Please see below a statement from the President of the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) Cymru, Nicola Stubbins, who has responded to the NSPCC report to BBC Wales News on increased numbers of child abuse referrals during the pandemic
Responding to the NSPCC report on increased numbers of child referrals during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicola Stubbins, President of the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) Cymru (Wales) said:
“The report by the NSPCC on the steep rise in the number of referrals from its helpline calls to police and social services is gravely disturbing, and echoes our own reporting on the increased pressure on local authorities’ children’s services over the last nine months, and the concerns we have raised around the impact on children’s wellbeing during the pandemic.
“Our recent evidence presentation to the National Assembly Health, Social Care and Sport Committee’s Inquiry into the Impact of COVID-19 on the Social Care Sector, highlighted that we are increasing our provision across children’s services to support children and young people, and to tackle child abuse, with even greater pressure being applied as a result of many other provisions that promote early intervention and prevent the escalation of need and risk being adjusted or stepped back as a result of covid-19 restrictions.
“Local authorities are continuing to work proactively with families, and agencies across Wales to do all that we can to safeguard children and young people during this crisis, yet it is clear from our collective experience as the leadership of social care, and from evidence such as the NSPCC report, that the impact on children’s wellbeing heightened by the pandemic is severe.
“We echo the NSPCC’s call for the public to be extra vigilant, especially during the closure of schools over the Christmas period and into January, to ensure children and families receive the help they need.
“Local Authority Social Services departments across Wales are open day and night, and we urge the public to report any concerns they have that a child may be at risk of abuse or neglect to their local authority.
“If you are concerned about a child or a family, please make the call.”