The case of murdered Melbourne toddler Sanaya Sahib has raised numerous questions, not least of which is whether more could have been done to save the little girl.
That’s precisely the premise of a new inquiry launched by the Victorian government today.
Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos said the investigation would look at whether protocols were properly followed by the Department of Health and Human Services and other related agencies in the months prior to Sanaya’s death.
Sanaya’s mother, Sofina Nikat, is currently in custody charged with murdering the toddler, after the 14-month-old’s body was found dumped in Darebin Creek in Melbourne’s north east.
“We want to assist the police and not impede the police in their continued investigation into this matter,” Minister Mikakos said.
“But I do think that it is important that the community gets the assurances that it deserves, that our systems, our services are working as effectively as it should be to make sure that Victorian children are safe.”
Recent media reports suggested that the DHHS had specific concerns about a relative of Sanaya’s, but Minister Mikakos was unable to shed further light on the situation.
“Obviously I can’t get into the details of what contact the family had with the department or other agencies, whether they’re health services or any other services,” she said.
Sofina Nikat had initially led police to believe that her daughter was snatched by a stranger during a violent, broad-daylight attack, but the 22-year-old reportedly confessed to the crime after her arrest on Tuesday morning.
During a file hearing at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday, police revealed that CCTV footage and phone intercepts will form crucial evidence in their case against Ms Nikat.
More on the chilling security camera vision here.
The 22-year-old did not make an appearance at the hearing, after doctors deemed her mentally unfit.
Ms Nikat's next court date is set for August.