Search

The lasting legacy of Baby P tragedy

PUBLISHED: 11:58 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:21 07 September 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03:  Flowers and children's toys lie next to a memorial for Baby P on the second anniversary of his death in the St Pancras & Islington Cemetery on August 3, 2009 in London, England. Baby Peter died at the age of 17 months after enduring prolonged abuse at the hands of his mother and her partner in Haringey, north London. The NSPCC has today announced that the number of calls to its helpline concerning serious child abuse have risen by more than a third since the death of Baby Peter.  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Flowers and children's toys lie next to a memorial for Baby P on the second anniversary of his death in the St Pancras & Islington Cemetery on August 3, 2009 in London, England. Baby Peter died at the age of 17 months after enduring prolonged abuse at the hands of his mother and her partner in Haringey, north London. The NSPCC has today announced that the number of calls to its helpline concerning serious child abuse have risen by more than a third since the death of Baby Peter. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

2009 Getty Images

Almost 30 per cent more people are calling the NSPCC Helpline about child abuse since the death of Baby P, new figures show. Monday marked the second anniversary of the toddler's death, whose name was revealed as Peter earlier this year.

Charlotte Newton

Almost 30 per cent more people are calling the NSPCC Helpline about child abuse since the death of Baby P, new figures show.

Monday marked the second anniversary of the toddler's death, whose name was revealed as Peter earlier this year.

The 17-month-old boy died in Haringey on August 3, 2007 after suffering months of abuse at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger.

The case provoked a national outcry when the extent of his suffering became public during the criminal trial last November.

The NSPCC announced on Monday that the number of referrals made to child protection services between August 2006 and March 2009 rose 27 percent from 8,170 to 11,243.

More than one in three calls (35 per cent) referred by the helpline last year concerned families unknown to local agencies. The authorities took action to investigate and protect children in 98 per cent of cases.

Christine Renouf, director of helpline services at the NSPCC, said: "The brutal torture and death of Baby Peter was terrible but we know it was a wake-up call for some people to look out for children.

"The increasing number of serious child abuse calls we are getting shows the continuing need for our helpline.

"But it's also encouraging that so many people are now taking responsibility for stopping this abuse.

"It is becoming more and more difficult for child abusers to hide their crimes."

Peter died after suffering more than 50 injuries during months of sadistic abuse.

His mother, now 28, was given an indeterminate sentence with a minimum of five years at the Old Bailey in May for causing or allowing her son's death.

Her 28-year-old boyfriend was given 12 years for the same offence and life (with a minimum term of 10 years) for raping a two-year-old girl. Their lodger, Jason Owen, 36, of Bromley Kent, was also jailed for causing or allowing the death of Baby Peter and received an indefinite sentence with a minimum of three years.

Following the high-profile trial, Haringey Council's head of children's services Sharon Shoesmith was sacked, as were a social worker and three managers.

Haringey's child protection services were condemned as "inadequate" in a damning report commissioned by the government which led to the resignations of George Meehan, leader of the council and Liz Santry, the cabinet member for children and young people.

It emerged at the trial that social workers, the police and health professionals had seen Baby Peter 60 times in the months leading up to his death.

Last month inspectors warned that Haringey was still not protecting all vulnerable children from abuse. On Monday, the new council leader Claire Kober said: "Peter's legacy must be the transformation of child welfare in the borough. Everyone is committed to making that happen."

The NSPCC specialises in child protection and the prevention of cruelty to children. Ms Renouf said: "It takes a few seconds to dial our number and it could be the difference between life and death for a child." The number is 0808 800 5000.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ham&High. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Hampstead Highgate Express