Child abuse increase in Conwy and Denbighshire

CHILD abuse has increased by as much as 6% in Conwy and Denbighshire. Children on the child protection register increased to 124 up until March 2010 from 117 the year before.

The figures were included in a report to Conwy’s cabinet which set out objectives in improving child protection up until 2012. The report, by the Conwy and Denbighshire Local Safeguarding Children Board, identified areas of risk and how the service could be improved.

Made up of child agencies, health-care professional and police, the board claims to have improved training in light of the infamous ‘Baby P’ case. However despite an escalation in the numbers of children abused, councillors at Bodlondeb were informed the increases were in-line with a worrying national trend.

Chairing the meeting Sally Ellis, who is also director of social services at Denbighshire County Council said a strain was being placed on social services.

“The last 18 months has seen a significant increase in the number of complex cases coming to the notice of local authorities across the UK and a rise in child care proceedings,” he said.

“This means considerable extra work across the agencies involved in child protection, but especially social services.”

Fifteen cases of the 124 on Conwy and Denbighshire’s child protection register related to physical abuse; seven sexual abuse cases, with each including elements of physical abuse and neglect. Fifty-four cases followed parents’ neglect; 41 due to emotional abuse and an additional seven cases which included both neglect and physical abuse.

Six unborn children were also subjected to abuse, equating to 5% of the 124, with remaining figures being split 50% girls and 45% boys.

The report included three serious case reviews in which the system was found to be not at fault. These included an on-going case involving an eight-week-old baby girl named only as ‘Jane’ being admitted to hospital with serious injuries and another anonymous case involving a older hospitalised child. A third youngster, ‘Child B’ had taken their own life but hadn’t had any contact with social services.

Priorities set out included improving the management of referrals, training and the development of a multi-agency approach.