Rich families are using “privilege” to disrupt or avoid child abuse investigations, a report has found.
Goldsmith’s University found wealthy households were effectively “opting out” of the child protection system.
Social workers had uncovered cases of sexual exploitation and emotional abuse, but found children’s services were biased towards poorer families.
Professor Claudia Bernard, who led the study, said neglect cases in affluent areas often went “under the radar“.
Prof Bernard told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “People have these deep-set beliefs that this is happening in poor, dysfunctional families.”
In one case parents of a young girl disclosing sexual abuse complained to the council about the investigation.
Social workers were then rebuffed by school nurses who said there was no way the child’s “great mum” would ignore such abuse.
Teenagers in private fee-paying and boarding schools, often isolated from their parents, had complex safeguarding needs, the report found.
Often the issues only came to authorities’ attention when parents were dealing with an acrimonious separation and needed a child welfare report, the study said.
The study called for social workers to be trained to deal with affluent families.