Famous High-Profile Child Neglect Cases | Abuse Case Study Example in UK

Relate Two High-Profile Child Abuse Cases in Relation to Developments and Changes to Current Law and Policy in UK

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Relate Two High Profile Child Abuse Cases In Relation To Developments And Changes To Current Law And Policy in UK.

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Introduction of 2 serious high-profile child abuse cases in UK

Child abuse refers to a difficult or complex behavioural set that consists of child neglect case along with physical, emotional and sexual abuse in UK. People consider only physical abuse as child abuse however this makes up only a small portion of the cases of child abuse that has been reported. Physical abuse is defined as physical injuries caused upon the child with malicious intention however in a few cases, the physical injury is not intentional but is a result of strict punishment given by the caretaker or the parents. Emotional abuse refers to constant teasing, threatening and shouting at a child. Likewise, sexual abuse refers to the molestation of a child in which an adult uses a child for sexual stimulation.

This report will focus on the case of Peter Connelly, son of Tracey Connelly who was a victim of Child abuse residing in North London and the Case of Liam Fee, a toddler who was also a victim of Child abuse causing death which will be discussed in detail later in this report.

Famous Child Neglate Case 1 – Peter Connelly

1. Case Overview

As per BBC reports in November 2008, Baby P a white child of Irish ethnic origin died tragically died at the age of 17th months. There were severe injuries while in the care of his mother Tracey Connelly, her partner Steven Barker and her lodger. His mother was found guilty of causing the death of the child. The same charge was against her partner and the lodger as well on 11th November 2007 (BBC News, 2021).

Baby P was put into a special child protection plan by the different agency on 22nd Dec 2006 and have been frequently checked up by social workers and professionals. There were around 60 visits of those professional to the child. There have been continuous media and government intervention in this case which included hiring Lord Laming to take the responsibility to review safeguarding child abuse on a national level (Font and Maguire, 2020).

2. Key Events

There have been several accounts surrounding the case of Baby Peter who took his last breath in Haringey, North London after suffering from several injuries.

Dates Key Events
Mar-06 Baby Peter was born to Tracey Connelly.
Dec-06 Connelly is arrested after bruises are spotted on Baby Peter face and chest.
Jan-07 The boy returned home after staying away with a family friend for five-month.
Feb-07 One of the social worker Nevres Kemal writes a letter to the Department of Health over her concerns on the negligence of protection of the child in Haringey (BBC News, 2021).
Apr-07 The Baby was admitted to the Middlesex Hospital with injuries.
May-07 Connelley is re-arrested after the social worker found injuries on the boys face.
Jun-07 Barker’s brother, Jason Owen moves to Tracey Connelley house along with the 15-year-old girl.
Jul-07 The social worker has missed the injuries of the Baby as his hands and face were smeared deliberately with chocolates to hide them.
Aug-07 Baby Peter was examined at the child development Centre. Connelly was informed by the police that her case will not be prosecuted after the case is considered by the Crown Prosecution service. On 3rd August 2007, Baby Peter Found Dead in his cot (McGuire and London, 2020).

3. Result of the case

On 13th November 2008, Ed Balls, Children Minister orders an inquiry on those who have handled the case of Baby Peter. After reporting to Haringey Children Service, its Cabinet minister Liz Santry and its leader George Meehan Resigned. Also, the social worker Dr Jerome Ikueke was suspended by General Medical Council and all the staff who were involved in this case was sacked because of their irresponsibility in handling the Baby Peter Case (Lippard and Nemeroff, 2020).

4. Legislation.

The Children Act 1989 and the Children Act 2004 was framed for children Welfare in the UK which aims in protecting child abuse with the help of association between the agencies who are responsible for the delivery of services and are ultimately accountable for the same. As a result of this case, there was legislation amended from previously framed legislation (NSPCC, 2020).The Children Act 1989 and the Children Act 2004 to Children and Social Work Act 2017 which has key provisions such as;

  • Section 12 to 15 of this Act states that a separate panel “the Child Safeguarding Review Panel” was established to review and report serious child abuse cases which are complex and are of national importance.
  • Section 17 of this act states that the previous framework Local Safeguarding Children Boards have been replaced by local partners for safeguarding who will be responsible for publishing reports on local safeguarding practice reviews (Elkin, 2020).
  • Section 34 states that in every educational institution in the UK, the student will be provided with education on relationships will be provided in Primary and secondary schools.

