HC Deb 21 March 1997 vol 292 cc1031-2W
Mr. Chris Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list for each of the last five years the number of(a) suicides and (b) attempted suicides of young people in care in each case (i) in total and (ii) broken down by social services authority; and if he will indicate what recording mechanisms are in place for the social services inspectorate to monitor such data. [20074]

Mr. Burns

Under schedule 2(20) of the Children Act 1989, local authorities are required to notify my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health of all deaths of children who are being looked after by the local authority. There is no statutory requirement for the cause of death to be identified although local authorities generally do provide it. Information on numbers of attempted suicide is not held centrally.

The Department's records indicate that there have been a total of 12 suicides of children looked after during the last five years.

Notifications of suicides of children looked after by local authorities 1992–97
Year Number of suicides Local authority area
1992–93 1 London Borough ofWandsworth
1 Liverpool
1 Lancashire
1993–94 1 Tameside
1 Cheshire
1994–95 1 Hertfordshire
1 Salford
1 Northumberland
1995–96 1 London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
2 Hampshire
1996–97 1 Cheshire

Reports of deaths of children looked after are received by the regional offices of the social services inspectorate who identify when further investigation may be required. "Working Together Under the Children Act" requires area child protection committees to carry out a review of any incident leading to the death of a child where child abuse is confirmed or suspected or a child protection issue likely to be of major public concern arises.