Thursday, December 11, 2008

Comparing Apples and Oranges

..... Or in this case homicide with death statistics.

In an earlier post Accuracy I wrote about the confusion over the number of children dying as a result of abuse. Previously based on figures from Government homicide statistics the NSPCC estimated on average one child a week dies from abuse. In a recent report Ofsted said the the figure was 282 deaths over a 16 or 17 month period (depending on which news report you read!)

According to The Independent yesterday Christine Gilbert, the chief executive of the children's services watchdog, told a hearing of the Commons Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families that of the 282 cases of child deaths Ofsted had investigated most were a result of abuse and the remainder, 72, had died of other causes such as road accidents. This would put the average figure of 3 child deaths a week. So it appears the NSPCC's estimate is an oversimplification.

This together with the UCL Institute of Child Health research conclusions that found child maltreatment, including neglect, could be ten times the official rates is pretty depressing news.


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