Public urged to keep eyes open for children at risk

Everyone in Aberdeenshire is being encouraged to keep their Eyes Open for children at risk during the school holidays.

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 don’t present a fun-filled, relaxing time for everyone.

He said: “Most children in Aberdeenshire 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, Alan Small stresses that it’s also essential to take action if you’re concerned about a child during the school holidays.

He commented: “We’re simply asking people in Aberdeenshire to keep their eyes open for telltale signs that all is not well. Signs that a 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. Your intervention could help a child at risk.

Not only does the campaign support a public Eyes Open approach, it encourages us to speak up and take action. Anyone who has concerns about a child or children can ask the child if they’re okay. You should seek help or pass on information or concerns by speaking to social work or the Police.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee, added: “The protection of vulnerable groups, including children, requires us all to have an awareness and to ask for help if you have concerns. Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) isn’t just a job for teachers, social workers and carers but for everyone, from family members and neighbours to service providers and passers-by.”
 
Members of the public can contact Police Scotland on 101 with concerns or please dial 999 in an emergency. For more information on child protection locally, please visit: http://www.girfec-aberdeenshire.org/child-protection/