Serious incidents against children in England soar by almost one-third, Ofsted figures reveal

Serious incidents against children in England soar by almost one-third, Ofsted figures reveal

Ofsted received a total of 298 serious incident notifications against children under 18-years-old in England during the year 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2014, almost one-third higher than the previous year, according to statistics published yesterday.

Ofsted note that the increase may “reflect an improvement in the reporting of serious incidents rather than an increase in the number of incidents themselves.”

If and when a serious incident affects a child it is the local authority’s responsibility to provide Ofsted with a statutory notification.

Serious incidents include, but are not limited to, a child who has suffered from abuse, neglect, injury or death (including as a result of accident or suicide).

163 of the reported notifications were in relation to child deaths. Of these, 31% were deaths caused by homicide or non-accidental injury to a child. Cases were assessed as “non-accidental” by using information gathered from sources such as local authority and post-mortem investigations.

Notifications of serious harm were more than double the previous year’s figures, leaping from 61 to 135 notifications.

Other than child death, 50% of serious cases relate to a child being affected by sexual abuse, either by a parent, carer or unrelated person.

N.B Ofsted point out that the data are experimental as it is limited in reflecting only its current knowledge about details relating to notifications for this period.

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