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Cruelty To Children

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 16 November 1950

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136.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has yet received the Report from the Inter-Departmental Committee which was set up to consider the problems of children not included in the terms of reference in the Curtis Report; and if he will publish the recommendations of this Report.

The working party of officials of the Home Office and other Departments submitted in April a report on the subject of children neglected in their own homes. The report was of the nature of recommendations made by officials to their Ministers and will not be published, but I circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT of 20th July a statement of the conclusions reached on the recommendations. A joint circular from the Home Office, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education was sent to local authorities on 31st July asking that co-ordinated use should be made of all the local services concerned with the welfare of children in their own homes.

139.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been drawn to the increase in the number of offences of cruelty to children; and what steps does he propose to take to give greater powers to the courts to deal more effectively with these offences.

The number of offences of cruelty to, or neglect of, children in the first half of 1950 was slightly more than one half of the number in the year 1949, and almost exactly one half of the numbers in each of the years 1948, 1947 and 1946, which showed a substantial decrease from the numbers in the four preceding years. I have no reason to suppose that the powers of the courts to deal with these offences are inadequate.