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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

NSPCC are asking people in North Yorkshire to report any concerns.

NSPCC

11:34am 23rd December 2010

The NSPCC is calling on people in North Yorkshire to continue to use the NSPCC Helpline over the festive period to report any concerns they may have about a child or young person.

Calls to the charity’s Helpline drop significantly between Christmas and New Year, potentially leaving some children at risk of harm. Last Christmas Eve there were 33 calls made from across the UK and the Channel Islands, but this fell to just 11 on Christmas Day and 25 on Boxing Day, an 80% drop on the usual daily call rates.

A total of 30,420 child welfare calls were made to the Helpline last year between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010 – an average of 83 a day.

The most common reasons for calling were concerns about neglect, physical abuse and family relationships. Alcohol was a recurring issue in calls made between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, with five calls being serious enough to need immediate police or social services help.

The NSPCC Helpline received 51 calls from North Yorkshire during December 2009.

While Christmas is a period of celebration for most families, for some it can be a time of added stress and family tension. As families gather for a prolonged period, the reminder is timely that support is at hand for people who have concerns about a child, be it within their own family or in the local neighbourhood. Help is also at hand for adults who may have concerns about their own behaviour.

The NSPCC Helpline - 0808 800 5000, run by professionally trained counsellors is available 24/7, 365 days a year. It is free to call and calls can be anonymous.

In Yorkshire a woman called the NSPCC Helpline last Christmas Day worried about her very young children, who were staying with their father. The caller said that the children’s father was aggressive toward them, shouting and swearing at them daily. The Helpline advisor asked whether the caller had any other concerns. She said that the father was often rough with the children, pulling them about by their arms.

The Helpline advisor was concerned that the children’s safety and wellbeing could not be guaranteed if they were alone with their father. The NSPCC referred the matter to the children’s services emergency team, as a check on the children’s welfare could not wait until after the Christmas holiday.

Another person call on Christmas Day desperately worried about some young children who were living in a filthy house with no beds with a mother who was often drunk. Another call concerned a little girl locked out of her house in the freezing weather, crying to be let in. And a woman who was upset after listening to her neighbour’s children ‘sobbing themselves to sleep’ on Christmas Eve also rang the free 0808 800 5000 number.

*Names and Identifying details have been changed to protect identity)

John Cameron, Head of the Helpline says:

Some children don’t get a Christmas break from cruelty. It can happen at any time, any day. But people seem reluctant to report cases of abuse and neglect at this time of year, possibly because they see it as a happy occasion and don’t want to spoil it.

“However, this means some children could be left in dangerous situations when help should be on its way. Hopefully this year people will realise that a child’s safety is more important and give us a call. We are here round-the-clock, every day of the year.”

Recent NSPCC analysis found that more than 1 in 5 callers had waited over 6 months before contacting the Helpline about their worries. And in over one third (37%) of cases referred to children’s services, the family was not previously known to the local authority.

Any adults with concerns about a child or young person should call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk

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