Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

No publication of Shannon report

Leon Rose, who is Shannon's biological father, fought original plans to publish the full report at the High Court

A report into the case of abducted schoolgirl Shannon Matthews will not be published in full because it could put her and her siblings at risk.

An executive summary of the Serious Case Review into the run-up to Shannon's disappearance in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, in 2008 was published two years ago.

The Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board has been under pressure to publish the full report, especially after the Government made a commitment to getting full Serious Case Reviews into the public domain wherever possible. But the board has now finally said it will not be publishing the full overview report.

Board chairman Bron Sanders said the Serious Case Review overview report, no matter how it was redacted, would allow specific children to be identified and would place details of their private lives into the public domain.

Mrs Sanders said: "The children in this family are all vulnerable and there is no doubt whatsoever that it would be wrong for us to knowingly cause them harm. The board always made it clear that we would do our utmost to publish the overview report for this Serious Case Review."

Mrs Sanders said the board was, at one stage, almost ready to proceed with full publication.

She said: "On that occasion the decision on whether the board should publish was finely balanced. However, vital new information has now been considered and it is clear that we cannot publish without putting the children at risk."

Mrs Sanders said the Government has acknowledged that there will be cases where full publication of a Serious Case Review is not appropriate. The board's original intention to publish the full report was fought in the High Court by Shannon's father, Leon Rose.

In October, his action was adjourned after "powerful" new "welfare material" was produced and the safeguarding board decided to reconsider its position.

Shannon disappeared from her home in Dewsbury Moor in February 2008. After a massive police operation she was discovered 24 days later at her stepfather's uncle's home less than a mile away. In January 2009 her mother, Karen was jailed for eight years for what a judge described as a "truly despicable" plot to abduct the nine-year-old Shannon. Michael Donovan, in whose flat the youngster was found in the base of a bed, was also jailed for eight years. Both have now been released from prison.

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