Case Abuse Case 2 - Liam Fee

1. Case Overview

Liam Fee was 2.5 years of age when he was killed at his home in Thornton, near Glenrothes, Fife in March 2014. He has severe injuries including Fracture of his upper arm and thighs along with severe blunt trauma to his chest and abdomen. Liam Fee’s mother Rachel Fee and her partner Nyomi Fee was convicted for his murder (Fortier et al., 2020). As per reports, this case was considered off the radar as the member of the staff was gone sick and Liam case was not assigned and reviewed until further concern raised by the Nursery in which Liam has started going. This case was first reported by the Nursery in which Liam went after noticing several injuries and had contacted the social service with their concern. This case was first reported on BBC News on 31st May 2016 (Penhale, 2020).

2. Key Events

Dates Key Events
Aug-11 Liam Fee was born in Ryton.
Dec-11 Liam's mother Rachel Trelfa, as she was then and her partner Nyomi Fee move after Rachel leaves Liam's father.
Jan-12 The couple stayed at Travelodge after they moved to a house at Thronton near Glenrothes
Jun-12 The couple entered a civil partnership with Rachel taking over her partners name
Jan-13 Liam was assigned a social worker after reports from his caretaker from the Nursery after observing several injuries. Rachel and Nyomi's explanation as he bumped his head was accepted by the Police and social worker who came for a visit (Kaldal, 2020).
Apr-13 The Social worker assigned for Liam goes off-sick and nobody was then assigned to take care of him
Jun-13 When the nursery raised concerns again, social workers get involved again in this case however did not consider the injuries as adult marks but only a matter of concern.
22-Mar-14 Liam Dies in a bedroom at the family home.

3. Result of the case

As a result of this child abuse, Liam's mother and her partner Nyomi Fee were convicted for his murder however they have denied accusing the other caretaker of Liam's murder. This case has been a tragic outcome for the local authorities. According to the Independent Chair of the Fife Child protection committee, Rachel and Nyomi not only took their child life but also made an effort to hinder the service which Liam Fee was provided by the local authorities (Briggs and Hawkins, 2020). It is also a case of missed opportunity for the staff who were involved in the case. The social worker involved in the Liam Fee case was struck off after her guilt of misconduct was found by a professional Social service watchkeeper, the Scottish Social Service Council.

4. Legislation

As a result of the above case, there has been a continuous effort by the local authorities to improve on the child protection plan. According to Minister of Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald, with a view of this tragic case, the local authorities with the help of Parliament and statutory agencies have worked together in identifying the concerns and respond them early about child safety and wellbeing (Clapton, 2020). As per the Child Protection Plan, these authorities have reviewed the formal child protection system which has established an action programme to address the neglect by the authorities involving in any child abuse, National Group to support, strengthen and improve the activity of child protection have been set up. There are also National Child Protection Policy framed to eradicate such child abuse cases in future (Bows and Penhale, 2018). There are different actions taken by the government of Scotland concerning the tragic case of Liam Fee by forming policies and legislation which includes;

  • In Scotland, Child Protection Committee (CPC) are responsible for multi-agency Child protection policy, procedures, guidance and practice.
  • With each Local Authority, CPC work with local agencies such as children social work, health service and to safeguard the children from any child abuse.
  • Each local authority prepares a three-year plan which relates to the service which has an important impact on children protection and wellbeing. According to the Scottish Government, 2020 a statutory guidance have been provided on children service planning (NSPCC, 2021).
  • The Policy Scotland is getting it right for every child provides a framework for those involved in taking care of the children and their family to facilitate the right support at the right time.
  • As per policy, the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland provides key guidance of any social worker staff working with children in Scotland.
  • According to the Adult Support and Protection Act, 2007 any concern raised for an adult of age between 16 and 18 years, the agencies must refer to Adult support and Protection Act, 2007.
  • Section 21 of the National Guidance for Child Protection Act explains how professionals should perform to protect young adults from any harm which are arising due to several different circumstances (McGuire and London, 2020).


