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England’s children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, has warned that vulnerable children requiring urgent support will ‘slip out of view’ due to the impact of COVID-19, and has subsequently called for more investment into youth work.

It is currently estimated that two million children in England live in homes which are impacted by substance misuse, domestic violence and mental health issues, all contributing factors to adverse childhood experiences.

Longfield described how there are normally “spikes in referrals to social services” following the six-weeks holidays. Longfield then went onto highlight that after six months in lockdown, significant increases in the number of concerns raised by schools regarding vulnerable children is to be expected. Longfield also raised concerns of there being “a generation of very vulnerable teens that we let just slip out of view at this time with terrible long-term consequences”. She called for further resources to assist youth workers in engaging with young people who may be at risk of being targeted by gangs.

Schools are therefore being encouraged to continue identifying and reporting signs of abuse as usual. According to NSPCC, the signs of abuse include:-

  • Aggressive or repeated shouting;
  • Hearing hitting or things being broken;
  • Children crying for long periods of time;
  • Very young children being left alone or outdoors by themselves;
  • Children looking dirty or not changing their clothes;
  • Children being withdrawn or anxious.

If you have concerns about a vulnerable party being abused, our experienced Abuse team are here to help. Headed by Natalie Marrison, our Abuse team are able to explore claims against public bodies who have breached their duty of care by failing to protect vulnerable parties, as well as claims through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. For a confidential discussion, contact our Abuse team today on 0113 887 1834. Alternatively, you can make an enquiry using our online enquiry form and we will be in touch when it is convenient for you.