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Considering that number of topics will be covered during the module, students will be asked to write their coursework on a particular topic of their choice. They will be asked to review the contemporary publications and choose a case study related to a particular topic. 

Students will present their ideas on the case studies during workshops and receive formative feedback from lecturers and peers. 

3,500 words analysis of the chosen topic: including a case study, issues related to the case, service provision and policy implications (LO 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5). 

Your assessment must include: 

  • An introduction 
  • An overview of the topic to be discussed 
  • Your case study should include only relevant issues to your chosen topic 
  • Your case study and discussion on the topic should not be based on your own subjective opinions 
  • Your case study and discussion should demonstrate that you have read widely around the subject 
  • Your assignment should only include credible academic sources 
  • You must adhere to the Harvard referencing system 
  • You must present a balanced critical discussion 
  • You must end your assignment with a conclusion 

The incident of child abuse involving Wilson Fred and its devastating consequences

Child abuse refers to the maltreatment or mistreatment of young ones through psychological, sexual, and physical abuse or neglect. It is important to note that the neglect or abuse of the children is by and large displayed by guardians, caregiver or the parents. Moreover, the premises or setting where the abuse occurs can be within the community, in school, in child’s home, or in any organization where the child interact or relate with others. According to Denholm et al. (2013), child mistreatment or abuse is deemed as an atrocious crime or offense which is principally committed by the parents. In the United Kingdom, statistics show that more 500,000 children are abused each year, implying that the rate of child abuse is relatively high as well as horrendous. Therefore, in this paper, I endeavor to develop or come up with a case study grounded on a certain incident of a child abuse. On a similar note, I would incorporate a discussion of the ethical issues, causes as well as prevalence of the incident of child abuse. I would as well endeavor to critique the evidence presented in the incident and elucidate the various relevant government legislation and policies put in place to curb child abuse. The incident of the child abuse involves a two-year-old boy killed by his father and mother after a manifold of instances of physical and psychological abuse in their household. In conclusion, the essay will explore some of the critical issues mentioned in the discussion and what governments strive to do to shun the high rates of child abuse in the nations and society.

The incident of child abuse involve a two-year-old boy by the name Wilson Fred who was found dead in their home by the emergency services staff members after being alerted by Julia Wilson, the mother, who was at that time living with her companion Monica Smith. It is worthwhile noting that Fred Wilson’s abuse started a year prior to the time of the incident when they shifted to a new place of residence. Monica and Julia were soon to get into a civil partnership and deceptively needed to get rid of the boy to able to work without any hindrance. The couple would lock up the child in an improvised confine in a very filthy and messy room. Besides locking the boy in a filthy room, Julia and Monica often abused the child physically by the use of ropes, a metal frame, chains as well as cable ties. Almost every day Fred Wilson would be caned and beaten up for no apparent reason after which lock him up in the birdcage with his hands tied the whole night. He would as well be vehemently forced to take cold baths which deteriorated his health condition. In the course of his last days, Fred Wilson’s nursery notified the social services staff as they got worried concerning the behavioral changes in the little boy, for example, from being joyful to becoming dull and silent. An investigation and assessment after his death showed that he had suffered more than thirty injuries encompassing a ruptured heart, double fractures of the arm and thigh bone.

The causes and prevalence of child abuse in the UK

The prevalence or dominance of child abuse in United Kingdom is one the main social issues which needs to be overcome with immediate effect to aid in improving children growth and development in the nation. NSPCC shows that the prevalence or predominance of child abuse in the United Kingdom is still unrecognizable. It reveals that child abuse incidences are usully being carried out in privately and because the victims or sufferers being too young are ashamed and scared to expose the incidences in front of their teachers or parents           (Nspcc, 2018).  Statistics issued by the United Kingom regime in 2016 show that there are approximately 57,000 children who to a great extent require instantaneous protection from innumerable child abuse cases. In spite of the efforts taken by the United Kingdom government toward the security and safety of every child, the statistics evidently outlines that the pervasiveness of sexual crimes against children is documented to be about 54,987 in 2015/2016. It is important to note that many of the victims or sufferers of child abuse in are largely under the age group of 15 years. According to NSPCC, (2018), this age group is mostly likely to be predisposed by abusers for child trafficking.  From the case study, it can or could be identified that Wilson Fred, the two-year-old child has been a sufferer or victim of constant child abuse from Monica Smith and her mother Julia Wilson. The prevalence or dominance of child abuse was so repeated that Fred Wilson passed on in his bedroom.

