Welfare

16.03.18

‘More to be done’ to build public confidence in reporting suspected child abuse

More than two in five adults who have worried about the welfare of a child have not reported their concerns, new research has revealed.

In a recent survey, over a quarter of adults said that they had been concerned about the welfare, neglect, or abuse of a child, but 42% of them did not inform somebody with child protection responsibilities.

In response to these findings, the government yesterday launched a new phase in a campaign to tackle child abuse and neglect.

The campaign sees the LGA, local councils, police forces, community organisations and the voluntary sector join forces to address the lack of confidence that the public has in reporting child abuse or neglect.

Of those who had taken action to address their concerns regarding the welfare of a child, just 16% had reported them to a professional.

The launch of the campaign will see a series of daily radio broadcasts featuring different voices discussing child protection, and today the children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi will round up the week of interviews by discussing the campaign and its aims.

It is hoped that the campaign will inform the public about the different types of child abuse and neglect, educate people on how to spot the signs, and reassure them on how the reporting process works, as well as supporting them through it.

Zahawi said: “Keeping children safe from harm is everyone’s responsibility. It is important people voice their concerns, no matter how small they think they are.

“I hope that through the launch of this campaign, we improve people’s confidence in spotting the signs of abuse or neglect, so that they feel empowered to report them.

“Any information passed on to professionals could be the difference between a child living a happy life, or facing the trauma of abuse or neglect.”

Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said: “We will always encourage people to refer any concerns about children to their local authority as soon as possible, so that the situation can be investigated, and support or immediate protection put in place where necessary.

Councils have a child referred to them every 49 seconds on a daily basis, but councils too often only hear about problems once they’ve become serious.”

Chief social worker, Isabelle Trowler, offered reassurance that the public do not have to be absolutely certain about their worries to raise a concern.

“Information is usually gathered from many sources, and any individual’s report would form one part of a bigger picture – but the public, especially parents, can provide vital information we can act on,” she explained.

Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s, added that keeping children safe from harm is everybody’s business.

“Children may not disclose their own abuse so it’s vital that adults – including parents, family members, carers and teachers – are vigilant and take action if they suspect a child may be being harmed,” he said, adding: “Don’t worry about being wrong; if you think a child might be in danger, please tell someone.”

Top image: Chameleonseye

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