In England, four children die every week from abuse or neglect

November 20th, 2008 - 4:28 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 20 (IANS) Up to four children die each week in England from abuse or neglect, according to an official report.The report by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted), published Wednesday, found that 282 vulnerable children - many of them already known to social services - died in the 17-month period to the end of August.

Another 136 suffered serious harm or injury and two-thirds of those killed or hurt were babies less than a year old, it said.

Ofsted is responsible only for the region England, and its figures do not cover cases of abuse and neglect in Britain’s other three regions - Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The report comes amid a national furore over child abuse following the conviction of a mother, her boyfriend and a lodger for causing or allowing the death of her 17-month-old baby.

The death of the boy, who can only be identified as Baby P for legal reasons, has caused an outcry over the quality of care provided by government social service workers and doctors in England, who had Baby P in their register of children at risk of harm before he died.

One doctor failed to spot Baby P’s broken back and eight broken ribs.

The Ofsted figures are considered shocking because the main children’s charity in Britain, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), had so far estimated that one child died from cruelty each week.

“We are still not learning enough - or fast enough - from serious case reviews which happen when a child has died or been harmed through neglect or abuse,” Ofsted chief inspector Christine Gilbert said.

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