Report into how different countries tackle child abuse published
Professor Andrew Rowland, a consultant in paediatric emergency medicine at North Manchester General Hospital has launched a report into how different countries tackle child abuse.
‘Living on a railway line. No more! Turning the tide of child abuse and exploitation in the UK and overseas: international lessons and evidence-based recommendations’ is a work by Professor Andrew Rowland, in association with The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and University of Salford.
There are 10 key recommendations for the UK together with 25 associated and enabling recommendations and seven international recommendations. All of the recommendations are designed to build strong and healthy communities with children at their hearts.
Professor Rowland gathered evidence from the USA (Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado), Singapore, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh) and Cambodia (Sihanoukville). He investigated the impact of mandatory reporting of child abuse, the work of children’s advocacy centres and learned about strategies used to identify children at risk of child sexual exploitation and trafficking. He used his international experiences to make recommendations for the UK and the international community.
He said: “It is of the utmost importance that we recognise that the majority of child abuse and neglect occurs within homes, families and communities. We must not be distracted by a media frenzy of high-profile cases related to public figures and celebrities - disturbing though they are, they do not reflect the majority of abuse cases that occur within our communities. However, it is time for the UK to take an unequivocal stand against child abuse cases occurring in association with positions of power or responsibility, and the law in the UK should be changed to introduce mandatory reporting of them. We need much better research to understand, in more detail, society’s views about child abuse. There needs to be a standardised educational programme delivered to all professionals working with children and families, not just a competency framework. Professionals working with children need to advocate much more on behalf of children and empower them to participate more fully in decisions relating to the communities in which they live. It takes a community to protect a child: protecting children really is everyone’s business.”
Jamie Balfour CBE, DL, Director General of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust said: “Dr Rowland’s excellent report demonstrates the significant results that can come from a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship. These Fellowships provide a unique opportunity for British citizens to travel overseas to bring back fresh ideas and new solutions in order to address many of the current social challenges facing the UK.”
Dr Gillian Fairfield, Chief Executive of The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted that one of our senior consultants in emergency medicine has been involved in such an important area of research. Professor Rowland has taken the opportunity to use his wealth of clinical experience and research to further explore ways we as healthcare professionals and multi-agencies, including those in emergency medicine, can improve the protection and safeguarding of vulnerable children. On behalf of the Trust we would like to congratulate Professor Rowland on this report and hope that it creates wider debate and work across health and social care at all levels.”