A new campaign to tackle child abuse has been launched as a shocking study shows a third of people do not report their suspicions about a young person’s welfare.
Wigan Council is urging residents to help eliminate the scourge of child abuse as the Department for Education unveils its hard-hitting campaign.
Research shows 37 per cent of people in the North West are put off reporting potential abuse for fear they may be wrong and 29 per cent wopuld only go to the authorities if they were certain abuse was taking place.
The new campaign is urging Wiganers to talk about their concerns, no matter how small, with social care teams, reminding people every piece of information can be valuable in keeping young people safe.
Wigan has also been chosen alongside Rochdale to pilot a new Government-funded scheme which attempts to keep at-risk youngsters at home with families rather than putting them into care as much as possible.
Launching the new campaign, Wigan Council portfolio holder for children and young people Coun Jo Platt said: “Everyone has a role to play in keeping our children safe from abuse and neglect and this new campaign is an important message to those who may have concerns about a child but maybe don’t know where to go with their information or are worried that they could split up a family.”
The new campaign aims to get across the message that together people can tackle child abuse, with research conducted by ICM suggesting as many as one in three people who suspect a young person is suffering do nothing about it.
There were thought to be 42 youngsters in the borough at risk of abuse, which is above the average for Greater Manchester, at the time Wigan Council landed its share of the £1m funding pot for the Greater Manchester pilot scheme.
However, the authorities chose the borough to run the test scheme alongside Rochdale because it has a strong plan for dealing with abuse rather than because it has been particularly troubled by the issue.
The scheme aims to do better at identifying and protecting youngsters who are in danger from predators.
More than 200 young people were thought to be at risk of sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester last year.
As part of a major overhaul of national policy on tackling child sexual exploitation, the region’s Project Phoenix is attempting to work more closely with young people and their families to ensure and foster carers are part of the solution when solving difficulties experienced by troubled youngsters.
The pilot scheme, led by social worker Nick Marsh, began operating in January.
Anyone with concerns about a child’s welfare can ring 01942 828300 or the out-of-hours line 0161 834 2436 or fill out an online form at www.gov.uk/reportchildabuse
More information about the work being done in the borough to tackle child abuse is available at www.wigan.gov.uk/wscb