Improved access to therapeutic services needs to be top of the list
Today the Government announced details of how taxpayers’ money will be spent on government departments and public services like the police, NHS and schools.
We've been reassured that the Chancellor has announced there'll be no reductions in spending for the police, saying ‘they protect us and we will protect them’. We know that the police are doing vital work in the battle against child abuse whether it’s preventing children from being at the mercy of sex offenders or ensuring that victims can pursue justice. Removing online child abuse images, hunting down the criminals who create this hideous material, and preventing the grooming of more victims are tasks that threaten to overwhelm our law enforcement agencies.
The Government has already committed to tackling online child sexual exploitation and abuse, and the police have promised to increase the number of offenders pursued for accessing child abuse images. But even the officer leading the child protection fight, Chief Constable Simon Bailey, has warned that the scale of child sexual abuse is staggering.
As such, we are pleased that a new fund was announced to support forces merging back offices and sharing expertise. Any available money must be used in the most effective way by:
- pooling resources
- using new forensic techniques and
- sharing information with agencies around the world.
And once children have been identified and rescued it’s vital that they get the support and therapy they need to rebuild their lives.
The Chancellor has also announced a £600 million fund for mental health, whilst we welcome this news, we believe that now some of this money should be prioritised for therapeutic services for children who’ve suffered abuse.
We've raised concerns this month that many children, including those who have been abused, are waiting up to 6 months for face-to-face assessment by specialist local mental health services. There must urgently be improvements in access to child friendly trauma-based support, when children need it most, so they can recover and rebuild their childhoods wherever they live.