Fight against Child Abuse

Article excerpt

Shocked health chiefs and children's charity workers are appealing to the public to help to crack down on child abuse.

Hundreds of youngsters are being neglected by parents in the North East and police and local authorities want to put a stop to it.

Figures by the NSPCC show that each week, 600 children are added to the child protection registers.

As reported in the Chronicle, a Tyneside couple were this week jailed for four months for forcing their children to live in squalor.

Police officers said the condition of the house in Fenham, Newcastle, was the worst they had ever seen, after three children, aged four, 12 and 16, were left frightened, unkempt and undernourished in the house full of filth.

A police spokesman said: "The magistrates felt it appropriate to impose the prison sentences because of the particularly squalid and harrowing conditions the children were exposed to."

Recent NSPCC research involving 2,869 18-24 year olds revealed that one in 10 had suffered abuse or neglect during childhood.

The report, carried out by BMRB International for the NSPCC FULL STOP Campaign, finds that more than nine out of 10 of these young people had a warm and loving family background, but significant minorities suffered abuse or neglect. A new website, the Newcastle Area Protection Committee, (APCP), is now online to provide information on protecting Newcastle's children from abuse and neglect.

Made up of representatives from social services, police, health, education, probation and other statutory and voluntary organisations who work with children, these organisations work together to protect children who may be at risk from abuse or neglect.

Coun John O'Shea, Cabinet Member for Social Services and Health, said child protection was the most important role of any council. "We take the health, happiness and welfare of Newcastle's children very seriously indeed," he said. "This new website makes it easy for people to find out more about child protection.

"Making sure that our children are safe is everyone's responsibility. As a community, we have a duty to care for our children and the public have a part to play. …