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Child abuse and Covid-19.

View profile for Grace Monteith
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As we have adjusted to a new way of life during the COVID-19 lockdown, those of us who work with and on behalf of victims of abuse are becoming increasingly aware that many children may be especially vulnerable at this challenging time.


At present, the National Crime Agency suggests there are at least 300,000 individuals in the UK who might pose a sexual threat to children, either online or through physical abuse. Online chat activity has indicated that some offenders are discussing opportunities to exploit the current restrictions in order to abuse children. The social and financial pressures associated with quarantine can cause significant changes to the behaviour of individuals and potentially result in more children being at risk.


Self-isolation and social distancing means that those child victims of sexual abuse are not being seen as regularly by their neighbours, teachers or other family members, and subsequently their protection risks are mounting. It is clear that since the UK entered into its lockdown on 23rd March 2020, there has been an increase in demand for ChildLine and NSPCC helplines.


The National Crime Agency (NCA) usually arrest more than 500 child abuse offenders each month and safeguard over 700 children. There has been a decrease in reporting of cases by professionals, as a result of the school closures and restricted access to social workers, so it is important that we all remain vigilant to signs of abuse. While Covid-19 continues to change the way we live and work, we must all be aware of the potential risks to the safety of children and seek appropriate help and guidance where there are concerns.