Child abuse reports to be published

Full reports of official investigations into the most notorious cases of child abuse are to be published, ministers confirmed.

Children's minister Tim Loughton said the serious case reviews into the deaths of Baby P and Khyra Ishaq, as well as the cases of the Edlington brothers and Shannon Matthews, will be released.

In an interview with Children and Young People Now, Mr Loughton said: "When you read some of these reviews it become clear that a lot of fault can be laid at the door of other agencies.

"Yet it is always social workers who take the brunt of the criticism. Actually, this is a way of helping to restore some of the lost confidence in social workers."

The Tories had suggested before the election that they would look to publish the reviews of the worst cases of child abuse retrospectively.

Two serious case reviews were undertaken in the case of Baby Peter, from Haringey, London, who sustained more than 50 injuries and died aged 17 months at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger. He had 60 contacts with the authorities over eight months.

Khyra Ishaq died in May 2008 when her body succumbed to an infection after months of starvation at her home in Handsworth, Birmingham. It emerged that Birmingham City Council was aware of concerns about the child's welfare almost five months before her death.

Schoolgirl Shannon Matthews was kidnapped and hidden by her own mother Karen Matthews in an attempt to claim thousands of pounds in reward money in February 2008. Karen Matthews was jailed for her part in the kidnapping, along with her former partner's uncle, Michael Donovan.

In January, two brothers were jailed for an "appalling and terrible" attack on two boys, then aged nine and 11, in Edlington, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

The case of the brothers, who were aged 10 and 11 at the time, provoked widespread criticism of agencies involved with the family in Doncaster and a report following the sentencing revealed that the attack could have been prevented.

It was announced in the new Government's coalition agreement that the findings of serious case reviews will be published in the future.

Publication will be subject to certain tests, including ensuring youngsters remain anonymous, the welfare of the child will not be harmed and the reports are appropriately redacted.

Reviews relating to Baby P will be released first.