One Child Murdered Every Week

(Independent) – ONE CHILD A WEEK IS BEING MURDERED in Britain, in cases which echo the horrific death of Baby Peter, because clear warning signs that they live with a potential killer are being ignored or go unreported by key public service workers from police officers to GPs, according to new figures.

An in-depth analysis of the records relating to the deaths of 163 children killed at the hands of a parent or carer in the last five years has shown that thousands of children, from babies to 16 year-olds, are ‘slipping through the net’ of protection measures, despite the knowledge that they live in households with a history of domestic abuse, drug problems, or where there has been a recent separation — all factors which dramatically increase the risk of murder.

The study shows, for the first time, the dramatic rise in the number of child homicides over a five-year period, with the number of killings doubling from 28 in 2004 to 56 in 2007 — the year when Baby Peter was killed by his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger. He sustained more than 50 injuries, including a broken back and ribs, which were not spotted despite 60 visits by social workers.

Incomplete figures for 2008 suggest the upward trend is continuing, and children are being killed by their so-called carers at the rate of one a week.

The findings will be broadcast next week in a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary entitled: The Children Britain Betrayed (Monday, July 13th at 8:00pm).

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