Parliamentary event – preventing violence towards children
Wednesday 24 November 2010
CHILDREN 1ST is calling on the government and communities in Scotland to do far more to prevent child abuse.
The charity says that, despite the increased awareness of child abuse and attempts to tighten up on child protection procedures, there are still far too many children in every community in Scotland suffering from abuse and neglect every day.
Alison Todd, Director of Policy and Practice Development at CHILDREN 1ST, said: “In a time when we are all concerned about the financial climate, it is vital that we do not forget Scotland’s most vulnerable children. There will be real stress on families in the next few years, putting more children at risk of abuse and neglect. Budget cuts might also threaten the services families rely on and the support children get to recover from abuse and trauma. CHILDREN 1ST is urging the government and communities in Scotland, both national and local, to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of young children and to do more to prevent child abuse and neglect.”
The figures are shocking. For example:
- Over 3,500 children living in Scotland were at such serious risk of significant harm from neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse in 2009/10 that they were placed on the child protection register. However there are many more children suffering harm that never comes to the attention of the authorities.
- 4% (39,105) of all the children in Scotland were referred to the Children’s Reporter in 2009/10 because of concerns about their care and protection. This figure represents at least one child in every school class.
- Issues such as parental drug or alcohol misuse directly affect at least 1 in 7 children in Scotland, resulting in very unhappy, violent and harsh childhoods.
Anna O’Reilly, a Service Manager for CHILDREN 1ST, said: "We have helped many children who have suffered abusive and traumatic childhoods and their experiences will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Much can be done to help them cope but prevention and protection has to be the focus."
"In addition to support from the government, people within the community also have a huge and important role to play in protecting the children that they see or know. With their vigilance and co-operation we can reduce child abuse cases even further. It is important that members of the public realise that vulnerable children need them to look out for them and to take action if they are worried, whether it's contacting police or social work or talking through their concerns with ParentLine Scotland."
As part of planned activities in Scotland to recognise the 10th World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Jackie Baillie MSP will host an event in the Scottish Parliament on 24 November on behalf of CHILDREN 1ST. At this event CHILDREN 1ST will launch a new campaign to urge government to do more to prevent all forms of violence and abuse against children.
Jackie Baillie MSP, Shadow Minister for Health, said: "No one in Scotland can fail to be shocked at tragic cases of abuse or neglect affecting our most vulnerable children. Child safety and wellbeing must continue to be a priority for all of us, making sure that children get the help they need when they need it."
CHILDREN 1ST has played a key role in protecting Scotland’s children for many years, and I congratulate them on their important work.”
About the event at the Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament Event: World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse. Wednesday 24 November, 6pm to 7.30pm
- 6.10pm - Welcome and introduction from Jackie Baillie MSP
- 6.15pm - Film and examples about the views and experience of young people and families around preventing violence against children
- 6.30pm - Anne Houston, Chief Executive of CHILDREN 1ST – priorities to prevent violence against children
- 6.40pm - Open floor for discussion – what are participants’, including MSPs’, priorities for preventing violence against children
About CHILDREN 1ST
- CHILDREN 1ST is the working name of the Royal Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which for 125 years has been working to give every child in Scotland a safe and secure childhood. CHILDREN 1ST supports families under stress, protects children from harm and neglect, helps them recover from abuse and promotes children's rights and interests.
- CHILDREN 1ST provides local services across Scotland as well as national services including ParentLine Scotland (0808 800 2222), the free, national telephone helpline for parents and carers.
- Registered Scottish Charity No: SC 016092.
Last updated: Thursday 25 November 2010