HC Deb 12 April 2002 vol 383 cc644-5W
Ms Walley

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps the Government are taking to end child abuse deaths; and if he will make a statement. [45883]

Jacqui Smith

I have been asked to reply. We are committed to reducing the number of deaths of children through abuse and neglect. That is why over the last few years we have introduced new legislation, new guidance, new structures and new policy initiatives to make children safer and to ensure that there is a proper focus on children at the very heart of Government. These measures include: The Care Standards Act 2000 to improve the inspection and regulation of children's care services, and the Protection of Children Act 1999 which makes it much more difficult for unsuitable people to work with children: Revised core interagency child protection guidance: Working Together to Safeguard Children (1999) and the new Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and Their Families (2000); New guidance focusing on Safeguarding Children Involved in Prostitution (2000) and a National Plan for Safeguarding Children from Commercial Sexual Exploitation (2001); A Minister for Young People. John Denham, and a new Cabinet Committee focusing on Children and Young People's issues; The first ever national Children's Rights Director for England——Roger Morgan——to act as a powerful champion for some of the most vulnerable children in our country; The establishment of the Children and Young People's Unit, which is responsible for ensuring the coherence of Government policies that affect all children and young people under 19; and Radical new initiatives such as the £885 million Quality Protects programme, Sure Start and Connexions.

In addition, the Department will shortly be publishing the first of a series of biennial overview reports drawing out the key findings of a sample of serious case reviews following child deaths or other cases of serious abuse in recent years. These reports will draw out common themes and trends and their implications for policy and practice. We will disseminate these findings widely to enable practitioners and managers to learn from them. It will be important for professionals to consider how their own practice might be developed or improved as a result of these findings to help prevent avoidable injuries to, and deaths of, children.