NSPCC referrals rise in lockdown

Saturday July 11th 2020


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Kirstie Topp

A national child protection charity has made a 40 per cent increase in referrals to police and local authorities in Scotland during lockdown.

NSPCC Scotland has revealed that in April, May and June its helpline made a monthly average of 161 referrals compared to an average of 114 in the three months prior to lockdown.

Following Deputy First Minister John Swinney’s plans for young people to return to school fulltime in August, the NSPCC has urged the Scottish Government to ensure the recovery plan addresses the full range of children’s needs.

This includes ensuring schools are ready to help all children who need it, particularly those who may have suffered abuse, neglect or other traumatic experiences during the lockdown, and investing in children’s social care.

During the past three months, the helpline has heard from more than 22,000 adults across the UK concerned about the wellbeing of a child.

This is an increase of almost a third (32 per cnt) on the monthly average for the three months prior to lockdown, with May seeing 8,287 contacts – the highest number ever made to the adult helpline in a single month on record.

During lockdown, the main issues confronting NSPCC child safety experts were parental behaviour, physical and emotional abuse and neglect.

Around 40 per cent of the total contacts received were referred on to local authorities or the police for further action.

Commenting, Matt Forde, NSPCC Scotland head of service, said: “The increase in referrals from our helpline during the lockdown highlights how some families have been driven to crisis point and the home has become an increasingly unsafe place for some children.

“It is vital that children are now supported to help them recover from any mental and physical harm that many will have suffered these past few months.

“Government’s role is crucial, and it must put in place a detailed recovery plan that makes sure children and young people can receive the expert help they need if they have had difficult or damaging experiences.

“Putting children at the heart of recovery planning and taking this action quickly will mean the crisis of the last three months does not scar the childhoods of a whole generation.”

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