Society as a whole, not just the authorities, needs to take responsbility for tackling child abuse, according to the NSPCC.
The charity, which earlier this month revealed a 12 percent increase in reported cases of sex offences against children in Northamptonshire, said everyone needed to work together.
Sandra McNair, NSPCC Regional Head of Service for Children and Families, said that for ever child in the county on a protection plan, another eight had suffered abuse and remained unknown to the authorities. In Northamptonshire, 1,056 children were on a protection plan in 2013/14.
She said: “It is clear that government needs to ‘up the ante’ and ensure tackling child abuse is a top priority.
“As well as making sure that children have the support and access to therapeutic services to help them recover from all forms of abuse, we need an early intervention approach, investing in services and support that prevent problems before they start, to improve the lives of children and families - and save money for taxpayers in the long run.
“Providing early support for children and families will help prevent problems now and give them the chance of the best possible future. Offering help at this stage can only lessen the impact of issues that, in cases of child abuse or neglect for example, will continue to influence a person’s life long after the event has passed.
“However, the responsibility of tackling child abuse does not fall to government alone. Child abuse is a societal problem with a societal cost, which is why we all have a responsibility to keep children safe from harm.
“As part of its mission to protect a generation of children from abuse, the NSPCC visits primary schools across Northamptonshire, helping children understand abuse and giving them the confidence and courage to speak out and seek help if they ever need it. To date, the NSPCC Schools Service has delivered assemblies and classroom workshops to 2,793 children in the county.
“The NSPCC helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for anyone who is worried about a child. Letting the team of experienced child protection counsellors listen to your concerns about a child will never be a mistake – they have the knowledge and experience to decide if a child is being abused and how to help if they are. You can be anonymous too.
Just a few minutes of your time to talk through your worries, could make a positive difference to a child for the rest of their life.
Abuse changes childhood. But so can we. The NSPCC believe abuse can be prevented and lives repaired. But for that to happen it is crucial for every single one of us to work together; only then can we prevent abuse by protecting those who cannot protect themselves.”