Edinburgh Research Explorer

The impact on policy of media coverage of child deaths in the UK

Project: Non-Funded Commission or Consultancy work

  • Elsley, Susan (Principal Investigator)
  • Stafford, Anne (Principal Investigator)
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/01/0931/12/10
Period1/01/0931/12/10

Description

This study was designed to explore the relationship between the media, public pressure and policy making. It was commissioned following the significant media coverage of the death of Peter Connelly (Baby P, Baby Peter) in August 2007 and used newspaper reporting of the death of Peter Connelly as a case study to explore the extent to which UK media coverage has influenced policy on child death cases due to abuse and neglect.

Layman's description

A study to explore the extent to which UK media coverage influences policy on child death cases due to abuse and neglect.

Key findings

How far media reporting influenced of Peter Connelly's death the UK Government’s announcements on the local and national reviews of child protection is difficult to ascertain, but it can be assumed that the intensive media coverage of this case encouraged Government action in the period following the conviction of those responsible for his killing. In addition some newspapers called on the public to petition for the resignation of the Director of Children’s Services in Haringey and portrayed social workers involved in this case negatively. The media coverage of the case exposes the very public nature of safeguarding and protecting children. It suggests that a more productive alliance is required between professionals, the media and public in the area of child protection in order to ensure that there is more measured debate in the reporting on child deaths.