Letter: Hidden child abuse

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The Independent Online
Sir: Perhaps the decrease in child abuse deaths is not as great as research suggests (Significant Shorts, 5 September).

In my district of work as a consultant paediatrician, there have been two suspicious child deaths within the past two years and neither has been formally registered as a child abuse death. The child protection register has never been an accurate statistic of incidence of abuse - it simply records those children who have been case-conferenced and a decision made to register the case. Certainly, the Government is currently using inadequate research to "fudge" the real incidence of child abuse. Local authorities are encouraged not to register cases reported by consultant paediatricians and others but to deem referrals as children in need of family support.

Dr GRAINNE EVANS

Farningham, Kent

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