Lockdown impact on vulnerable children causing ‘major concern’

A report by the Scottish Government found there are a number of factors increasing risks for families.

Lockdown impact on vulnerable children causing ‘major concern’ Pixabay

Concerns have been raised about the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on Scotland’s most vulnerable children, with a report warning domestic abuse is on the rise.

The Scottish Government’s vulnerable children report, written earlier this month, said there are a number of factors increasing risks for vulnerable families.

It is a “major concern” this has not translated into more social work referrals, the report says.

The number of child protection orders granted in the last week of April was up 38% from last year to 52.

The report said: “Domestic abuse services continue to indicate an increase in abusive behaviour and this was a factor in around half of new child protection registrations in the last two weeks – a 14% increase on the proportion at the same time last year.

“However, agencies report that women and children are struggling to access services, particularly those that usually offer face-to-face provision.”

It said that in general young children are coping well with the lockdown, although there were some indications girls are feeling less well than boys.

The charity Childline reported children living in overcrowded households are particularly at risk of family conflict.

Children who had called the helpline from across the UK reported feeling “bored, exhausted, trapped with barely space to breathe”.

Responding to the report, Scottish Labour education spokesman Iain Gray said: “This report lays bare how every day of lockdown further damages the life chances of Scotland’s vulnerable children.

“Childcare hubs and children’s organisations have done a great job to try to support these children and their families but as lockdown eases we need to see robust and urgent action from the Scottish Government to try and recover some of the detriment they have suffered.

“That will include additional educational and financial support for families, and providing the resources local councils will need for local services.”

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