NSPCC: Don’t lose sight of child safety during election

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Eight core recommendations were put forward by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry to improve the provision of care for children and young people in the Island in its report published earlier this year.

Chief Minister Ian Gorst pledged to implement its suggestions, and interviews to appoint a Children’s Commissioner – one of the core recommendations – are due to take place next week.

Today, Peter Wanless, chief executive of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said that the political uncertainty surrounding an election poses a risk to the measures coming into force.

The Island will head to the polls next May to elect a new States Assembly and Mr Wanless, who visited the Island this week to mark 100 days since the inquiry report was published, said that the charity has a responsibility to make sure the inquiry’s efforts are not wasted.

He said: ‘There is a promise to implement all the recommendations. I don’t detect that these recommendations are particularly controversial and it would be a brave politician that disagrees with them.

‘Having said that, the NSPCC has an important role to play in banging the drum through that period of political uncertainty.

‘We need to remind them of those promises and seek confirmation that those reforms are not being forgotten about.’

The inquiry released its damning report earlier this year, criticising how the States has looked after children in care and left them exposed to abuse for decades.

He added that there were ‘early signs of progress’ and said that the financial support given by the States to the NSPCC in running the Letting the Future In programme – which provides support to sexually abused children – in the Island was a good indication that government is taking child protection more seriously than it ever has before.

He added that Islanders can play a role in protecting children – particularly those at risk from neglect – and that all sections of society had a responsibility to look out for its youngest and most vulnerable members.

‘It can be very difficult spotting and understanding why children are suffering and finding ways to help.

‘Seeing children and looking out for children, whatever your role, is going to be a positive step.

‘You may be delivering a domestic abuse service and notice something about the relationship the adults have with the children in the house or you may be going to check on the gas meter and notice something that doesn’t seem quite right.

‘There are things that all of us can do that will help put children front and centre.’

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