The introduction of a compulsory annual visit by a health visitor or trained advocate is suggested to ensure that the most at-risk children (about 68 per cent of cases involved children from birth to four) can express concerns to a professional.
No, it’s not scaremongering or thought provoking posting from a home ed related blog trying to persuade mainstream parents that they too are in the spotlight. It’s the conclusion of this article in the independent
It’s difficult to argue against measures designed to protect children, as all of us want children to be safe from this type of harm. But let’s take a look at some other comments within the article before we rush to open our doors to the health professionals.
Lynn Ferguson, the investigative reporter who led the research, said: “It is simply a scandal that we have a situation where the vast majority of these children are being killed despite the presence of very clear warning signals, in particular with domestic violence. There are 300,000 children in this country who live with serious domestic violence in their home and they are being allowed to slip through the net, despite the fact that it has been recognised as a significant risk factor for many years.
“Our social work system is so over-stretched that risk assessments of children in these situations are simply not carried out. We don’t need a full protection plan in all these cases but there is clearly a need for better monitoring.”
Yes, it is a scandal.
It is a scandal that we have systems in place to protect children and we don’t have enough staff to carry them out.
It’s a scandal that children are exposed to known violent offenders or left in dangerous situations while the professionals who are tasked with keeping them safe are swamped in paperwork instead.
But I fail to see how adding all under fives and all home educated children to the list of children to check out is going to improve things. How is one visit from a HV going to save a child being abused – how many visits did Baby Peter have?
What we need is more social workers.
More police officers who actually pass concerns along instead of closing the file.
GPs who look at the child in front of them instead of their notes, watch or computer screen.
A&E who raise concerns. It is annoying if you take your child to A&E with an accidental injury and your HV turns up a week later to check your story, but I’d even take that over the alternative – children who are taken to A&E time and again and nobody cares or notices until the last trip.
So no, visiting all under 5s so that they can disclose abuse is not going to get us anywhere. (Am intrigued as to how a non verbal child is going to disclose abuse anyway tbh, but there you go.)
Leaping at shadows blaming ppl who choose a different way of life will not help anyone, while putting more resources into helping children known and obviously at risk will.
Note, the article refers to a Channel 4 Dispatches program coming up this week. I’ll be watching that and may be back with further comment.