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Abused Cornish Children 'Could Run Into Thousands'

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3:48pm 18th April 2013
(Updated 3:48pm 18th April 2013)

More than three and a half thousand children in Cornwall could be facing another day of abuse or neglect.

The council has put protection in place for more than four hundred youngsters in the Duchy.

But now the NSPCC has told Pirate FM it fears that is just a fraction of those in danger.

NSPCC regional head Sharon Copsey said: “Abuse and maltreatment can have a devastating effect on a child’s mental and physical health. Without support to overcome their early experiences, a child can be scarred for life.

“When we discover abuse we must do everything we can to protect children from further harm and help them recover. But child protection services are already working in overdrive, so we must prevent abuse from happening to so many children in the first place. By identifying and supporting vulnerable children and their families early we can stop abuse before it starts and set a new course to give children a brighter, happier future.

“We are working closely with statutory services and other partners in the South West to develop services that are based on some of the best models of child protection in the world.“

The charity is pledging to visit every school in the Duchy over the next three years to talk to pupils about staying safe and reporting abuse.

Bob Freshwater, ChildLine Schools Service area coordinator for Cornwall, said: “Research tells us that child abuse can remain hidden for many years with children suffering in silence and other children continuing to be at risk from perpetrators. Many children fail to recognise their experience as abusive and often do not know where they can go for help.

“We believe that by sensitively teaching children about how to recognise abuse and where to get help we can help stop child abuse before it starts and give children a safer, brighter future."

3:48pm 18th April 2013

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