Serious Case Reviews in England: An Analysis of Risk Factors for Intra-familial Child Maltreatment

Mcmanus, Michelle Ann orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0095-1071, Almond, Louise and Hutton, Rebecca (2017) Serious Case Reviews in England: An Analysis of Risk Factors for Intra-familial Child Maltreatment. Journal of Investigating Child Deaths, 3 . pp. 50-67.

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Intra-familial Child Maltreatment (ICM) is prevalent around the world and leads to significant long term effects. Many risk factors have been identified in relation to ICM and have been shown to be influential upon each other, therefore, considering risk factors together rather than in isolation may be beneficial. Following Bronfenbrenner's (1979) ecological systems theory, the current study attempted to classify risk factors into themes of Child, Parent and Family. To do this, 115 Serious Case Reviews were analysed for the presence/absence of fifteen risk factors taken from the literature. To categorise the risk factors, a Smallest Space Analysis was performed to produce an overall structure dependent on the relationship between each risk factor and every other risk factor. It was found that the risk factors fit into these three themes. In addition, over 70% of the cases could be further classified into a dominant theme, with Parent and Family themes most frequent. A Parent-Family hybrid theme was also highly prevalent. These results support the conclusions made by other studies that ICM should be looked at within a child's environment (such as Dubowitz et al., 2011). Overall, the model of this study could inform future work regarding the early identification of risk to ensure the safeguarding of children at risk of ICM.

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