505 at risk children in Wigan

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Hundreds of children are subject to child protection plans in Wigan, new figures have revealed.

An alarming 505 children were deemed as being sufficiently at risk as to need council intervention to keep them safe.

It is important that people do raise any concerns with us

Wigan council

That figure, which rose slightly from 488 the previous year, includes 356 youngsters who were under plans because of neglect, 36 for sexual abuse and 84 for emotional abuse.

The statistics show thousands of children in the borough were classed as being in need in the same period.

The reasons varied from hearing problems, learning difficulties to abuse and neglect.

Released by the Department for Education, the results show that of the 2,019 children considered to be in need as of March 31 2016, 1,459 were at risk of abuse or neglect, 184 because of a disability or illness, 152 because of a family in acute stress and 134 for family dysfunction.

In 2015/16, 4,347 children were assessed by children’s services. In 1,838 cases, domestic violence was considered a factor, while mental health was in 1,606 cases, alcohol misuse in 946 and drug misuse in 947.

In seven cases, children were classed as unaccompanied asylum seekers, compared to none in 2014/15.

Child sexual exploitation was a factor in 217 cases, trafficking in 12, gangs in 22, self harm in 142, neglect in 609 and sexual abuse in 317.

Police referred the most youngsters to council services, with 1,522 of 4,615 referrals coming from officers. Schools referred 624 children, 574 came from health services and 225 from housing.

A council spokesman said: “Everyone has a role to play in keeping our children safe from abuse and neglect and any piece of information, no matter how small, can be a part of the bigger jigsaw which draws from a wide variety of sources and contacts to paint a fuller picture of family life.

“It is important that people do raise any concerns with us. Any information we do receive is carefully assessed and further evidence is gathered to add to the wider picture of a case.”

If you have concerns about a child or young person’s welfare you can go to www.gov.uk/reportchildabuse where you can find an online form to fill in to raise your concerns. You can also call 01942 828300 or 0161 834 2436 out of hours.

You can also find out more about the work being done to protect children across the borough by going towww.wigan.gov.uk/wscb.