Eyes wide open approach encouraged for children at risk

Thursday June 28th 2018

Eyes Wide Open

In the week that Midlothian schools sound the end of term bell, child protection committees across Scotland are encouraging the public across the whole country to be extra observant to help protect potentially vulnerable children when schools are out for summer.

Child Protection Committees Scotland, a nation-wide grouping of child protection professionals, hopes their Eyes Open campaign will raise awareness that members of the public can play an important role to keep children safe from harm in the holidays. The group believes that everyone is responsible for child welfare in Scotland.

East Lothian and Midlothian Public Protection Committee Chair Anne Neilson says: “Midlothian children are about to be away from the usual school routine for a few weeks. For most local children this is a time of year filled with fun and free time, but for some families the summer holidays is a time of increased stress and pressure. In some cases, children are not supervised or cared for adequately, others might even experience serious neglect.”

By taking an Eyes Open approach, the Midlothian and East Lothian Public Protection Committee hope that members of the public will take an active role when it comes to protecting children in the area, and take action if they’re concerned for a child’s wellbeing. Anne Neilson is clear that each and every one of us has a role to play in keeping our young people safe.

Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Jim Muirhead said:

“By keeping our eyes open and our other senses tuned in, we might spot the telltale signs that a child is at risk. If something doesn’t’t seem quite right for a child, or a family of children, it’s better to say something than do nothing.”

Not only does the campaign support a public Eyes Open approach, it also encourages us to speak up instead of staying silent. Anyone who has concerns about a child or children can ask the child if they’re okay, offer the family some support, or contact Midlothian Council’s children’s services on 0131 271 6674 or the police on 101.

Child Protection Committees Scotland (CPCScotland) is a national grouping of professionals who work together to improve the protection of children in Scotland. Everyone in the group sits on one of Scotland’s 30 local child protection committees. People involved in our group come from diverse organisations including social work, health, education, the police, children’s charities, housing associations and the emergency services.

Children themselves have told CPCScotland that “it’s everyone’s job to make sure I’m all right”, and an important part of CPCScotland’s remit is to raise public awareness of what child protection actually is. When CPCScotland talks about child protection they mean helping to keep children safe from abuse, neglect, exploitation, harm and anything else that puts them at risk.

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