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Supporting Sudden Death In Children & Young Adults
Ceri Hughes

Ceri has been a police officer with South Wales for 15 years and for the past 4 years have been a Detective Chief Inspector within the Specialist Crime Investigations department with responsibility for the Eastern and Northern areas of the force.

This role involves leading serious and complex investigations and managing various teams of police officers and staff. Ceri has been involved in criminal investigations for most of her police service; she has lead a number of high profile complex cases and murder investigations. She has investigated a number of sudden deaths of children and young people, both on behalf of the coroner and some unfortunately criminal investigations.

Since 2012 Ceri has been the force child death investigation lead and as such represents Wales on the National Child Death Investigation group which is a subgroup of the Homicide Working Group. Within the group she leads a research subgroup and is part of a small team that organises the child death symposium that is hosted annually. The aim is to share best practice and to enhance the standard of child death investigation across the UK, putting bereaved families and the child at the heart of such investigations recognising that each tragic case deserves an entirely professional response. 

The research group which Ceri leads has forged links with various academic institutions such as the University of Wales, Cardiff, the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Huddersfield to identify research topics that would benefit child death investigation and to influence the research topics undertaken by students. Currently a research project has been commissioned which Ceri is actively engaged in which is seeking to identify the cognitive and emotional factors that affect decision making be officers involved in child death investigations, particularly those involving the suspicious death of a child. It is hoped that the findings can be used to help develop an appropriate protective framework of interventions for those investigating suspicious child deaths. This all Wales role requires Ceri to liaise with the other Wales forces in addition to her own in order to ensure that standards of investigation in these tragic cases are as professional as possible.

The work of 2 Wish Upon A Star in supporting bereaved families is vital when families are trying to deal with the tragedy of losing a child. Ceri has been involved in a number of such tragic cases where children have died after periods of ill health, when children have died suddenly and some rare occasions when children have died in suspicious circumstances and a crime is suspected.

Each case is a tragedy and there is such a clear and major need for families to be supported when bereaved by the death of a child or young person. In various roles in South Wales Police, Ceri has worked with families bereaved by the death of a child and has also supported friends and colleagues bereaved by the death of children. Ceri has completed sponsored events to raise money for Dreams and Wishes charity following the death of a colleague and friend’s son, who was a trustee of the charity prior to his death.

In December 2015 Ceri was fortunate to be accepted as a trustee of 2 Wish Upon A Star with a view to being able to contribute her knowledge of investigations when a child or young person has died, both in non suspicious circumstances when the police work on behalf of the coroner in investigating, and also the rare occasions when a crime is suspected to have occurred.

She has a detailed knowledge of the aspects of such investigations and why unfortunately such investigations are often protracted. Ceri’s awareness of and contacts in the National Child Death Investigation working group will also be of benefit as will her contacts within South Wales Police and other police forces.

Ceri is a motivated and passionate individual committed to doing all she can to ensure that the response of South Wales Police and also nationally in investigating the death of a child or young person is totally professional and compassionate and that bereaved families are treated with the upmost dignity and respect at the worst time in their lives. Police forces working with 2 Wish Upon A Star will help ensure that the appropriate level of support is provided to families when they need it most and the resources that the charity offers ensures that the most appropriate persons provide that support and assistance. Close working between the different agencies involved with families touched by the bereavement of a child is imperative and 2 Wish Upon A Star is one such partner which Ceri is honoured to work closely with in helping to improve bereavement services in Wales.

Ceri Hughes

ceri.hughes1@south-wales.pnn.police.uk

02920 338405

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