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Keeping children and young people safe from abuse

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Whilst awareness of child abuse and neglect has increased greatly in recent years, Professor Corinne May-Chahal and her colleagues at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are keen to see more protection and support for children, young people and families. In her debut blog for Social Care News, she explains how new guidance can help protect children and young people from abuse.

Prof May-Chahal: 'Every child and young person deserves a childhood where they are cared for, nurtured and safe.'

To date, research has focused on why people abuse or neglect and the number of cases which have occurred. Very little research has looked at ways of preventing abuse or at what helps the victims after it has taken place.

The NICE guidance, which I helped develop, aims to bridge this gap.

For people whose work brings them into contact with children and young people, the guidelines offer ways to spot signs of abuse and neglect provide advice on how to respond.

It gives effective guidance on what assessments should be carried out, aiming to ensure children, young people and their families get the best quality care available.

To help raise awareness of the guidelines and support people experiencing abuse and neglect we have also put together a quick guide for young people. The guide has been developed with the help of young people who have experienced abuse or neglect.

NICE has also produced a short quality standard that supports the steps commissioners should take to improve care. These resources can be found in one place on the NICE website.

Referral rates for children needing help reached more than 640,000 last year. More than 50,000 children in England were placed on a child protection plan. More than 80 percent needed protection from neglect or emotional abuse, according to a report by the Department for Education.

Also, the NSPCC found 18 percent of cases were re-referred in 2017, an indicator that some children are not getting the help they need.

Though I’ve enjoyed working with my fellow committee members to develop the guidance, it was challenging at times to find evidence that met the high standards NICE requires.

By working together with a range of organisations and agencies, we were able to develop recommendations, which - if implemented sufficiently - will help protect vulnerable children across the country.

Every child and young person deserves a childhood where they are cared for, nurtured and safe.

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