MPs Shocked by Child Abuse Death Toll

Three fatal victims of child abuse per week


Abuse and neglect result in the deaths of around three children a week in England and Wales, MPs have been told.

The shocking figure was reported to the House of Commons children, schools and families committee by Ofsted chief inspector Christine Gilbert. It came as part of data that showed 210 children died as a result of abuse between April last year and this August.

The figures included the case of 17-month-old Baby P, who died in August last year after suffering more than 50 injuries at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger.

Committee chairman Barry Sheerman told Ms Gilbert: "You have brought to us the most horrific figures I've ever seen brought into the public domain."

Between one and two children die following cruelty every week in England and Wales, according to the statistics from the NSPCC. One child is also killed at the hands of their parents every 10 days.

Ofsted's annual report published last month concluded that of the 282 children having died with a suspicion of abuse, 72 resulted from other causes, such as road accidents - leaving 210 having suffered abuse or neglect.

The committee also heard that 21 of those children were babies, of which only two had been known to social services.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions after the meeting, committee member Graham Stuart said the "death toll of the innocent" outlined by Ms Gilbert showed there was "something profoundly wrong with our society".

Copyright © Press Association 2008

Sallie Booth, a partner from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors said: "This figure highlights the need for greater vigilance of potentially vulnerable children by local authorities and medical authorities. Although it can be an agonising decision to remove children from the family home it is essential to intervene when children are at risk. Social Services must act when it comes to the safety of young children as it is clear from this statistic that some children are being totally failed by the system."