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Our response to Lord Carlile's review of the Edlington case
16 November 2012
Earlier today Lord Carlile published the second report into the
Edlington case, in which two young boys were tortured by two
brothers in 2009.
Responding to Lord Carlile's review, Dame Clare Tickell, Chief
Executive of Action for Children, said, "There are thousands of
troubled families facing a host of complex problems who could reach
crisis point if they don't receive the right support at the
earliest possible opportunity.
"Intervening early is essential - and we know from our work in
communities across the UK that the lives of families, and
particularly children, can be successfully turned around to stop
them from reaching breaking point and overwhelming local authority
children's services departments.
"But action needs to be taken now. More than half of social workers
and over a third of police officers have told Action for Children
that they feel powerless to intervene at early signs of
"The government must ensure that vital services which support
vulnerable children and families at the earliest possible stage are
invested in, and professionals are enabled to work fluidly
together, to effectively protect children and prevent neglect."
Action for Children is calling on the Government
to urgently update the antiquated child neglect law, as today's
review highlights the current law's failings.
The current law - drafted in 1933 - is dangerously out of date
and out of step with current civil legislation, hindering the
ability of police and child protection agencies to work together
fluidly to intervene with families like those of the Edlington
Our proposed amendment, which is being spearheaded by a number
of leading peers including Baroness Butler-Sloss, former Chair of
the Cleveland child abuse inquiry, would simplify the framework of
the criminal law, making it clearer and aligning the thresholds of
intervention with civil law.
Baroness Butler-Sloss, former President of the Family Division
of the High Court and Chair of the Cleveland child abuse inquiry,
added, "This case review is a stark reminder that an updated child
neglect law, like the one Action for Children and I are calling
for, is urgently needed.
"The current law is nearly 80 years old and does not fall in line
with civil legislation and the practices of local authorities. Most
importantly, as we have seen in the Edlington case, it is stopping
police and child protection agencies from working together
effectively and from making clear, consistent and coordinated
"Sadly we may not have seen the last of these kinds of cases, but
we can help prevent the circumstances that lead to them which is
why we are urging the Government to reform the law as soon as