The multiple and competing functions of local reviews of serious child abuse cases in England

Dickens, Jonathan, Cook, Laura ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9882-2365, Cossar, Jeanette, Okpokiri, Cynthia ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4857-1606, Taylor, Julie and Garstang, Joanna (2023) The multiple and competing functions of local reviews of serious child abuse cases in England. Critical Social Policy. ISSN 0261-0183

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Abstract

When children are killed or seriously harmed from abuse or neglect, there is pressure to ‘learn the lessons’ to prevent similar events. England has a long-established system of locally-based multi-agency reviews for this, but the recurrence of tragedies and repetitive findings raise questions about its effectiveness. Reflecting and building on our research into reviews completed between 2017 and 2021, we analyse the complexity that routine criticisms of inter-agency working disguise, and argue that reviews are shaped by their multiple, competing functions. The stated purpose is to improve practice. Within this are other overt but ambiguous goals: establishing what happened, accountability, reassurance and commemoration. Then there are covert functions: to dissipate public outrage, deflect attention from underlying causes, and distort understandings of the work by making it seem straightforward. Reviews would benefit from paying more attention to the dynamics of frontline practice and the local actions to implement the lessons.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: child protection; local child safeguarding practice reviews (lcsprs); serious case reviews (scrs),sdg 3 - good health and well-being,sdg 16 - peace, justice and strong institutions ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/good_health_and_well_being
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Social Work
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Child Protection & Family Support
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Centre for Research on Children and Families
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2024 01:36
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2024 01:34
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/94180
DOI: 10.1177/02610183231218965

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