Why child abuse victims deserve better legal protection during lockdown

More measures are needed to protect children from abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic, say the Barnardo's charity.More measures are needed to protect children from abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic, say the Barnardo's charity.
More measures are needed to protect children from abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic, say the Barnardo's charity.
From: Steve Oversby, Director of Barnardo’s North Region.

AS the UK’s largest children’s charity, we believe that the risks to children from domestic abuse have been heightened by the coronavirus lockdown, with victims getting little or no respite from their abusers.

The impact of Covid-19 makes it even more important that the Domestic Abuse Bill – which had its Second Reading in the House of Commons last week – is strengthened to protect all victims including children, who are often the forgotten victims of domestic abuse.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Since the lockdown was announced on March 23, calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline are up by 49 per cent and domestic abuse killings are thought to have more than doubled. And when asked about the effects of the lockdown on the families they support, more than half of Barnardo’s frontline staff say they are concerned about an increase in family conflict and stress.

The prolonged closure of schools is being blamed for a rise in child abuse allegations, say charity campaigners.The prolonged closure of schools is being blamed for a rise in child abuse allegations, say charity campaigners.
The prolonged closure of schools is being blamed for a rise in child abuse allegations, say charity campaigners. | Northcliffe Media Ltd.

During the lockdown, children are hidden from the view of professionals like teachers and health visitors, who would usually be able to report any concerns. We know a maximum of just five per cent of children known to be vulnerable are attending school.

The Bill introduces a new duty on local authorities to provide support for victims in refuges. While we welcome this support, the Bill does not go far enough, and risks creating a two tier system, with the majority of victims who remain in the family home not qualifying for this protection, and potentially receiving less support as a result.

With the majority of victims remaining in the family home, especially in BAME communities, it is vital that Parliament extends this duty to cover all victims and children – no matter where they live.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We need the Government to ensure the Bill includes a statutory duty on public authorities to provide support to all victims, including children, affected by domestic abuse.

Should Boris Johnson set out a public inquiry into his government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic?Should Boris Johnson set out a public inquiry into his government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Should Boris Johnson set out a public inquiry into his government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Sadly, without the right support, children who experience domestic abuse are at risk of becoming trapped in a life-long cycle of violence. By strengthening the Bill, we can make sure these children have the best possible chance of a positive future.

From: Olivier Sykes, Liverpool.

WASN’T the fantasy of ‘Brexit’ sold as a way to get rid of bureaucracy? So why did it emerge that up to 50,000 people will have to be recruited to carry out customs paperwork under the Government’s preferred trade deal with the EU?

And what a shameful waste of public money, especially at a time like this. To paraphrase the quote on a red bus which did the rounds before the EU referendum in 2016: “Let’s fund our NHS instead!”

From: John G Davies, Alma Terrace, East Morton, Keighley.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

IT is a sad state of affairs when Professor Neil Ferguson, a world expert in epidemiology, is forced by press reports to resign from Sage for what amounts to a personal indiscretion. With the absence of Prof Ferguson from the committee considerably weakening its expertise, one has to wonder what obscurantist agenda these papers have.

From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.

IT must be very distressing for the families of those who have died from coronavirus to listen to the endless media scrutiny of whether or not the UK has had more deaths than other countries in Europe. We won’t have any reliable figures for many years as each country counts these numbers in a different way. To those grieving, none of these arguments matter one jot.

From: Peter Rickaby, Selby.

DO Government procurement officials never check what they are buying? A hundred thousand items of PPE flown from Turkey courtesy of the RAF now held up in a warehouse not to be put to use – why? The NHS deems the products not up to standard. Surely someone from the British Embassy in Turkey should have inspected before purchasing? What an utter waste of public money.

From: Barry Foster, High Stakesby, Whitby.

POLITICIANS of every party should be sticking together. We hear a barrage of negativity. Our Prime Minister and Health Secretary have suffered the virus.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

To compare now with the Second World War is a slur on those who lived, and fought, through it all from 1939-45 to give us the freedom we have. We should be on our knees to say thank you and pray for all those who have lost loved ones over the past weeks. We will come through it all.

From: Mr S Devanny, Bradford.

PERSONALLY, I think Piers Morgan is doing a good job at holding the Government to account. There has been so much misinformation given to the public from day one. The UK government was far from prepared. Looking back at previous outbreaks, all governments should have been prepared for a pandemic, yet it was not. Ministers are still playing catch up. They knew about Covid-19 last year.

From: J Hutchinson, York.

I SEE that the inquest into how the pandemic was handled has already started. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I believe that once we get over this difficult time, the majority of people will just want to get on with their lives and put it behind them. They will hope to have learned some lessons from the experience.

I doubt very much they will want an inquiry which will create jobs for the professional ‘committee people’, enabling them to drag it out for months on end.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected]. Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson, Editor

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.