Victorian government to investigate death of toddler Sanaya Sahib

The actions of welfare agencies in the weeks and months before toddler Sanaya Sahib’s death are to be investigated by the Victorian government.


The 14-month-old was allegedly murdered by her mother, Sofina Nikat, in Melbourne on Saturday.

Nikat was excused from fronting court on Wednesday after her lawyer, Michael McNamara, raised mental health concerns.

Now state families minister Jenny Mikakos has ordered a probe into how government agencies dealt with the family before the toddler’s death.

“There are strict protocols in place between agencies and services when it comes to sharing information about children,” a government spokeswoman said in a statement.

“The Minister for Families and Children has requested the Commissioner for Children and Young People investigate the death of Sanaya Sahib to determine whether these protocols have been followed by the Department of Health and Human Services and all related agencies.”

Sanaya’s body was found in the Darebin Creek on Sunday less than 24 hours after Nikat told police she had been snatched from her pram in a Heidelberg West park.

Nikat had told police a man of African appearance, smelling of alcohol and wearing no shoes, pushed her to the ground before taking off with the toddler.

She said she gave chase but could not catch him.

Nikat, of Mitcham, was charged with her daughter’s murder on Tuesday.

A public memorial will take place at the Heidelberg park on Friday when balloons will be released to remember Sanaya.

The 14-month-old’s funeral will be held on Saturday with Sanaya’s father – who separated from Nikat a year ago – saying the public is welcome to attend.