Keep an eye out for children at risk

Chair of Moray Council’s Children & Young People’s Services Committee, Cllr Sonya Warren

Everyone in Moray is being encouraged to keep their eyes open for children at risk during the school holidays.

As Moray schools prepare to ring the end of term bell on 28 June 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 nationwide 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.

Chair of Moray Council’s Children & Young People’s Services Committee, Cllr Sonya Warren, who is a member of Moray’s Child Protection Committee, said the summer holidays don’t present a fun-filled, relaxing time for everyone: “Most children in Moray 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. As well as being vigilant, Cllr Warren stresses that’s also essential to take action if you’re concerned about a child during the school holidays: “We’re simply asking people in Moray to keep their eyes open for tell-tale 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.”

If you have seen something and have concerns about a child or children CPCScotland are clear that it’s much better to say something than do nothing. Cllr Warren 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 our social work department, or the police.”