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Protecting disabled children from abuse David Miller Development Manager.

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Presentation on theme: "Protecting disabled children from abuse David Miller Development Manager."— Presentation transcript:

1 Protecting disabled children from abuse David Miller Development Manager

2 ‘We have the right to be safe’ 2

3 Everyone has a right to be safe, and not a victim of society If people don’t listen to young people, it can be more dangerous for them People do get bullied, you should make people understand it’s wrong 3 What we know

4 Messages from our ambassadors 4 We need someone to come down to our level and tell us that there are people that could help There needs to be honesty about any incident, no matter how embarrassing or scary

5 Rights enshrined in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child articles 2, 19 and 23 and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities articles 7 and 16 Increased risk of disabled children to abuse Barriers in the child protection system 5 Why focus on disabled children?

6 ‘Children who live with a physical, sensory, intellectual or mental health disability are among the most stigmatised and marginalised of the entire world’s children. While all children are at risk of being victims of violence, disabled children find themselves at significantly increased risk because of stigma, negative traditional beliefs and ignorance’. United Nations (Groce 2005, p.4) 6 Why are disabled children at greater risk?

7 Attitudes and assumptions Barriers to provision of support services Impairment related factors Barriers to communication and seeking help Barriers to the identification of concerns and an effective chid protection response 7 Why are disabled children at greater risk?

8 Jones et al (2012): Disabled children were estimated to be 3.68 times more likely to experience violence than non-disabled children. Risk levels: 3.56 for physical violence 2.88 for sexual violence 4.36 for emotional abuse 4.56 for neglect. Estimated prevalence rate of 26.7 per cent for disabled children experiencing violence. 8 What we know: Risk of abuse

9 Sullivan and Knutson (2000): Disabled children were 3.4 times more likely to be abused or neglected than non-disabled children. They were: 3.8 times more likely to be neglected 3.8 times more likely to be physically abused 3.1 times more likely to be sexually abused 3.9 times more likely to be emotionally abused. Overall, 31 per cent of disabled children had been abused compared with 9 per cent of the non-disabled child population. 9 What we know: Risk of abuse

10 Highest risk groups are children with behaviour/conduct disorders Other high risk groups include children with learning disabilities, speech and language difficulties, health related conditions and deaf children. Evidence on risk and severity of impairment is mixed 10 What we know

11 Disabled boys appear to be at greater risk of abuse than disabled girls when compared to non-disabled children Some evidence of a preponderance of first incidents of abuse from birth to 5 years of age Disabled children in residential schools face particular risks Disabled children more likely to be abused by someone in their family Majority of disabled children are abused by someone known to them Significant numbers of disabled children with harmful sexual behaviour have learning difficulties/disabilities 11 What we know

12 Bullying is a feature in the lives of many disabled children Disabled children are more likely to have negative experiences of social networking sites Disabled children disclose less frequently and delay disclosure more often Disabled children are most likely to turn for help to a trusted adult they know well 12 What we know

13 Personal safety skills programmes contribute to safeguarding Peer support can reduce bullying and empower disabled children Potential for creative therapies in enabling disabled children communicate their needs 13 What we know

14 Many disabled children lack basic information about keeping safe Move towards empowering disabled children and consulting with them Improvements in child protection practice although significant barriers continue to exist Shortage of registered intermediaries Deaf children often not well served Lack of therapeutic services for disabled children 14 Services in the UK

15 Ofsted (2012) protecting disabled children thematic inspection: effective multi-agency support was provided at an early stage a wide range of professionals and staff made timely referrals when they had concerns about disabled children when child protection concerns were clear they were investigated promptly and steps were taken to ensure that children at immediate risk were safe that when these children did become the subject of child protection plans there was a marked improvement in their outcomes child protection enquiries were usually carried out by social workers with appropriate experience and expertise in child protection and disability. 15 Child protection system: Improvements

16 Significant barriers continue to exist. Recurring themes include: failure to recognise abuse or apply appropriate thresholds lack of holistic assessment lack of communication with the child and maintaining a focus on their needs despite improvements, a continuing lack of effective multi-agency working (Ofsted 2009, 2012; Brandon et al. 2012; Taylor et al. 2014). 16 Child protection system: Barriers

17 Ofsted (2012) found: that children in need work was not always well co-ordinated, with many plans lacking detail and focus on outcomes that this lack of rigour increased the likelihood of child protection concerns not being identified early enough delays in identifying thresholds for child protection when concerns were less clear-cut, especially neglect. 17 Child protection system: Barriers (cont.)

18 ensure that thresholds for child protection are well understood and rigorously applied at every stage in work with disabled children establish robust quality assurance case file audits and management information systems to assess and evaluate the quality and impact of work with disabled children ensure that findings are reported to LSCBs and local authorities’ senior management to enable them to evaluate whether concerns regarding disabled children are identified and responded to effectively ensure that local authority designated officers (LADOs) identify, analyse and report on allegations relating to disabled children to ensure that concerns regarding disabled children are appropriately referred. They should take prompt action to explore the reasons for either under- or over-reporting and track outcomes for disabled children compared with their peers. 18 Ofsted 2012 recommendations: Local authorities and LSCBs

19 ensure that all decisions and assessments relating to disabled children are well informed by previous history and are based on up-to-date multi-agency assessments which include a thorough analysis of risks and needs ensure that careful consideration is always given to how best to obtain children’s views, taking the children’s disabilities into account, and that wherever possible children’s feelings are sought about the identified concerns and risks ensure that all disabled children receiving children in need services or subject to child protection plans have detailed, specific, and outcome-focused plans ensure that all children in need plans are regularly and robustly reviewed at multi-agency meetings and that particular attention is paid to identifying when concerns are not resolved promptly or improvements are not sustained. 19 Ofsted 2012 recommendations: Local authorities

20 Develop a wider and deeper evidence base Raise awareness and challenge attitudes and assumptions Promote safe and accessible services Raise disabled children's awareness of abuse and ability to seek help Ensure the effective delivery of child protection and criminal justice services for disabled children 20 The Way Forward

21 To engage with stakeholders to further define the challenges and opportunities for improving protection of disabled children As a service provider to seek answers to key questions in child protection and to develop practical solutions for overcoming barriers and promoting safeguarding To work and campaign in partnership towards ensuring that learning is reflected in policy, guidance and practice 21 NSPCC key aims

22 Disabled children have an equal right to protection from abuse Action from all stakeholders is needed to realise this A child protection system that is effective for disabled children will be one that is effective for all children 22 Conclusion

23 ‘We have the right to be safe’ 23

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