For many children, home is far more dangerous than school right now – we must do all we can to protect them
As the country gets to grips with coronavirus, it is vital we consider the profound impact school closures could have on children facing abuse and neglect.
On Wednesday, Boris Johnson announced that England would be following its neighbours Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to close all schools from Friday for the foreseeable future. But they will remain open for a select group of students, including children of “key workers” and vulnerable young people, such as those who have a social worker or a health and social care plans. At the NSPCC, we are cautiously optimistic about the government’s bold plans, which show that child protection is a central concern during this national health emergency.
To many people, sending children home may seem like the safest option, but the sad reality is that not all children are safe at home. Teachers act as the eyes and ears of the community, and are often the first to spot signs of abuse and neglect, and can be fundamental in ensuring children receive the right support and protection. Daily contact with these trusted adults, also including youth and mental health workers, means children can raise issues that are worrying them, including abuse.