Child Killings ‘Halved In Decade’

The number of child murders in England and Wales has halved in the last decade, according to an analysis of official figures.

Despite current concerns about child killings in the wake of Wednesday night’s shooting of Rhys Jones in Liverpool, a charity said Home Office data showed a fall in such crimes.

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) said in 1995, there were 63 children aged one to 15 recorded as homicide victims by police.

By 2005/06 – the most up-to-date figures available – the total fell to 31.

The trend was different for babies under 12 months, however, with the figure of 17 recorded as murder victims in 1995 rising to 24 in 2005.

The CCJS added that the age group which experienced the most significant rise in the risk of being a murder victim was the 16 to 49s, up from 429 in 1995 to 513 in 2005/06.

CCJS director Richard Garside said: “Despite the common perception, fewer children were victims of homicide last year than was the case a decade ago. We do not yet have reliable data to tell us if the recent killings of children and young people represents a reversal of this downward trend, or whether the reporting of such incidents simply makes it appear that way.

“What will shock many people is the sad fact that babies under one remain the age group most at risk of violent death at the hands of another.”

He added: “While overall homicide levels have stabilised in recent years following a rising trend during the 1980s and 1990s, they are at much higher levels than was the case a generation ago.

“Today in Britain, 200 to 300 more of our fellow citizens meet a violent death than was the case in the mid 1970s. There is growing evidence of a strong link between rising levels of poverty and inequality and the increased rates of homicide.”