To summarize, the above two cases revolve around two toddlers Liam Fee aged 2.5 years and Peter Connelly of 17 months. Their case was similar concerning the child abuse examples by their parents. The two cases have been a tragic case which was of media and Government interest as their deaths caused a national concern regarding the safety and protection of the children. Both died tragically due to the negligence of the local authorities while taking care of the child and there have been strict actions taken concerning the irresponsible and negligence behaviour of their caretakers which resulted in the formation of different policies, regulations and legislation by the local authorities regarding the safety of children and also there was legislation made for the social work agencies so that they can work effectively.


To conclude, this report highlights the two cases of famous child abuse review. The first case is of Peter Connelly who was murdered by his mother and her partner at their house in North London and the other case outlines the tragic story of a 2.5 years child named Liam Fee who also have been a victim of child abuse which resulted in his death. This report also covers the result of the case such as what has happened or what rules and regulations have been framed to avoid such cases in future. Furthermore, the report outlines a series of events of these tragic cases ultimately leading to the death of the toddlers which raised concerns in the local authorities regarding the safety and wellbeing of the children in the UK.

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  • BBC News. 2021.Liam Fee murder: The vulnerable toddler who 'fell off the radar. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-40341450#:~:text=Liam%20was%20found%20dead%20at,his%20upper%20arm%20and%20thigh.> [Accessed 4 May 2021].
  • BBC News. 2021.Timeline of Baby P case. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-11626806#:~:text=1%20May%202009%3A%20Barker%20is,the%20request%20of%20his%20family.> [Accessed 4 May 2021].
  • Bows, H. and Penhale, B., 2018. Elder abuse and social work: Research, theory and practice.
  • Briggs, F. and Hawkins, R., 2020.Child protection: A guide for teachers and child care professionals. Routledge.
  • Clapton, G., 2020. Child Protection Anxieties and the Formation of UK Child Welfare and Protection Practices. InDiscourses of Anxiety over Childhood and Youth across Cultures(pp. 75-98). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
  • Elkin, M., 2020. Child abuse extent and nature, England and Wales: year ending March 2019.London: Office for National Statistics.
  • Font, S.A. and Maguire-Jack, K., 2020. The scope, nature, and causes of child abuse and neglect.The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,692(1), pp.26-49.
  • Fortier, K., Parent, S. and Lessard, G., 2020. Child maltreatment in sport: smashing the wall of silence: a narrative review of physical, sexual, psychological abuses and neglect.British journal of sports medicine,54(1), pp.4-7.
  • Kendal, A., 2020. COMPARATIVE REVIEW OF LEGISLATION RELATED TO BARNAHUS IN NORDIC COUNTRIES: Public consultation process of the draft Child protection in criminal proceedings and comprehensive treatment of children in the Children's House Act2of 1 June 2020.
  • Lippard, E.T. and Nemeroff, C.B., 2020. The devastating clinical consequences of child abuse and neglect: increased disease vulnerability and poor treatment response in mood disorders.American journal of psychiatry,177(1), pp.20-36.
  • McGuire, K. and London, K., 2020. A retrospective approach to examining child abuse disclosure.Child abuse & neglect,99, p.104263.
  • NSPCC Learning. 2021.Child protection system for England | NSPCC Learning. [online] Available at: <https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/child-protection-system/england#:~:text=The%20Children%20Act%201989%20provides,duties%20of%20care%20to%20children.> [Accessed 4 May 2021].
  • NSPCC Learning. 2021.Child protection system for Scotland | NSPCC Learning. [online] Available at: <https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/child-protection-system/scotland> [Accessed 4 May 2021].
  • Penhale, B., 2020. Elder Abuse and Adult Safeguarding in the UK. InInternational Handbook of Elder Abuse and Mistreatment(pp. 311-331). Springer, Singapore.
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