Name: Rioch Edwards Brown
What she does: Campaigner, tackling one of the last taboos – child abuse
Impact: Helped 4000 families in the UK and worldwide. 150 legal teams have used her service – she has identified 9 other conditions that mimic symptoms associated with child abuse
Nominated by: Servene Mouazan, CEO of Ogunte
The issue she addresses is:
- How do you tell the difference between abuse and accident?
- Reduce £1 billion cost (UK) of dealing with the aftermath of child abuse rather than its prevention? (source: National Commission of Enquiry into the prevention of child abuse 1996)
- Help 70,000 children per year in the UK alone that are affected by abuse and misdiagnosis of abuse?
- For 14 years, without pay or funding Rioch has run The Five Percenters – a 24 hour free advisory service for families who state that they have been wrongly accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS)
- The Five Percenters stands for the 1 in 20 cases routinely misdiagnosed as SBS
Rioch’s Vision – 24:14 [formally known as Riordan’s Law]
- A nationwide protocol for all hospitals to help doctors differentiate between child abuse and non-abuse
- 24:14 ensures that all babies/children are seen by Paediatric specialists within 24 hours of admission
- Then reviewed up to 14 days later
- 24:14 prevents cases like ‘Baby P’ (missed for abuse) and Angela Cannings (wrongly accused of abuse)
- Funding for a £2 million pilot of 24:14 in 3 hospitals
- This equates to 0.2% of £1 billion pound cost of child abuse to statutory and voluntary agencies
- 24:14 has the potential to go global
Through her media work she campaigns to raise awareness about this issue in the public, medical, legal and child protection fields. e.g. British Medical Journal BBC, Sky News, The Times and The Telegraph.
Doctors have validated her work:
“…Rioch has never sought to deny the existence of abuse but is concerned to develop a protocol for the investigation of children who are suspected of being abused.”
Miss G Adams – Paediatric Ophthalmic Surgeon
The Five Percenters was started in 1998 by Rioch who was wrongly accused of shaking her infant son in 1995. Rioch (A former TV Researcher) set out to find out whether she was, in the words of the doctors: “a one off case”. Since January 1998 she has been contacted by 4,000 families (538 specific to Shaken Baby Syndrome) from around the world.
In 2003 she attended the Worldwide Conference on SBS in Edinburgh on behalf of the families she represents. The organisers had a budget of £3 million. Rioch only had £95 but got coverage across all UK media to highlight the issue of misdiagnosis of child abuse when there is an innocent explanation.
Lawyers began to back her campaign.
“…It is clear that the information gathered by Rioch would form the basis of an invaluable research tool for the medical, scientific and legal communities.”
Campbell Malone – Solicitor in Criminal Law
In 2005 while attending Appeals for two families who had their convictions quashed she met an angry doctor, who turned on her and said,
“You’re only a housewife, get back to your kitchen sink where you belong!”
That was a defining moment for Rioch, as she knew from the doctor’s reaction that her work on behalf of the families was beginning to take effect.
She says, “I refuse to be intimidated. The families and the need to find a better way to diagnose child abuse drives me on.”
Rioch, who is setting up a social business to ensure the sustainability of the Five Percenters, shows that with sheer determination, tenacity and intelligent media campaigning, you can influence policy and turn lives around.
For more information please contact Rioch at: