Thursday, 4 February 2010

New stats put child killings in proportion

Research carried out by Bournemouth University, and to be published later in the year in the British Journal of Social Work, shows that the number of violent deaths among children in England and Wales has fallen by almost 40% since 1974. The rate per million is much better than that of the United States and Germany, and roughly equal to that of the Netherlands. Italy, Spain and Japan have about a third of our fatalities pro rata, and even France has around a half - but the situation is not as terrible as recent headlines imply. They do not justify the huge jump in referrals, inspired by the Baby P case, which throws a burden onto local authority social services. The BBC report is at

There is still room for improvement - 84 children in England and Wales die violently each year, seven a month on average. The police need to be more pro-active, not waiting until there is the chance of a prosecution before taking action. Bureaucracy needs trimming, something that I know my own authority, Neath Port Talbot, is working on. Staff shortages and rapid turnover need to be curbed. Perhaps recruitment could be broadened - surely degree-level qualifications are not necessary for as many levels of social worker as are currently specified? Education is no guarantee of good character and certainly not of life experience.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it is now a requirement to have a degree in Social Work to become a social worker.

Unfortunately, this acts as a form of age discrimination; only those starting out in life (post compulsory education) have the inclination to spend three years in full time education. Not easy when you got a family, commitments and a mortgage.