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Domestic Violence ‘biggest factor’ for social services children

According to statistics from the Department for Education, almost half the children deemed to be in need of council support by the end of March this year were victims of domestic violence. The NSPCC have said that these figures were “troubling”.

The overall number of children deemed to be “in need” by social services across England stood at 394,000 – a slight rise of 0.9% on the 2015 figure of 391,000 and “relatively stable”, according to the Government.

Of these, 50,310 were the subject of a child protection plan – up 1.2% on 2015’s 49,700 and a figure which continues to rise, having been less than 40,000 in 2010.

The children on the books of social services in March faced an array of problems, the figures suggest. These include:
• 49.6% faced domestic violence
• 36.6% had mental health problems
• 19.3% had drug abuse issues
• 18.4% alcohol abuse issues
• 17.5% faced neglect
• 6.4% sexual abuse
• 1.2% were involved with gangs
• 0.6% were unaccompanied asylum seekers
• 0.3% were victims of child trafficking

An NSPCC spokeswoman said the fact that mental health was identified as a factor in more than a third of cases “highlights why more than ever we need swift and appropriate help for those who are suffering with mental issues”.

The NSPCC and the Local Government Association have backed the need for improved mental health support for children who have suffered abuse, particularly those in care.
A Department for Education spokesman said keeping children safe from harm was of “paramount importance” and added: “We want to make sure that social workers are supported to make the right decisions for the families they look after.
“That’s why in July this year we published plans to improve children’s social care, including strengthening protection for the most vulnerable, identifying children at risk as soon as possible and transforming the support available.”

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