Biçakçi et al.(2016) have concentrated on carrying out a comprehensive research of child abuse. It is vital to note that there are different reasons or motives for child abuse that tend to be dissimilar from one status quo to another. The major reasons motives for child abuse include alcoholism, substance abuse, and socio-economic factors. Similarly, if an individual has a history of being a sufferer or victim of child abuse especially if he or she has suffered violence, rejection or maltreatment during his or her childhood may result in him or her also abusing others. On the other hand, some of the socio-economic factors which result in child abuse rise when members of families face financial obligations or responsibilities amidst each other. A greater number of low-income househlds have been found to be children abusers through forcing the young ones to work at very early ages whereas. Contrariwise, in the high-income and middle-income families, studies show that many parents abuse their children, for instance, for the children’s failure to live up to their high demands or expectations. The happening of the above situation affects the general development of the children both physically and mentally.

Relevant government legislation and policies to address and prevent child abuse

Hermes (2017), advocates that the facet of substance abuse, for example, miraa consumption is as well a significant reason or motive for the increase of child abuse in the United Kingdom. In regards to PCANY, it is recorded that about 70 percent of children abuse cases or incidences like sexual abuse, neglect, and physical abuse are as a result of alcohol consumption and drug use or substance abuse. Children under the age of 5 years are considered most vulnerable to alcohol consumption and substance abuse from their respective parents because they are very young to either confront the substance abusers or protest. As a final point, domestic abuse is as well a principal reason or motive which lead to the occurrence or happening of the cases or incidences of child abuse or maltreatment in the nation. Health24 (2011), advocates that the existence of abusive mothers and fathers in the family is a prime cause of domestic abuses because they take over the child in the form of torturing beating and even abusing them to reomve the frustration of office stress and household chores. It is apparent from the case study in regards to Wilson Fred that the two-year-old boy passed on due to persistent domestic abuse tendered on him by Monica and his mother Julia Wilson through physical torture and through tying him up with ropes and chains in the cage.  

Bacon & Richardson (2001) has been identified to be discussing the aspect of attachment theory which is associated with the issue of child abuse. The attachment theory states that there is an importance of the relationship between the primary caregiver and child so that strong emotional and personal development is increased. The implication of attachment theory in the social case scenario of child abuse can be viewed as a literature path which would benefit in working closely with both the abused child and the abusive adult in order to understand the need that resulted in practising child abuse. The attachment theory is suitable for the case study of two-year-old boy Fred who died due to child abuse. It can be said that authorities of Sunshine Nursery School upon viewing the physical condition of Fred should have taken the initiative to report to local police authorities or care homes who would have utilised the attachment theory to understand the actual reason behind the continuous abuse by Monica and Julia (Erozkan, 2016). Similarly, Social Learning theory is also an important theory that plays a major role in child abuse. It should be taken into consideration that development of behaviour within children largely depends on the parents. If parents are abusive, children would be abusive in the later stages of their life (Hosier, 2017). Similarly, from the case study, it could be assumed that the parent of Julia Wilson might have been abusive and treated her badly which in-turn has replicated on her attitude and behaviour towards her child Fred.

The role of attachment theory and social learning theory in understanding child abuse

The ethical issues which are associated with the aforementioned case study are that his Fred’s mother, Julia Wilson and Monica have endlessly and severely abused the two-year-old  kid making him succumb to death. The toddler has over and over again been found out to be unethically tied up with chains and ropes at home geared toward punishing him. The punishment is unethical because there is nothing wrong he has done to either Monica or Julia. From the above case study, AL and FR (2000), state that it can be identified or acknowledged  that the ethical principle of utilitarianism theory has been followed or demonstrated by both Julia and Monica. The duo are very happy or excited with the fact that they have inflicted distress and severe pain on the minor which in turn has led to his death. They are of the feeling that they have done a god thing by torturing the young boy with tying up with chains and ropes as well as beating him up on very many events.   

