NSPCC to call for overhaul of child protection system
The head of the NSPCC is to urge the Government to overhaul the child protection system in the UK, warning that “we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the impact of the pandemic on children.
Chief executive Sir Peter Wanless is expected to give the stark warning as part of his keynote speech to the charity’s flagship conference, How Safe 2022, on Wednesday.
He will say that child protection “must be a priority” for the Government.
“We want to see governments take the action required to build a better child protection system.
“One that seeks to prevent abuse and neglect and where it responds in an effective and joined-up way, giving survivors of abuse the support they need to recover.
“Babies, children and young people should be at the heart of decision making, their perspectives appreciated and respected at every level, including around the Cabinet table.”
With The Care Review, National Safeguarding Panel Review and the final Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse report all due to be released in the summer and autumn, Sir Peter is expected to say that this year represents a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to improve child protection in the UK.
“This year we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make the UK a society that prevents cruelty to children and to influence the design of a care system that better protects and develops young people most in need of support.
“To have three major reviews all reporting back on issues around the safety and wellbeing of children gives us a unique opportunity to push child protection right up the agenda.”
He is to call for a fully functioning, joined-up, preventative child protection system with better funding.
Sir Peter will add: “I fear that without careful attention, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact of the pandemic on children.
“We were told about the impact of isolation, dislocated relationships and missed opportunities to develop.
“We heard of fears that the increase in stressors to parents and caregivers, the increase in children and young people’s vulnerability and the reduction in normal protective services would lead to an increased risk of abuse.”
The NSPCC’s helpline received more than 150,000 contacts during the pandemic, more than 65,000 of which were serious enough to require referral to external agencies.
Sir Peter will also emphasise the effect of “economic turbulence” caused by the cost-of-living crisis on children.
“Economic turbulence is making it harder for families to manage and there is mounting evidence this is putting parents under enormous strain, it is putting children at risk, and services, however brilliant, are struggling to respond.
“We know more now than we ever did about how poverty can affect children’s wellbeing and safety.
“We will never be successful in our mission to prevent cruelty to children without tackling inequality and ensuring that families have enough money in their pockets to live with dignity.”Published: by Radio NewsHub