Goldsmiths University has found that wealthy families are using “privilege” to avoid being investigated for child abuse.

The study led by Professor Claudia Bernard and commissioned by The City of London Corporation has said that, “neglect cases in affluent areas often went under the radar.”

“People have these deep-set beliefs that this is happening in poor, dysfunctional families.”

Social workers from 12 local authorities were interviewed as part of the study. The response from social workers was “frustration” in the way they were treated by wealthy families. They felt that families “belittled” them by making complaints and refusing to deal with them and only co-operating with managers.

One social worker said:

“They’ll get on to their local councillor, someone who they go hunting or shooting with or play golf with. They know people in high places and they threaten you with people as well.”

In one case a young girl disclosed the sexual abuse she was suffering and her parents complained to the Council about the investigation. Social workers were also “rebuffed” by school nurses who told them that, “there was no way the child’s great mum would ignore such abuse.”

The report found that teenagers in private fee paying schools were often isolated from their parents and their needs only ever came to light if their parents separated and a child welfare report was required.

The study has revealed that social workers need training to deal with affluent parents. The City of London Corporation has confirmed that they will adopt the findings of the study into their new service development plan.


Jordans Solicitors has a child abuse department which represents victims who have suffered abuse as children. If you would like help pursuing a claim, please make contact with us by email, telephone on our Freephone number 033 03001 103 or by completing a request a call back form.


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