Post-pandemic landscape gives an opportunity to tackle child safeguarding in UK


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Europe UK (Commonwealth Union) –  An immediate remodeling effort for protecting vulnerable children in the UK has been called for according to a report from the King’s College London.

This Follows the national review investigating the deaths of 2 children who were Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson. Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died at the age of 6 after being tortured, poisoned with salt and malnourished in an abusive household. Star Hobson was murdered at just 16 months by her mother’s partner and according to her relatives had several visible signs of abuse prior to being murdered.

The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, both published in 2022, saw new evidence from King’s College London indicating the way vulnerable children were less visible during the pandemic as a result of being hidden from the professional gaze and spent more time for identification and referral for child protection issues.

Children were also put at more risk as a result of a rise in parental stress, redirection of healthcare services, disrupted education, and mental ill-health.

From the new insights from the findings in their report, and with greater pressures due to the cost-of-living crisis, King’s researchers have put forward crucial actions to change the existing system in what they described as a ‘once-only opportunity’ for the government to rebalance safeguarding practice and prevent a ‘crisis-driven approach’ to child protection.

Suggestions were made by the researchers for increased cohesive government oversight, clear leadership, streamlined funding, shared outcome measures, strong local systems and accountability. They further backed the call for a new Ministerial group or National Reform Board to supervise actions in reforming the child protection system.

“If we hope to achieve an effective child protection system that makes a measurable difference, we need to act now – especially as the cost-of-living crisis is likely to exacerbate the situation,” said Dr Jenny Driscoll.


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