07/11/2018

DUP: NI 'Lags Behind' In Helping Abused Kids

Northern Ireland is falling well behind Scotland and Wales in helping young children who are neglected or abused, a report released by the DUP suggests.

Hope for Every Child assesses the support available to those who suffer Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Councillor Peter Martin, the author of the study, said Northern Ireland needs to become "trauma-informed", have a better understanding of why children may end up in trouble, and put in place appropriate interventions to reduce this.

"Proactive prevention is more efficient, effective and fiscally sound than the reactive cure," Mr Martin said in the report.

"Very often this is about firstly identifying and then supporting both young children and parents in extremely difficult circumstances.
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"To give an illustrative example, is it the child's fault that they have to put a brick through someone's window?

"Is it because they perpetrated the act against an innocent person, but equally, we need to consider why they did it?"

The report cites figures from the Department of Justice which show that 2,568 of offences recorded by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in 2015/16 were committed by young people aged 10-17.

It also references research from Public Health Wales which suggests that children exposed to abuse, neglect and family dysfunction are 20 times more likely to end up in prison than children who suffer no ACEs.

"If we want to make Northern Ireland a safer place, we do not require bigger prisons," the DUP councillor said.

"Instead we need to look at the children in our society and ask how we can better support them."



(JG)

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