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Fears for children at risk of abuse and neglect

Fears for children at risk of abuse and neglect

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:19am 26th March 2020.

There are fears the coronavirus crisis could have an effect on children at risk of abuse and neglect across Cornwall and the south west.

The NSPCC is calling for more government support to make sure youngsters are safe in their homes.

The charity says it is so local authorities, the NHS, police and schools can make sure no child 'falls through the gaps'.

People are being urged to all play their part by checking in with families and reaching out for support. 

“The entire way we think about child protection has changed in a matter of days and it is encouraging how the government has recognised the effects this crisis could have on children at risk of abuse and neglect.

"It’s now important schools have the guidance they need to safely look after children at this difficult time, including on how social-distancing is implemented. 

“To also ensure all children at home are safe, government must support local authorities, NHS and the police to work with schools and teachers in new ways to ensure no child falls through the gaps.

"We can all play our part in this as well by checking in with families however we can and reaching out for support and advice if we have any concerns for a child’s wellbeing.”

Kevin West from the NSPCC’s Schools Service in the South West

Children or young people with a worry or a concern can contact Childline for free via childline.org.uk or 0800 1111. 

domestic abuse violence

It comes as a rise in domestic abuse incidents during the coronavirus outbreak is reported by police.

Baroness Beverley Hughes, Greater Manchester's deputy mayor for policing and crime, said authorities were preparing for serious incidents after the government announced a three-week lockdown.

"I think we are beginning to see a rise in domestic abuse incidents.

"We anticipated this might happen in the very stressful circumstances for many families."

Baroness Beverley Hughes

She later said the overall level of domestic abuse cases was as expected, but that officers were classifying incidents believed to have a connection to the virus.

Baroness Hughes added that families were being asked to stay at home and that many had significantly less money, or no income, after tougher measures were put in place.

"The potential for tension to arise in the home as a result of what we are asking people to cope with, in order to suppress the virus, is going to increase and therefore we would be right to think this might display itself in an increase in the number of domestic incidents we are called to.

"We are preparing for that.

"Some of those most serious incidents will be challenging to deal with, particularly if the victim needs to be moved to a refuge, but the police specialise in these kind of cases and the local partners, local authorities, they're working together really closely to prepare for that."

Baroness Beverley Hughes

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