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A & E visits to be logged to prevent child abuse deaths

DIED: Victoria Climbié

CHILDREN WHO are being abused could be more quickly identified under a system that is to be implemented by 2015.

In a plan to prevent horrific child abuse deaths such as those of Victoria Climbié and Baby Peter, every child who has an out-of-hours GP visit or ends up in hospitals’ accident and emergency (A & E) departments will be logged on a national database.

Health Minister Dan Poulter said the Child Protection Information System aims to help medical staff quickly recognise signs that may indicate that children are suffering from abuse or neglect.

The database would help staff check whether children frequently end up in A & E and are if they are subject to a child protection plan, which shows they are at risk, the Guardian reported.

Poulter said: “Until now, it has been hard for frontline healthcare professionals to know if a child is already listed as being at risk or if children have been repeatedly seen in different emergency departments or urgent care centres with suspicious injuries or complaints, which may indicate abuse.

"Providing instant access to that information means vulnerable and abused children will be identified much more quickly, which will save lives. Baby P [Peter Connelly] and Victoria Climbié were both shocking and tragic cases. We want to do everything we can to stop them happening again.”

Victoria, age eight, died in London in a hospital in February 2000 after months of being tortured by her guardians.

At the time of her death, Victoria had been seen by a string of medical professionals, police and social workers. Yet, they missed the 128 injuries she suffered from being beaten, tied up and tortured.

Her great aunt Marie-Thérèse Kouao, and Kouao’s boyfriend Carl Manning were jailed for Victoria’s murder. Victoria’s death sent shock waves through Britain, led to a public inquiry and a shake up of the child protection system.

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