Translating learning into action Overview of learning from case management reviews in Northern Ireland 2003-2008

Boy sitting on stairsCase management reviews (CMRs) are undertaken in Northern Ireland after a child dies or is seriously injured, and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor.

This report brings together key learning from 24 case management reviews completed in Northern Ireland from 2003 to 2008.

This research was conducted by NSPCC and Queen's University Belfast research

Author: John Devaney, Lisa Bunting, David Hayes and Anne Lazenbatt
Year: 2013

  • The 24 CMRs involve 45 children.
  • Children died due to physical or sexual assault; sudden unexplained death in infancy (SUDI); suicide and accidents.
  • Parental mental health problems, drug or alcohol misuse and domestic violence were common themes.
  • Parental problems put children at risk due to a lack of care and supervision; a chaotic family lifestyle; and inappropriate physical and sexual behaviour towards children by adults.
  • Due to existing family difficulties, most of the children were already known to social services.
  • However, these children were amongst hundreds living in very similar circumstances and who were known to professionals. The reviews concluded that it was unlikely that the children who died or were seriously injured could have been identified as being at heightened risk.

Themes for learning

The report highlights a number of key themes for learning around: 

  • early and sustained intervention
  • child neglect
  • thresholds for intervention
  • communication and information sharing between professionals
  • recording and record keeping
  • compliance with established policies and practice
  • assessment and analysis of information
  • supervision, staff support and training
  • keeping the focus on the child
  • organisational and staffing context
  • inter and intra agency working
List of tables and figures 2
Foreword 5
Executive Summary 7
Introduction 11
The Case Management Review process 18
Learning from other overview processes 25
Methodology for the analysis of Case Management Review reports 35
Case profiles 37
The key themes 47
The process of review 60
Reflections 65
Appendices 68
References 88

Got a question?

Our Knowledge and Information Service answer over a thousand enquiries every year helping professionals find the information and resources they need to keep children safe.

Send us your enquiry

Other research and resources

Learning from case reviews

Our series of thematic briefings highlight the learning from case reviews. Each briefing focuses on a different topic and pulls together key risk factors and practice recommendations.
Find out more

How safe are our children? 2015

Our report compiles and analyses the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across the 4 nations in the UK for 2015.
Find out more

Local Safeguarding Children Boards: learning and improvement processes

Research study exploring the tools used by Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) to identify opportunities for development.
Find out more

Helpline highlight: protecting children in Northern Ireland: 2012-13

Looks at the contacts made to the NSPCC from Northern Ireland in 2012/13. Part of the NSPCC's Helpline highlight series.
Find out more

Neglect and serious case reviews

A systematic analysis of neglect in serious case reviews in England, between 2003 and 2011.
Find out more

NSPCC Youth Witness Service Remote Live Link

Evaluation of a service to allow young witnesses to give evidence at Londonderry Courthouse from an NSPCC via a TV live link.
Find out more


Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.

Sign up to CASPAR

Information Service

Our free service for people who work with children can help you find the latest policy, practice, research and news on child protection and related subjects.

For more information, call us or email

0808 800 5000

Submit an enquiry

How safe are our children? Growing up online

Our annual flagship conference is for everyone working in child protection.

Find out more

Follow @NSPCCpro

Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.

Follow @NSPCCpro on Twitter

Library catalogue

We hold the UK's largest collection of child protection resources and the only UK database specialising in published material on child protection, child abuse and child neglect.

Search the library

New in the Library

A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.

Sign up to New in the Library

Helping you keep children safe

Read our guide for professionals on what we do and the ways we can work with you to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.

Read our guide (PDF)

Impact and evidence

Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.

Our impact and evidence

Training and consultancy

Grow your child protection knowledge and skills with CPD certified courses delivered by our experts nationwide and online.
Get expert training

Sharing knowledge to keep children safe

Read our guide to the NSPCC Knowledge and Information Service to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.

Read our guide (PDF)