Three Baby Ps a week

Shocked MPs were yesterday told the Baby P tragedy was the tip of the iceberg ? because three abused children die every week.

Christine Gilbert of watchdog Ofsted said that between April 2007 and August this year 210 children died because of neglect or injuries. Twenty-one were babies. Children’s committee chairman Barry Sheerman said: “You have brought to us the most horrific figures I’ve ever seen brought into the public domain.”

And the MP said the grim picture made him fear there would be more Baby Ps coming to light. He added: “This session

made me less confident rather than more confident that there isn’t going to be another Haringey waiting.”

Ms Gilbert, making her annual report to the committee, said of the 21 baby deaths only two were cases that were known to social services.

But the NSPCC, which compiled the figures, claimed the true death toll could be higher still. Director Phillip Noyes said: “Our statistics are based on official homicide figures, which are probably an under-estimate.”

Among the 210 victims was 17-month-old Baby P, who died after appalling abuse at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger.

Social workers from North London’s Haringey council failed to save the toddler despite 60 contacts with the family over eight months.

Disgraced Sharon Shoesmith, head of children’s services at Haringey, was sacked on Monday without a compensation pay-off over the blunders.

At Prime Minister’s Questions after the committee hearing, MP Graham Stuart said the deaths proved there is “something profoundly wrong with our society”.

The PM promised new laws to protect children. He added: “We have to do everything in our power to prevent the needless loss of young life.”

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