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Friday, 25 April 2014

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400 call NSPCC with concerns about children's safety

More than 400 people contacted the NSPCC demanding immediate action over a child’s safety.

Details of the figures were released when the children’s society said 407 people in Cumbria and the north east had reported concerns in the past six months.

Of those, more than a quarter – 27 per cent – waited at least a month before picking up the phone – and 28 per cent had waited six months before calling.

The “Don’t wait until you’re certain” campaign was launched yesterday, urging the public to call as soon as they had any doubts over a child’s safety.

The campaign comes after the NSPCC doubled the size of its operations in Cumbria in the past six months to help child sex victims.

The county is now one of 18 areas across the UK where additional NSPCC practitioners will work with children who have been sexually abused.

Iain McKay, the NSPCC’s service manager for Cumbria, said the number of full-time therapists in Cumbria would rise from three to six.

“The number of children aged under 10 who are seeking treatment has risen steeply over the last year.

“The Ministry of Justice released statistics saying there had been a 60 per cent increase in convictions for sexual abuse over the last year, but the reality is that there are very few who come forward, and many more cases which never make it to court.”

He said the team would be based in Carlisle but help children across the county, from Barrow to Whitehaven.

The NSPCC said that recent research revealed that one in 20 secondary schoolchildren had been sexually abused.

Last year, a record 45,000 people across the UK contacted the NSPCC worried about a child’s general safety.

A caller from the Cumbria region contacted the helpline after several weeks and said they were worried about their grandchildren.

“The older child told me he had been hit by his dad and saw his parents fighting,” they said.

“The mother had a black eye. There’s a new baby in the house and they’re just not coping at all.”

Anyone who has concerns about a child or wants advice can contact the NSPCC for free 24 hours a day, by calling 0808 800 5000, emailing help@nspcc.org.uk, texting 88858 or using an online reporting form.

They can choose to remain anonymous.


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