Project: Children Living with Significant Harm

Funder: Department of Health and NSPCC

Dates: 2000 - 2005

Research Team: Professor Marian Brandon, Professor June Thoburn, Ann Lewis and  Sacha Rose

This study of children suffering or likely to suffer significant harm was funded initially by the Department of Health and latterly by the NSPCC. In Phase 1 (1993-1995) a sample of 105 children (age range 0-18) were identified and information was collected at the point of identification of significant harm and one year later (through questionnaires and interviews) regarding the children, their parents and carers, and multi-agency practice.

In Phase 2 (2000-2002) the children were followed up and case records for 76 of the 105 children were located and examined. Interviews were carried out with 22 children and young people and 20 of their relatives or carers. The study highlights problems in the focus on early intervention in much government policy which can be to the detriment to young people with entrenched problems, many of whom were still living at home and not in care. The special attention given to the status of ‘child' disappears in the transition to adult services.


Brandon M, Thoburn J, Lewis A and Way A (1999) Safeguarding Children with the Children Act 1989, London: The Stationery Office.

Brandon M, Lewis A and Thoburn J (1996) The Children Act definitions of   ‘significant harm'- interpretations in practice,' Health and Social Care in the  Community, 4, (1), 11-20. Click here to view the full report.

Brandon, M., and Lewis, A., (1996) ‘Significant harm and children's experiences of domestic violence,' Child and Family Social Work, 1, 33-42 Click here to view the full report.

Brandon M, Thoburn J., Rose S and Belderson P (2005) Living with Significant Harm: a follow up study, NSPCC: Inform.

Brandon, M., and Thoburn, J., (2008) ‘Safeguarding children in the UK: a longitudinal study of services to children suffering or likely to suffer significant harm' Child and Family Social Work, 13(4) 365-377 Click here to view the report.