Safeguarding children across services: messages from research on identifying and responding to child maltreatment - messages for health professionals working with children


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The tragic deaths of Victoria Climbié in 2000 and Peter Connelly in 2007 brought the difficulties of identifying and dealing with severe neglect and abuse sharply into public focus. These children died, following weeks and months of appalling abuse, at the hands of those responsible for caring for them.

The public outcries that followed asked how the many different professionals who had seen these children and their families in the weeks before their deaths could have failed to recognise the extent of the children’s maltreatment.

This briefing paper examines what lessons have been learned from these and other child abuse tragedies, and from the subsequent programme of government-funded research designed to understand the complex and difficult challenges surrounding the effective safeguarding of children from neglect and abuse.

Department for Education