Everyone is being encouraged to keep their Eyes Open for children at risk during the school holidays. As Scotland’s schools prepare to ring the end of term bell for the holidays, a national child protection organisation is urging everyone to be extra observant to help protect potentially vulnerable children while school’s out for summer.
Child Protection Committees Scotland, a nation-wide grouping of child protection professionals hopes that members of the public will keep their eyes open and play a part to keep children safe from harm during the long break in the school routine.
CPCScotland Chair Alan Small says that the summer holidays are not about fun-filled time off for everyone.
“Most children look forward to having lots of fun and free time during the school holidays but for some families the summer break can bring extra stress and pressure. In some cases, children might not be looked after or supervised properly, and some might even experience serious neglect.”
CPCScotland stresses that everyone in every community across the country is responsible for child welfare. By taking a more watchful, active Eyes Open approach, CPCScotland suggests that all members of the public can play a part to protect our children. Alan Small stresses that it’s also essential to take action if you’re concerned about a child during the school holidays.
“We’re simply asking people to keep their eyes open for telltale signs that all is not well. Signs that at child might be at risk could include being alone and unsupervised, being out and about at all times of day or night or even going into “party” flats. A vulnerable child might be very dirty or persistently hungry, or have parents who are drunk in charge of them. If you’re at all worried, it’s important to take action.”
Alan Small says that your intervention could help a child at risk.
“You can ask the child if they’re okay or even offer the family some support. Or, if the situation is serious and you’re very worried contact your local authority social work department, or the police.”
Child Protection Committees Scotland (CPCScotland) is a national grouping of professionals who work together to improve the protection of children in Scotland. Everyone in the group sits on one of Scotland’s 30 local child protection committees. People involved in the group come from diverse organisations including social work, health, education, the police, children’s charities, housing associations and the emergency services.
Children have told CPCScotland that “it’s everyone’s job to make sure I’m all right”, and an important part of CPCScotland’s remit is to raise public awareness of what child protection actually is. When CPCScotland talks about child protection they mean helping to keep children safe from abuse, neglect, exploitation, harm and anything else that puts them at risk.
Children's Minister Maree Todd is also backing the campaign.
"There are many reasons why concerns about a child are not reported. But young people need someone to speak up for them and we all have a part to play in protecting children and keeping them safe from harm. I urge everyone to take an Eyes Open approach this summer, and if you are at all worried about a child, I would encourage you to take action."
If you have seen something and have concerns about a child or children CPCScotland are also clear that it's much better to say something than do nothing. Alan Small says that your intervention could help a child at risk.
"You can ask the child if they're okay or even offer the family some support. Or, if the situation is serious and you're very worried contact your local authority social work department, or the police."