The series of cases of child abuse which is among the critical felonious acts currently testified has invoked the UK government to take strategic and effective actions against the menace. According to Radford et al. (2011), the extensive history of child abuse outrages and humiliations has forced the United Kingdom government to undertake and formulate legislation and policies which would foster changes within the society and reprimand the criminals. The aforementioned case study in regards to Fred Wilson is an incidence of severe child abuse resulting in a loss of life. The case is subject to various child protection legislation and policies that could have been abided by the delinquents. In the United Kingdom, the Education Department has got the responsibility for the acts of child protection encompassing statutory guidance, legislation and policy to aid in ensuring that child protection system is established and properly executed. According to NSPCC (2018), there also exist Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) which play a significant role in coordination to ensure that the voluntary and independent sectors, health bodies, police, and local authorities, work together to promote as well as protect child welfare. The section consists of three most fundamental legislation and policies which would be analytically analysed.

The first policy or legislation is the Children Act of 1989. The policy focuses on children’s welfare which has to be of greatest reputation to the courts. In the same token, the bylaw denotes that responsibilities of maintaining and protecting the welfare of children have been allotted to the human rights agencies within the United Kingdom, courts, parents, and local authorities. The Act allows the court to charge the criminals with child abuse if there are manifestations or signs of sexual, emotional, and physical, harm. The courts also consider the wishes of children in case of background circumstances, educational needs, sex, and sex. The impact of the change on the child, the harm the child has suffered, the parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs and other essential powers available to the judicial system are all contained in this Act (Morris, 1999). Conversely, the criticality and significance of this legislation can be measured or determined via its weaknesses and strengths. In this regards, one of the strengths of this Act is that it helps in ensuring that there is a collaborative approach by different agencies ascertain children’s welfare. In the same vein, the legislation has the ability or prowess of amending the mistakes committed or exhibited by the parents in the instance of child-rearing as the courts have the discretionary and jurisprudential powers to caution or presage the parents in regards to their duties as well as responsibilities. The Children Act of 1989 also acknowledge the rights of children that are not taken into consideration in most cases as a result of lack of ability to speak and cognitive development of the toddlers. Nevertheless, the Act as well as comprises limitations. First, according to Loughran (2008), the legislation does not embrace the accountability of the social care workers, therefore, cogitates the children’s ability to show their preferences. In in the case of Fred, he could not speak well due to his age and this would have limited the scope of the investigations. Conversely, the barring of social workers in this legislation affects the case of child abuse. For example, as the social workers were informed by Fred nursery that he was showing unusual behaviour, however, the social workers could not so anything to save the child from the abuse.

The ethical issues associated with the case of Wilson Fred

Subsequently, the Children Act of 2004 is a reformed and improved extension of the 1989 Children Act. It has basically strengthened the Children Act 1989. This law has realized the significance of the partnership between agencies concerned about child abuse. It embraces more accountability to aid investigations. A post of Children’s Commissioner for England has been established within the law. It also encompasses a great deal of duty or responsibility on the local authorities to partner with the health service providers, youth judicial system, and police to plan and arrange for promoting and safeguarding the welfare of the children (RICHES, 2008) . Notably, this law has helped in strengthening the physical punishment inflicted in children through limiting the use of reasonable punishments created by the defence. The law outlines that if signs of abuse and harm are not clearly visible on the body of the child, there the delinquents may face no reasonable punishment. Consequently, the strength of the law is related to the weaknesses of the Children Act 1989 in regards to the lack of accountability consideration of a social worker. This legislation, therefore, encompass a strong partnership among entities and agencies which as well include the social workers to promote an all-inclusive children welfare (Erozkan, 2016). Most importantly, the strength of this particular legislation is that the each organization working toward children welfare is accountable for any incidence of an atrocious offense or crime. In Fred’s case, abiding by this bylaw could have encouraged or stimulated the social agencies within the region to notify the incidence to judicial authorities or the police to take care of the toddler in the care units. It is, however, important to note that one of the weaknesses of this legislation is that not like the Children Act 2004, it does not put into considerations the preferences and opinions of the children who have attained the cognitive development phase with the ability to speak. In a scenario of child abuse, the statements of the children are deemed most important as it is alleged the children cannot lie about an incident and, therefore, present the fact or truth. Nevertheless, according to Roche and Tucker (2007), the legislation can face criticism on the ground that it doesn’t consider children’s right of expression, for example, views and opinions.

