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Ofsted warns of abuse of disabled children

Disabled children in England need better protection against neglect or abuse, a new report from Ofsted suggests.

Research found that children with a disability are more likely to be victims of abuse, but less likely to have a child-protection plan in place to safeguard them against this.

Ofsted surveyed cases in 12 local authorities, 173 of which involved disabled children. The report suggests that problems are not always recognised or dealt with quickly enough, and in some cases the focus is on helping parents rather than protecting the children.

Parents don’t always recognise the help that children need, it added. Cases included children missing school and medical appointments, living in poor conditions, receiving an inadequate diet or not receiving assistance available for health problems.

This poor care could result in neglect, Ofsted warned.

Ofsted’s deputy chief inspector, John Goldup, said: “Inspectors saw some fantastic examples of good early multi-agency support for children and their families.

“But in some cases the focus on support for parents and their children seemed to obscure the child's need for protection.

“The report highlights the need for greater awareness among all agencies of the potential child-protection needs of disabled children, for better and more co-ordinated assessments, and for more effective monitoring by local safeguarding-children's boards.

“We cannot accept a lower standard of care and protection for disabled children than we expect for all our children.”

David Simmonds, chairman of the Local Government Association's Children and Young People Board, said: “Of course, no child should remain in an unsafe environment. However, in cases where the situation is not clear-cut, social workers face incredibly tough decisions.

“Clearly there is more work to be done to make sure there is common understanding and effective communication between local partners so that all children are kept safe from harm.”

To view the report, visit:

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