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Sudden Death and the Coroner

Booklet content © Victims Voice 2002                             Web design © Tim Finucane 2009

3. Deaths due to ‘accidents’


There are requirements for sudden deaths due to ‘accidents’ to be reported to a particular enforcing agency, which may undertake its own investigation. Most often these are deaths occurring at work and in major disasters and the enforcing agency is the Health and Safety Executive. The police may also be involved, post mortems required and inquests held. In a small number of cases, there may also be a Public Inquiry.


The death of a child or baby is reported in all the same circumstances that an adult’s death would be reported. Deaths of unknown cause include all suspected ‘cot death’ cases. A child’s death is always reported to the coroner if it is the result of an accident, at home or elsewhere, or if there is suspicion that someone may have harmed the child.


If a child has died in an accident, a police or coroner’s officer will visit the place where it happened and may take photographs and take away any equipment involved. It is normal practice after the death of a baby or child for the police to ask the Child Protection Team  if there is a history of child abuse in the family. The coroner and Child Protection Team realise this can be very distressing, but it is vitally important that the check is done because other children may be at risk.







3     Members include police officers and social workers.




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