Hundreds of Wigan children under protection plans

Wigan social services were contacted more than 5,000 times last year for children in 'episodes of need' - mostly reports of abuse or neglect.

Wednesday, 7th November 2018, 8:04 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th November 2018, 9:09 am
Thousands of children were abused last year

Of the 5,761 reports received from the town hall team in a 12-month period - 5,129 were made for children in need.

Alarmingly, the rate of children needing help between 2017 and 2018 was 753 per 10,000 children, which is much higher than the national average of 594.

More than two thirds of these children (69 per cent) were referred due to to “abuse or neglect” with family dysfunction or “family in acute stress” also being cited as significant reasons for the reports.

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James Winterbottom, director for children’s services at Wigan Council, said: “Protecting children who are at risk of harm is our number one priority and we have a wide range of support offers available to ensure we respond quickly and effectively to concerns for children.

“Wherever possible we work with our partners to identify risk early and to put in place effective measures to reduce risk and improve the wellbeing of children and young people.

“Last year Ofsted rated our children’s services Good following an intensive four week inspection of our services and they identified creative work by our staff to support families where children were at risk as well as the quality of social work being judged as consistently good.”

Between April 2017 and March 2018, 1,111 section 47s were put in place to protect children living in the borough.

A Section 47 inquiry means that children’s social service are obligated to carry out an investigation when they have “reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm.”

In Wigan, the rate of children under Section 47s was 152 per 10,000, compared to 149 across the UK as a whole.

Alarmingly, of these 387 children were put onto a protection plan due to the likelihood that they would come to harm.

And of these, 244 were victims of neglect, 93 were subjected to emotional abuse, 30 to sexual abuse and 20 to physical abuse.