Record numbers contact NSPCC during lockdown
The NSPCC has recently reported that in April, May and June there were more than 22,000 contacts to their helpline from adults with concerns for the wellbeing of a child.
This is an increase of almost a third (32%) on the monthly average for the three months prior to lockdown. The charity received 8,287 contacts in May – the highest number made to the NSPCC helpline in a single month on record.
The main concerns people raised with staff manning the helpline were about parental behaviour, physical and emotional abuse and neglect during lockdown against children.
Around 40% of these initial contacts were then referred to local authorities or the police for further action, which is also a slight increase on pre-lockdown levels.
The NSPCC says that these figures back up the findings of a research report it recently released – Social Isolation and the risk of child maltreatment in lockdown and beyond – which underlines how the risk of abuse and neglect can be raised by:
- increasing parental and family stress
- reductions in protective services
- intensification of pressures on children’s emotional wellbeing caused by lockdown.
The NSPCC is calling on the government to urgently commit to a children’s recovery plan which sets out how they will:
- deliver the long-term investment in children’s social care that is needed to provide high quality preventative and therapeutic services for children in every part of the country
- invest in rebuilding support for families with babies and young children who have missed out on the normal support from health visitors during the lockdown
- support multi-agency partnerships of the local authority, NHS and police to work with schools to review support for children known to the designated safeguarding lead, and identify those who continue to miss class with a plan to understand and address any barriers to a child’s school attendance
- ensure 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
- support the NHS, including through the provision of additional investment, to develop a coordinated plan to respond to what is likely to be an increase in referrals into Children and Mental Health Services (CAMHS) arising from the coronavirus crisis.
To access a copy of the NSPCC’s recent report on the consequences for children of social isolation, click here.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Suffolk.