Supporting social workers to provide help and protection to children

Supporting detail:

Serious case reviews (SCRs)

When a child dies from abuse or neglect, the local inter-agency group responsible for child protection conducts a review to identify how local professionals and organisations can improve the way they work together.

Serious case reviews (SCRs) are undertaken by local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) for every case where abuse or neglect is known - or suspected - and either:

  • a child dies
  • a child is seriously harmed and there are concerns about how organisations or professionals worked together to protect the child

Additionally, LSCBs may decide to conduct a SCR whenever a child has been seriously harmed in any of the following situations and the case brings up concerns about the way in which local services worked together:

  • a child sustains a life-threatening injury or serious and permanent damage of physical and mental health through abuse or neglect
  • a child has been seriously harmed as a result of being subjected to sexual abuse
  • a parent has been murdered and a domestic homicide review is being carried out under the Domestic Violence Act 2004
  • a child has been seriously harmed following a violent assault

Publication of SCR overview reports

The revised statutory guidance ‘Working together to safeguard children’ makes clear that a case that meets the criteria must trigger an SCR, and that the LSCB should aim to complete this within 6 months. It should result in a report which is published and readily available. Where the criteria are not met, the LSCB may still wish to review and share instances of good practice.

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