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250 on Northern Ireland child protection register

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250 on Northern Ireland child protection register

Post  Guest on Tue 17 Aug - 12:33

250 on Northern Ireland child protection register

Friday, 16 April 2010

Nearly 250 children have been put on the child protection register after being sexually abused in Northern Ireland, it has been revealed

The Western Health Trust recorded the highest number of those at risk, the latest Department of Health figures said.

Last November, an official report criticised some of its child protection record keeping as "chaotic" and said there were problems in maintaining files.

The public authority recently apologised for inexcusable failures surrounding the treatment of a woman who smothered her daughter and then took her own life. In a joint statement, the Belfast and Western Health Trusts accepted the death of Madeleine O'Neill's daughter Lauren should never have occurred.

SDLP Assembly member Tommy Gallagher said: "Given the situation in the west and what the facts are about the incidence of child abuse, the minister Michael McGimpsey should review how practices are being implemented in the west.

"I think the public would be more reassured if the Department of Health carried out another review to see if all the recommendations are being implemented or if there still are gaps in the service."

A total of 242 child were on the child protection register for sexual abuse at the end of March last year. The Department of Health said 62 of these cases were in the Western Health and Social Care Trust area.

November reports by the Regulation Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) highlighted problems in several of Northern Ireland's health and social care trusts' work in child protection.

In the Western Trust, auditors found problems with file structure and maintenance. In some offices filing was said to be chaotic. Where files had been transferred, either between teams or between social workers in the same team, only 39% of the 66 files audited reflected documented evidence of the transfer. Across the trust, 82% of handwritten files were found to be legible, with one particular officer only 38% of files were.

Overall at the end of March 2009, there were 2,488 children on child protection registers in Northern Ireland, an increase of 20% (417) from 2008 (2,071). Health minister Mr McGimpsey highlighted better co-operation between the police and social services. He said: "The focus tends to be on the minority of cases where things go wrong and children come to harm."

Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breaking-news/uk-ireland/250-on-northern-ireland-child-protection-register-14770643.html

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