The third law which is also essential for the children abuses incidences is the Children and Social Work Act 2017. Apparently, this law is alleged to have received a Royal Assent on 2017, April 27. It supports children in care, regulates the social work profession, and safeguards the children. Additionally, it allows the caregivers and parents to be careful with their care processes since inappropriate or improper care activities can land them in jail. The law gives the local safeguarding children boards the duty to arrange for the safeguarding of the children through collaborating with the police, local authorities, and clinical commissioning groups (Ferguson, 2016). One of the duties of the local safeguarding authorities is to identify staid child safeguarding incidences that can potentially result in a fatal event if not investigated or reviewed effectively. In Fred’s case, the local safeguarding authority could not detect the atrocious crime which was being committed behind doors.  Due to their poor regulation, Fred Wilson had to die at a tender age of just two years. One of the strengths of this law is that it contains a nationwide Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel which has an aim of identifying some of the staid child protection incidences which are of national reputation (Hosier, 2017). The panel has got a responsibility of reviewing the cases after which prepare a report on the lessons learnt by the local authorities so that they work jointly to safeguard and protect the children more effectively. On the other hand, one of the Weaknesses of this legislation is its lack of clear provision in regards to the responsibilities and roles of the social workers. The social workers usually face constraints on registering some cases.


In conclusion, it is important to acknowledge the fact that Fred’s case on child abuse is extremely a sad case as it resulted in death. The prevalence or dominance of children abuse is very high in the UK with its causes critically linked to domestic abuse, substance abuse, and socio-economic environment of the family. In Fred’s case, domestic abuse is appropriate to his mother and Monica because they needed to enter into civil partnership and it was only through getting rid of the child they could enter the civil partnership. This besought the duo to take part in the heinous offense. Notably, this paper identifies two theories including social learning theory and attachment theory to be appropriate to the case of child abuse regarding Fred, Julia, and Monica. The approaches have forked out the incidences of parent and child relationship or association which is significant for the emotional as well as personal development and as well reduction of child abuse incidences. Bearing in mind the incidence of child abuse, the utilitarianism ethical code or principle played a critical role in helping to understand and comprehend the cases as well ascauses of child abuse. As a result of child abuse, the United Kingdom regime has undertaken parliamentary measures to shun or combat child abuse cases. The three laws which aid in preventing child abuse in UK include the Children and Social Work Act 2017, the Children Act 2004, and the Children Act 1989. 


AL, and FR, (2000) 'Ethical implications of domestic violence against child for the health care professionals', National Institutes of Health, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 659-665.

Denholm, R., Power, C., Thomas, C. and Li, L. (2013) 'Child Maltreatment and Household Dysfunction in a British Birth Cohort', Child Abuse Review, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 340-353.

Erozkan, A. (2016) 'The Link between Types of Attachment and Childhood Trauma', Universal Journal of Educational Research, vol. 4, no. 5, pp. 1071-1079.

Ferguson, H. (2016) 'How Children Become Invisible in Child Protection Work: Findings from Research into Day-to-Day Social Work Practice', British Journal of Social Work, p. bcw065.

Health24 (2011) What causes child abuse?, [Online], Available: [17 May 2018].

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Loughran, G. (2008) 'Learning to act: The Children Act 1989', Children & Society, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 11-20.

Morris, J. (1999) 'Disabled children, child protection systems and the Children Act 1989', Child Abuse Review, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 91-108.

NSPCC (2018) Child protection in England, [Online], Available: [17 May 2018].

Nspcc (2018) Facts and statistics, [Online], Available: [17 May 2018].

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Radford, , Corral, , Bradley, , Fisher, , Bassett, , Howat, and Collishaw, (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today, [Online], Available: [17 May 2018].

RICHES, P. (2008) 'The new Children Act: an overview', Children & Society, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 3-10.

Roche, J. and Tucker, S.A. (2007) 'Every Child Matters: ‘tinkering’ or ‘reforming’—an analysis of the development of the Children Act (2004) from an educational perspective', Education 3-13, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 213-233.

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