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Metropolitan Police Service

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  1. Metropolitan Police Service SCD5 - Child Abuse Investigation Command Common Risk Factors in the Physical Abuse of Children

  2. Aim • The importance of Risk Factors • Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUDIs) • The Physical Abuse & Neglect of Children • Child Death • The Impact of Abuse & Youth Crime • Summary

  3. Introduction • Risk Factors are conditions or events which increase the likelihood of abuse taking place • The most common Risk Factors are prevalent in all types of Child Abuse from sudden unexpected infant death (SUDI) through to Physical and Sexual Abuse in later life • Many Risk Factors overlap between types of abuse • Risk Factors highlight the links between Child Abuse, youth offending and youth victims of crime • Recognising and acting upon Risk Factors can help prevent as well as detect forms of abuse, addressing the cyclical nature of violence and abuse

  4. Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUDIs) • In 2007, 34% of Child Deaths occurred within the top 20 most deprived areas of London. Only 6% occurred within the top 20 least deprived areas • In the last 3 years, 47% of victims of SUDI were black. Current estimates show the black population of London to be 12-15% • KEY RISK FACTORS: • Prematurity (pre 37 weeks) • Low birth weight • Low standard accommodation • Co-sleeping • Unsuitable Bedding • Parental smoking/substance abuse In 2007, the 42 SUDIs had an average of 4 risk factors present per incident.

  5. Based on reported Physical Abuse from April 2005 to March 2008 Physical Abuse & Neglect • Areas with high levels of deprivation in London regularly experience high volumes of Physical Abuse • Children with learning and behavioural difficulties are more vulnerable to physical abuse • A large proportion of suspects/victims come from ethnic minority backgrounds • Single parent and multiple-child households are vulnerable groups

  6. The killing of children in 2007 and 2008 (to date) • Suspects in child homicides highlight 4 Prominent Factors; • Mental health (7 deaths in 2007; 2 in 2008); • Isolation/neglect and abuse (3 deaths in 2007; 2 in 2008) • Domestic Violence/Very Violent Household (3 deaths in 2007; none so far in 2008) • Over-representation of ethnic minorities (75% were BME)

  7. The Cycle of Violence & Abuse • Maltreatment of children aged 0-3 is critical in establishing their propensity for violence (WAVE Report) • Violence is triggered in high-propensity people by social factors such as unemployment, poor housing, over-crowding, economic inequality, declining moral values and stress. Alcohol plays a significant role in the timing of violence (WAVE Report) • Many Risk Factors for child abuse are also present in relation to offenders engaged in Youth Violence (deprivation, domestic violence, substance misuse, mental health)

  8. Serious Youth Violence 2008: Top 10 Boroughs Physical Child Abuse 2008: Top 10 Boroughs The Cycle of Violence & Abuse • Priority Boroughs in relation to Youth Violence all witness high levels of Child Abuse

  9. SUDI • Sexual Abuse Physical Abuse & Neglect • Internet Offending • Prematurity (pre 37 weeks) • Low birth weight • Unsuitable Bedding • Sleeping Arrangements/ Bedsharing • Deprivation • Substance Misuse • Mental Health & Learning Difficulties • Domestic Violence • Previous Abuse • Increased Sex Drive in Adolescent males • Emotional Stress • Family Structure • Heavy internet & pornography usage • Opportunity to Download unobserved • Lack of adult partners • Curiosity

  10. Any Questions?