Case Reviews

Serious Case Review (SCR) - Children

A serious case review (SCR) takes place after a child dies or is seriously injured and abuse or neglect is thought to be involved. It looks at lessons that can help prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Other parts of the UK have their own systems in place to learn from cases. In Wales they are called child practice reviews; in Northern Ireland, case management reviews and in Scotland, significant case reviews.

An SCR should take place if abuse or neglect is known, or suspected, to have been involved and

  • a child has died
  • or a child has been seriously harmed and there is cause for concern about how organisations or professionals worked together to safeguard the child


  • the child dies in custody
  • or a child died by suspected suicide.

Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards

Safeguarding Adults Reviews (SARs)

Safeguarding Adult Board

  • Safeguarding Adult Board (SABs) must arrange a SAR when an adult in its area dies as a result of abuse or neglect, whether known or suspected, and there is concern that partner agencies could have worked more effectively to protect the adult.

  • SABs must also arrange a SAR if an adult in its area has not died, but the SAB knows or suspects that the adult has experienced serious abuse or neglect. In the context of SARs, something can be considered serious abuse or neglect where, for example the individual would have been likely to have died but for an intervention, or has suffered permanent harm or has reduced capacity or quality of life (whether because of physical or psychological effects) as a result of the abuse or neglect. SABs are free to arrange for a SAR in any other situations involving an adult in its area with needs for care and support.

  • The SAB should be primarily concerned with weighing up what type of ‘review’ process will promote effective learning and improvement action to prevent future deaths or serious harm occurring again. This may be where a case can provide useful insights into the way organisations are working together to prevent and reduce abuse and neglect of adults. SARs may also be used to explore examples of good practice where this is likely to identify lessons that can be applied to future cases.

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