The government will set up a review body to examine child deaths to identify ways to prevent similar tragedies, an official said yesterday. Establishing such a body was suggested by experts three years ago. The Health, Welfare and Food Bureau told yesterday's meeting of the Legislative Council's welfare panel that a two-year trial of the body would be set up under the Social Welfare Department. All cases of children under 18 who died of 'unnatural causes' during the 18 months before the project start date will be examined. It would start by the end of the year or early next year and examine issues relating to a child's death and identify ways to avoid tragedies. Freely Cheng Kei, principal assistant secretary for health, welfare and food (family), said the review panel also would identify trends to develop prevention strategies. 'We will find trends and distributions and give suggestions to departments and policy bureaus,' said Mr Cheng, adding the body's performance would be reviewed at the end of the two years. The panel would not seek to identify causes of death or attribute responsibility to individuals. Also, the review would be conducted only on completion of criminal investigations and the judicial process. The setting up of a review panel on child deaths was suggested in 2004 by domestic violence experts after twin sisters were chopped to death with their mainland migrant mother by their father in their Tin Shui Wai flat. Review mechanisms on children's deaths are in place in Australia, Canada, the US and Britain. Members of the review panel, comprised of professionals and laymen from different disciplines, will be appointed by the director of social welfare, with secretariat support from the Social Welfare Department. Investigations would be based on reviews of reports, recommendations of inquests and a case summary prepared by the secretariat. The panel also would conduct interviews with concerned parties when necessary. Billy Wong Wai-yuk, executive secretary of the Hong Kong Committee on Children's Rights, and some legislators accused the government of using the pilot programme as an excuse to delay various groups' long-time demand for the setting up of a children's commission. The critics said the review should fall under an independent body, not the Social Welfare Department. They also said the review should be conducted soon after the death, and also should look into cases of children suffering severe injuries.