Children at risk in Northern Ireland
I did an interview with BBC Radio Ulster this morning concerning the developing arrests and cases of child sex abuse occurring there at the moment and the conversation kept focussing on children in care homes (who did make up a great number of those young people they were concerned about). However, once again the focus was on children Looked After rather than the sizeable minority of those living in their family homes. It just illustrates that this issue is not all about vulnerable children in care, but vulnerable children anywhere and highlights the difficulties that some parents have in exercising reasonable control. It also brings to mind many cases that I’ve been involved with over the years where the parent tried very hard to control the young person but just doesn’t have the capacity to follow it through such as a basic absence of parenting skills and a basic lack of understanding about appropriate disciplinary measures and control mechanisms. Yes there should be more training for more professionals in spotting the risks for vulnerable children wherever they are and also recognising earlier signs and symptoms where the youngsters appear to be groomed, but there also needs to be a much greater drive in educating parents and offering them help in managing their families.
All of the above, plus the enormous dangers and risks that social media now bring to the situation need to be tackled as a whole with serious systemic policy initiatives and not piecemeal depending on which area of Britain the situation springs up next.