Police highlight concerns over child abuse and neglect

Child abuse NSPCC

Bedfordshire Police have urged Bedfordians to be mindful of children who may be at risk of abuse and neglect during the coronavirus pandemic

With children no longer at school during the week, and many families isolating at home, police say many children and young people may be heightened risk of abuse and neglect.

School is often regarded as a safe place by children who are victims of abuse.

But, with the country in ‘lockdown’, they are no longer regularly interacting with trusted adults, such as teachers, social workers, grandparents, and neighbours.

Which reduces the chances that safeguarding issues will be reported.

Detective Superintendent Zara Brown, Head of the Public Protection Unit at Bedfordshire Police said: “Cases of child abuse and neglect are taken extremely seriously by our force.

“We are working closely with the local authorities and our partner agencies on the best ways we can keep children safe during this difficult time.

“With schools and activity centres closed and everyone staying at home, it’s becoming harder for people to spot the signs of abuse or neglect.

“This is why I want to encourage you to be our eyes and ears and if you see or hear something you don’t think is right.

“For example from neighbours in your street or through speaking with friends, then please report it, even if you’re not sure, as this could potentially save a child’s life.

The force also highlighted that children or young people who may need help, or are concerned about younger family members, still have support if they need it.

“Safeguarding is everyone’s business and now, more than ever, we all need to be doing our bit to keep children safe,” added Detective Superintendent Brown.

If you are worried or have any concerns about a child, whether that be a neighbour, relative or friend, please call us on 101 or you can report through Bedfordshire Police’s online reporting tool.

The NSPCC website also holds advice and guidance, particularly during this pandemic, or you can call them on 0808 800 5000, email help@nspcc.org.uk, or fill in the online form.

ChildLine also has information for any child or young person who is struggling with issues at home, or you can call 0800 1111.

You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Keep Local News Alive cont banner email

Now more than ever, we need your help to fund the Bedford Independent’s quality journalism that serves our community...

We choose to champion editorial independence, meaning we report the facts without bias and can stand up to those in power when we believe it’s needed.

We can give a voice to people in our community whose voices may otherwise not be heard. And we don’t have a paywall, so everyone can read the stories we publish for free.

But in this time of crisis, many news organisations all over the world are facing existential threat, with advertising revenues plummeting. We’re no different.

We work hard every day to bring you news, commentary, entertainment and announcements from across Bedford. We hope that, with your help, we’ll be able to continue this for many years to come.

Will you help sustain our work today by clicking below ? Even a small donation makes a difference for our future.

Thank you for your support.