§ Mr. Mackinlay
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research has been commissioned and evaluated into the extent of child abuse and its causes; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hutton
[holding answer 27 November 2000]: The Government are committed to researching into the nature and extent of child abuse and its causes. In 1995, they published key findings from a programme of 20 pieces of research, undertaken at the time of the implementation of the Children Act 1989, which came into force in October 1991. "Child Protection: Messages from Research" is available from The Stationery Office; it served to make the lessons of research accessible to professionals working with children and to demonstrate their relevance for policy and practice.
The Government acknowledge the value of the study published this week by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, "Child Maltreatment in the United Kingdom", as an authoritative contemporary prevalence study of abuse and neglect.
This latest research follows the important work of the NSPCC-supported independent National Commission of Inquiry into the Prevention of Child Abuse, chaired by Lord Williams of Mostyn, published as "Childhood Matters" in 1996, and available from The Stationery Office.
We continue regularly to commission research into the needs of children and the impact of services which aim to promote and safeguard the welfare of children. Projects considering the causes, directly or in part of child abuse include; a study aimed at advancing knowledge about the psychological maltreatment of a specific group of children and the comparative costs and outcomes of different interventions for sexually abused children.