|85 children die every year through abuse or neglect, report says|
|Written by Children & Young People Now|
|Wednesday, 01 August 2012|
Around 85 children and young people die in England each year as a result of abuse or neglect, according to an analysis of serious case reviews by academics.
The study by the University of East Anglia and the University of Warwick quantifies for the first time the average number of children who die each year due to maltreatment.
Researchers analysed the details of two years of serious case reviews spanning the period from 2009/10 to 2010/11, as part of the government-backed project.
Of the estimated 85 deaths of children aged 17 and under, between 50 and 55 were directly caused by violence, abuse or neglect. Maltreatment was considered a contributory factor, though not the primary cause of death – for example accidents, sudden unexpected deaths in infancy and suicide – in a further 30 to 35 cases.
Meanwhile, the study found that the number of children who died while subject to a child protection plan dropped from 16 per cent in 2007/08 and 2008/09, to 10 per cent between 2009/10 and 2010/11.
This is despite the fact that the overall number of children with a child protection plan rose during the same period.
Researchers also found that fewer babies are dying because of abuse or neglect. The proportion of serious case reviews undertaken concerning infants dropped from 46 per cent of all reviews in 2007/08 to 2008/09 to 36 per cent in 2009/10 2010/11.
The University of Warwick's Professor Peter Sidebotham led the work on ascertaining the numbers of child deaths.
“While there is evidence that overall rates of child-abuse fatalities have fallen over recent years, we must not be complacent,” he said. “There is much we can learn from each child’s death. The lessons from this research can help us all strive to protect other children and support families.”
Marian Brandon, lead author of the report and senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia, added: “This report produces a number of new insights alongside the more familiar messages. We now know for the first time that around 85 children die each year as a result of abuse or neglect. Every single death is a shocking and distressing waste of a life, but we have to live with the reality that not all of these deaths can be prevented.”