Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton baby death prompts child cruelty register call

Better monitoring of people convicted of violence against children is needed, a baby death review concluded.

The recommendation, from Southampton Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB), comes after the three-month-old boy died from a skull fracture in 2011.

His father had served a previous jail term for cruelty in another part of England, three years before.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said national monitoring already happens.

The boy's father had earlier been convicted in 2008 and served a 12 month prison sentence for causing five fractures to the body of his four or five-week-old baby son from a previous relationship, the serious case review report said.

'Rigid and cold'

It also revealed the three-month-old boy, a twin, died in hospital after his parents said they had found him "face down in his Moses basket and that he was rigid and cold".

He had bruising and swelling to the back of the head, which was later confirmed as a skull fracture.

Results of a post-mortem examination showed the baby had suffered "sudden infant death with non-accidental injuries".

His twin was placed under police protection after a skeletal survey identified a leg fracture and a possible healing skull fracture.

The parents were arrested but were not charged due to a lack of evidence.

It emerged that the boy's father was monitored for six months by the probation service after his release, but the review report said there was no "active tracking" of him afterwards.

It stated that the case "graphically demonstrated that there was the lack of any system" which allowed professionals who dealt with the man as a prospective parent to be made aware of his "child abusing background".

Sarah's Law

As a result, it has called for a national overhaul of the current monitoring system which it stated only dealt with "assessments of current risk" but not "future risks".

The report recommended "new arrangements be established at national level to register" people convicted of violence against children.

These arrangements would require offenders to record their address with the police and be subject to monitoring arrangements for specified periods of time.

Southampton LSCB chair Keith Makin said he has written to the Home Office about a review of the current system.

The NSPCC said systems were already in place to access information on people convicted of violence against children, such as the Violent and Sex Offender Register (ViSOR) and Sarah's Law.

But Mr Makin said: "We are looking for a registration arrangement over a much longer period of time that would track high-risk individuals who have offences for serious violence towards children.

"We are looking for something similar to the sex offenders' register."

The BBC is awaiting a comment from the Home Office.

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