HC Deb 15 February 1984 vol 54 c261
42. Mr. Henderson

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many prosecutions there have been in each of the last five years against persons who inflicted injuries on their children; and in how many of the cases the child had died.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

The information is not available in the form requested, as these prosecutions can be recorded under any number of heads, such as assault. However, the number of persons prosecuted for murder or culpable homicide where the victim was the accused's child and aged under 16 was in 1978 five, in 1979 three, in 1980 two, in 1981 seven and in 1982 three. The figures for 1983 are not yet available.

Mr. Henderson

I thank my hon. and learned Friend for that information. What advice can he give to the general public on how to combat the extremely worrying problem of child abuse? Secondly, is the need for corroborative evidence a problem in securing a reasonable chance of successful prosecution?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I am very much aware of the problem to which my hon. Friend has referred. The figures that I have given for prosecutions clearly depend on sufficiency of evidence. From time to time, difficulties arise in identifying which parent perpetrated the assault.