For enquiries about The POLICY RESEARCH BUREAU's past work,

Dangerous Care: Reviewing the Risks to Children from their Carers
A Literature Review


Despite media panics about attacks by strangers, the greatest risk to children comes from their parents and other carers. Because extremely few children are killed, seriously hurt or neglected by their carers, managing risk and predicting which children these will be is a great challenge for child protection workers.

As the background to the development of an information gathering schedule for use by child protection teams, The Bridge Child Care Development Service funded Ann Hagell to review the literature on what was known about assessing and predicting

What did the study involve?

The study involved a review of articles, books and reports, covering criminology, mental health, child protection and social work, drawing out the main messages on:

  • The effects of abuse
  • Metholological and ethical issues
  • Information about perpetrators
  • Information about children in danger
  • Situations that might be dangerous
  • Existing schedules for prediction
  • Reducing risk

Timescale and final product of the research

A book based on the review was published in September 1998:

Hagell A (1998) Dangerous Care: Reviewing the risks to children from their carers. London: Policy Studies Institute

See Publications for further details.

Other publications arising from the Bridge's study are also available from the Bridge Child Care Development Service on 020 7704 2386.