Emotional abuse of children on the rise in Redbridge

The number of children under 18 subject to a child protection plan has increased from 184 to 309 in

The number of children under 18 subject to a child protection plan has increased from 184 to 309 in the last five years - Credit: PA WIRE

A children’s charity says a rise in the number of children being monitored for being at risk of abuse in Redbridge is “very concerning”.

The number of children under 18 who are subject to a child protection plan – designed by the council to keep them safe – increased from 184 in 2010/11 to 309 in 2014/15, a report published by Redbridge Council has revealed.

The number of children referred to social services has also risen from 3,648 two years ago to to 5,175 in 2014/15.

Children being protected from emotional abuse represented more than half the number of plans being set-up this year – a jump from 60 to 170 cases in the past five years.

The report, due to go before the children and young people service committee tonight (Thurs), suggested domestic violence was a major factor in the increase of the number of referrals.

It said there was also evidence “increased financial hardship” was a cause for the rise.

Cabinet member for children and young people Cllr Elaine Norman said increasing cuts and homelessness pressures, and a growing child population, could also explain the rise.

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A spokeswoman from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said the figures were “very concerning” but she welcomed the fact protection plans were being set up.

The number of children protected against neglect had also increased, from 69 to 111 in the past five years, whereas Met Police figures showed this was decreasing across London.

Despite the pressures, the council’s children and families service is performing better than the national average and Cllr Norman said “the quality of the response has not diminished in any way”.

She proposed to spend an extra £500,000 to increase the number of council social workers in the community to deal with the issue.

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said the figures were “deeply saddening” at a time when the council was under “great pressure financially due to budget cuts”.

He added he would meet with children’s charity Barnardo’s to discuss further partnerships with the council.

A Barnardo’s spokesman said the charity continued to work with the council to ensure “vulnerable children in the borough are protected and supported”.

Read the Recorder online for a full report of tonight’s meeting.