Quasi 50,000 at-risk children 'dropped off radar' of social services

Quasi 50,000 at-risk children may have ‘dropped off the radarof social services during the pandemic

  • Number of new cases referred to children’s services departments fell by 45,220
  • The total dropped to 597,760 the lowest figure since records began in 2013
  • The DfE said the sharp reduction was driven by a fall in referrals from schools
  • Quasi 50,000 vulnerable children may have ‘dropped off the radar’ of social services during the pandemic.

    The number of new cases referred to children’s services departments fell by 45,220 – or 7 per cent – from 2019-20 per 2020-21.

    The total dropped to 597,760 for the year to March 2021, the lowest figure since records began in 2013.

    Al contrario, the total for 2018-19, prima della pandemia, era 650,930.

    The Department for Education said the sharp reduction was driven by a fall in referrals from schools, which were closed for most pupils during lockdown.

    Nella foto: Six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with father Thomas Hughes and Thomas' partner Emma Tustin

    Nella foto: Six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with father Thomas Hughes and Thomaspartner Emma Tustin

    Tim Loughton, a former children’s minister, said the pandemic had put vulnerable children such as Arthur Labinjo-Hughes at greater risk.

    ‘There was an increase in child abuse because of course they were off the radar,’ he told the Daily Telegraph.

    A former children’s commissioner also suggested the lockdown helped Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes carry out their reign of terror largely unchecked.

    Anne Longfield joined the detective who led the investigation into Arthur’s murder in pointing to the Government’s strict order for people to stay at home in March 2020 as a contributory factor.

    Ha detto al programma Today di BBC Radio 4: ‘The children, and this child in particular, Arthur, wasn’t in school. It’s much easier for families who want to evade view to do that when they haven’t got someone in the room.’

    Tim Loughton, a former children’s minister, said the pandemic had put vulnerable children such as Arthur Labinjo-Hughes at greater risk

    Tim Loughton, a former children’s minister, said the pandemic had put vulnerable children such as Arthur Labinjo-Hughes at greater risk

    She said in such circumstances ‘there are children who are going to slip from view’ and stressed the importance of face-to-face contact.

    Speaking after Tustin, 32, and Hughes, 29, were convicted, Detective Inspector Laura Harrison suggested it was likely Arthur would still be alive if it was not for lockdown.

    Hughes and Arthur had been staying in an annexe at his parents’ home in Solihull until they moved in with Tustin just before lockdown – three months before Arthur’s death in June 2020.

    Det Insp Harrison, della polizia delle Midlands occidentali, disse: ‘The lockdown meant professionals didn’t have the opportunity to monitor him in the same way they would do with children normally. I do think that lockdown contributed.’

    Nikki Holmes, a former West Midlands Police officer and founder of the Safer Together child protection consultancy, said the case showed how lockdown ‘ramped up the risk in some families’.

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