We’re highlighting the national partnership campaign message to respond to a potential increase in safeguarding and domestic abuse issues during lockdown.
Children and young people are usually seen by lots of different adults and professionals every day such as neighbours and teachers but essential lockdown means normal opportunities they would have to notice any problems or check on their wellbeing are reduced.
Where possible schools across Derbyshire have remained open and are continuing to teach vulnerable children identified as needing additional support as well as those of key workers.
Meanwhile we’re appealing for a community ‘say something if you see something’ approach to help keep children and young people at risk safe.
Our Cabinet Member for Young People Councillor Alex Dale said:
“Most children and young people across Derbyshire will be adapting well to the new situation and continuing to learn, play and exercise at home safely.
“But it is a stressful time for everyone with new challenges and worries which in some families may increase the risk of neglect and abuse - and at a time where there are fewer opportunities for the usual support networks such as friends, teachers, grandparents and neighbours to spot any warning signs.
“Spending much more time at home means some families may need extra support with parenting and I want to remind people we can all play a part in helping to keep children and young people safe by checking in with families where we can - it’s everyone’s job.
“While people are seeing less of each other there are still opportunities to spot signs of potential child abuse, such as when people are out exercising, in their gardens or shopping or arguments you may overhear.
“Saying something if we see something is one clear and simple way we can all help and we have our ‘Starting Point’ referral service making it as easy as possible for people to contact us with any concerns.”
Meanwhile, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls for help since lockdown and visits to its website are up 150% on the first week in February.
Councillor Dale added:
“Working with our police and community safety colleagues we are now more than ever keenly aware of the need to support people suffering domestic abuse including children who are victims themselves or who may witness it in their home.
“We’re working closely with our partnership agencies to reassure anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse that support is there to help them.”
Residents who are worried about a child can find support, advice and information about staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as how to report their concerns, plus find help to deal with domestic abuse.