Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children’s Partnership on alert for increase in child abuse and neglect
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Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children’s Partnership, led by Police, Health and Northamptonshire Council Council, work together to maximise the safety and welfare of children in the county. Fears have been raised that restrictions placed on people’s freedom to stop the spread of coronavirus could mean an increase in child abuse and neglect. The NSCP want to reassure the public it’s business as usual for the specialist teams working together to safeguard the county’s young people.
Reports of child abuse and exploitation are often uncovered by schools or community groups but with these being temporarily closed, police are appealing for the public to be particularly vigilant and to report any concerns so officers can act quickly to safeguard children and arrest offenders.
Detective Superintendent Rich Tompkins, Head of Public Protection said:
“Obviously we fully support the ‘stay at home’ measures taken by the government to control the spread of covid-19 but are also cognisant of the fact that, for young people, the restrictions could mean they are sadly more vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
"I also want to reassure the public that we are taking this issue more seriously than ever and are working alongside our partners in health and social services to ensure a quick response to any reports a child is at risk. I’d also like to take this opportunity to warn anybody who thinks this is the time to exploit children – you can expect a knock at your door with a warrant for your arrest.
“We’ve already spoken about our fears domestic abuse could rise, as has been the case in both Italy and China, and we now need everybody in the safeguarding world to be professionally curious. But we also need our communities to act on a responsible manner, to support one another and to ensure any suspicions about the exploitation or neglect of a child are reported immediately. It's more important now than ever to act if you have any suspicions that a young person is at risk.”
Cathi Hadley, the Director of Children Services at Northamptonshire County Council, said:
“These are stressful times for all of us all but I can reassure the public that it’s business as usual for our multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) which is functioning as usual to protect and safeguard the vulnerable.
“We have a dedicated team of child protection professionals ready to deal with any concerns about the welfare of a child. The MASH team identify risks to children at the earliest possible point and respond with the most effective, joined up actions. The aim of the MASH is to make the right decisions for the right families at the right time."
David Goosey, the Independent Scrutineer, added: "I am the newly appointed Interim Independent Scrutineer for Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Partnership. My role is to consider how effectively safeguarding arrangements are working for children and families as well as for practitioners, and how well the safeguarding partners are providing strong leadership. During the current covid-19 pandemic, the normal business of the safeguarding partnership has had to adjust along with all other organisations. I am satisfied that the contingency plans put in place by the statutory partners in Northamptonshire are appropriate to maintain continued vigilance to safeguard children and young people in the county."
Report concerns to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0300 126 1000.
If you have any concerns a child is in immediate danger, call 999.