Fatal child maltreatment in England, 2005-2009

Peter Sidebotham, Sue Bailey, Pippa Belderson, Marian Brandon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This paper presents comprehensive and up-to-date data covering 4 years of Serious Case Reviews into fatal child maltreatment in England.

Methods: Information on all notified cases of fatal maltreatment between April 2005 and March 2009 was examined to obtain case characteristics related to a systemic classification of 5 broad groups of maltreatment deaths (severe physical assaults; covert homicide/infanticide; overt homicide; extreme neglect/deprivational abuse; deaths related to but not directly caused by maltreatment).

Results: A total of 276 cases were recorded giving an incidence of 0.63 cases per 100,000 children (0–17) per year. 246 cases could be classified based on the data available. Of these the commonest specific group was those children who died as a result of severe physical assaults. Apparently deliberate overt and covert homicide was less common, while deaths as a direct consequence of neglect were rare. In contrast, some evidence of neglect was found in at least 40% of all cases, though not the direct cause of death.

Conclusions: Class characteristics differ between the different categories of death and may suggest the need for different strategies for prevention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-306
Number of pages8
JournalChild Abuse & Neglect
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • child abuse
  • child maltreatment
  • fatal maltreatment
  • Homocide
  • Infanticide
  • Neglect
  • article
  • assault
  • child
  • child death
  • child neglect
  • fatality
  • high risk population
  • human
  • incidence
  • medical record review
  • United Kingdom
  • Adolescent
  • Preschool
  • Database
  • Factual
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male

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