Protecting the region’s children at risk

Duncan MacAulay,  chair of the Scottish Borders Child Protection Committee
Duncan MacAulay, chair of the Scottish Borders Child Protection Committee

In the past year 93 child protection investigations were carried out by Scottish Borders Child Protection Committee.

Councillors at Scottish Borders Council meeting were told that the main concerns for children included emotional and physical abuse, harm from parental drug or alcohol misuse, and domestic violence.

Training for local child protection staff remains a priority and the child protection committee has continued its commitment to raising awareness of child protection through training events, the CPC website and newsletters.

Duncan MacAulay, independent Chair of the Scottish Borders Child Protection Committee commented: “We are absolutely committed to our vision that all children in the Scottish Borders have the right to grow up safe from abuse. I believe effective partnership working and strong leadership is a key strength in achieving this. One area I’m particularly pleased that we’ve been able to grow recently is the cross-border work and sharing of best practice with our colleagues in Northumberland and Cumbria.

“While there are a number of issues that can affect children we are seeing a rise in harm online and in particular through social media. This brings new challenges but we are committed to working hard to make sure children in this area are well supported and shielded from the harm this can bring.”

Vulnerable adults can also be at risk and SBC councillors were told that financial harm is the biggest issue both locally and nationally. This can include people being pressured into handing over money; stealing, cheating or fraud; bogus callers or distraction burglary; and mass marketing scams that encourage adults to send money to fake lottery or prize draw schemes.

Jim Wilson, independent Chair of the Scottish Borders Adult Protection Committee said: “Adult harm can affect anybody, but people who can’t look after or stand up for themselves can be particularly at risk, whether that’s through factors such as personal circumstances, physical or learning disability, age, or illness and injury.

“We are continuing to work closely with partners including the Scottish Government, Trading Standards and Police Scotland to do all we can to protect adults. As an example locally, we have identified a number of victims of financial harm in our area. Through our trading standards and social work teams, we contacted them with support and advice around keeping themselves safe.

“We will also be pushing out messages as part of a publicity campaign to highlight the role members of the public can play in helping us to tackle adult harm. People often have an instinctual feeling that someone is being harmed or is at risk; a sense that something is not right. By acting on this, they could help that person to overcome the situation and become safe from harm.”