Sajid Javid Expects Surge In Child Abuse Reporting
Former home secretary, Sajid Javid, expects surge in child abuse reporting due to COVID-19.
He says that the coronavirus has created a “perfect storm” for many children isolated with their abusers during lockdown and believes that this will contribute to a “surge” in cases.
It comes as the NSPCC reported that its helpline for adults has responded to more than 10,000 “child welfare contacts”, including calls and emails, since the start of the UK’s lockdown in March.
Concerns included emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and parental mental health issues.
A report by MP’s has revealed that the calls to national domestic abuse helplines rose by 49% during lockdown and the Home Office has said it was increasing funding to support help-lines and online services.
Mr Javid has previously stated the thing that “weighed the most heavily on him” during his time as home secretary in 2018 and 2019 was child sexual abuse and its “true scale”.
In 2018. Mr Javid commissioned a report on research into group-based child sexual exploitation and the government has announced that the paper will be published “later this year”
The paper on this review “will outline the insights gained” and will “focus on how agencies can learn lessons from the past to tackle group-based offending and safeguard vulnerable children”.
Mr Javid has now voiced his concerns stating that he is “particularly concerned” about lockdown because “children are left to isolate alongside their abuser and they will therefore suffer severe long-term damage and this kind of thing isn’t reflected in statistics just yet, but it will be, and I’m very concerned about that”.
Mr Javid said: “The surge in child sexual abuse happening right now won’t be reflected in statistics until later this year.”
The former-home secretary, during an interview with BBC Radio 4s Today programme, said that he will lead a new “no holds barred” inquiry into child sex abuse in the UK with the Centre for Social Justice think tank.
The inquiry will examine organised child sexual exploitation and the abuse of children online.
The investigation into will look at organised child sexual exploitation, including gangs and on-street grooming and how child sexual abuse “happens today”, with a focus on online abuse and live streaming.
The Chief executive of the Centre for Social Justice think tank, Andy Cook, said it was “highly courageous” of Mr Javid to “speak out on the issue, which has been difficult to confront and too often neglected”.
The chief executive of Barnados, Mr Javed Khan said the charity had “consistently warned” that the coronavirus lockdown was “putting children at increased risk of sexual abuse and exploitation” and so the investigation was “very welcome”.
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