Leeds & West Yorkshire

Shannon Matthews report not to be published in full

Shannon Matthews
Image caption Shannon was found after a 24-day search

A report into abducted schoolgirl Shannon Matthews will not be published in full because it could put her and her siblings at risk, the Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board says.

Shannon disappeared from her home in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire, for more than three weeks in February 2008.

Her mother, Karen, was jailed for eight years for her part in the abduction.

Prior to the decision, Shannon's father Leon Rose, said publishing a full report would cause her "upheaval".

An executive summary of the Serious Case Review into the run-up to Shannon's disappearance was published two years ago.

'All vulnerable'

The Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board has been under pressure to publish the full report, especially after the Government made a commitment to getting full Serious Case Reviews into the public domain wherever possible.

However, board chairman Bron Sanders said the Serious Case Review overview report, no matter how it was redacted, would allow specific children to be identified and would place details of their private lives into the public domain.

"The children in this family are all vulnerable and there is no doubt whatsoever that it would be wrong for us to knowingly cause them harm, " Mrs Sanders said.

"The board always made it clear that we would do our utmost to publish the overview report for this Serious Case Review," she added.

"A huge amount of work has gone into that process over the last two years because we are an open and transparent body who understand the level of public interest in the Matthews case.

"However, Shannon and her siblings are vulnerable children and their welfare must always come first."

The board's original intention to publish the full report was fought in the High Court by Shannon's father.

'Truly despicable'

In October, his action was adjourned after "powerful" new "welfare material" was produced and the safeguarding board decided to reconsider its position.

Shannon's disappearance prompted a massive police operation and she was discovered 24 days later at her stepfather's uncle's home less than a mile away from her house.

In January 2009 her mother was sentenced for what the judge described as a "truly despicable" plot to abduct the nine-year-old.

Michael Donovan, in whose flat the youngster was found in the base of a bed, was also jailed for eight years.

Both have now been released from prison.

The safeguarding board did publish some new information relating to Shannon's case.

It said the Progress Review of Learning gave a detailed analysis of agencies' involvement with the family and showed how they have subsequently changed their working practices.

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