depression and agoraphobia.

Despite these issues her GP did not raise the alarm with health visitors or the |midwife service or make any parenting assessment.

The mother also frequently refused entry to visitors from the school, council and children’s services and would decline invitations to meet at school, claiming she did not need any extra support.