While all parts of the UK have processes for reviewing deaths from child abuse and neglect, some areas have introduced processes for wider review of child deaths in an attempt to expand child death review beyond the focus of child abuse and neglect. There is evidence to suggest this might be a more effective way of learning. The USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have had wider Child Death Review (CDR) processes for some years. In 2010 Sharon Vincent was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to enable her to conduct an international study of CDR processes (see P28). The study considered what data is collected on child deaths in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and North America, what the data reveals about the main risk factors, how child deaths are reviewed, whether the different approaches to CDR in these countries are congruent with a public health approach and whether review has been effective in reducing child deaths. A case study approach was adopted comprising analysis of documents such as international, national and local child homicide and fatality statistics and annual reports of CDR teams; it also included semi-structured interviews with key informants including policy makers, members of CDR teams, academics, and practitioners. The study was undertaken in 3 phases. The fellowship provided funding for Phases 1 and 2 which comprised fieldwork and analysis in Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada. Phase 3 comprises fieldwork and analysis in the UK. This research involves synthesising and consolidating work undertaken by Vincent and the Centre in this area. Specifically it involves identifying gaps in knowledge in relation to reviewing child deaths in order to inform policy and practice initiatives. It consolidates learning and draws out implications for the UK in relation to thematic reviews of child deaths.
This project consolidates learning from countries that have established systems for wider Child Death Review processes, and identifies gaps in knowledge that can inform policy and practice initiatives.