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Public attitudes to child protection in Northern Ireland published


The key findings of a significant survey highlighting the public’s attitudes towards child protection were published today.

The survey, ‘Attitudes towards Child Protection in Northern Ireland’ was coordinated by the Regional Health and Social Care Board’s (HSCB) four Area Child Protection Committees (ACPCs) and the NSPCC.

The survey was commissioned following a number of recommendations in the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety’s (DHSSPS) ‘Regional Inspection of Child Protection in 2007’ to examine public confidence in relation to recognising signs of abuse and reporting concerns. The survey also looked at barriers to reporting concerns, identifying the main concerns of the public and parents relating to child safety. It obtained the views of parents and their experiences on issues including internet safety, physical punishment, bullying and child protection.

Key findings from the survey include:

Tony Rodgers, HSCB speaking on behalf of the four ACPCs Chairs explained: “As professionals working with children, prevention of abuse is key and this survey helps us to target our preventative work. We need to ensure that we help the public understand the real risks to children and deal with some of the myths around child abuse. We also need to inform the public about where to seek help when they are concerned about a child.

“We are pleased to note the widespread support for safe recruitment practices in community and voluntary groups highlighted in the report.” he said.

Commenting on the key findings of the survey, Martin Crummey NSPCC Northern Ireland director, said: “What is clear is that the community plays a vital role in recognising and responding to child protection concerns. Parents expect good child protection standards in the organisations their children attend.”

The key recommendations highlighted in the survey will be taken forward by the ACPCs. This will involve improving awareness and providing reassurance about the handling of child protection concerns. The ACPCs will also liaise with the Department of Education to ensure that key messages on bullying and keeping safe are distributed to parents.

Mr Rodgers concluded: “The issue of internet safety continues to be of particular importance and it is anticipated that a UK wide strategy will be available in the coming months. Relevant personnel in the North and South of Ireland are also continuing to work collaboratively and new guidance, on action to be taken where there are concerns for a child’s safety, is to be distributed in the New Year.”

A copy of the Executive Summary of the Report can be found on www.hscboard.hscni.net and NSPCC Inform at https://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/policyandpublicaffairs/NorthernIreland/northernireland_wda48642.html

If you suspect child abuse or have a concern about child protection there is now a single point of contact to the Gateway Team in each of the five Health and Social Care Trusts as follows:

or you can contact the NSPCC Communications Departments on 028 9035 5757 or 028 9035 5769.

Additional information for parents on topics such as bullying and internet safety is contained within the Safe Parenting Handbook which can be accessed through your local Trust.

Other useful telephone numbers:

Help for children and young people – Call ChildLine on 0800 1111

Help for adults – 0808 800 5000