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Child Abuse

Volume 114: debated on Wednesday 8 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what further steps he is taking to seek to protect children from abuse.

The second stage of our training initiative to tackle child abuse will consist initially of four projects and cost £200,000 in 1987–88.The first of the four will involve the Open University in a two-year project to produce an introductory course on the problems of recognition and referral in cases of child abuse for professionals and others.The second is for a video and training pack on child sexual abuse for medical practitioners under the auspices of the Royal Society of Medicine.The other two projects will cover inter-disciplinary working: Professor Stevenson of Nottingham university will be developing training materials on the inter-agency aspects of case conferences; and the NSPCC will be developing training for social workers and health visitors who need to provide expert advice to colleagues in their own agencies.This programme complements other work already announced which the Department has in hand, including a new guide on inter-agency co-operation ("Working Together") and on the handling of child abuse ("Inquiries"); the preparation of practice guidance for social workers and health visitors; conferences organised by the Social Services Inspectorate on child sexual abuse; and the preparation of new legislation as envisaged in the White Paper "The Law on Child and Family Services".I believe that the four projects, together with the first stage of our training initiative which my right hon. Friend announced last October and the work which the Department has on hand, will make a useful contribution to improving practice in this area of child care, which is of concern to us all.