Thousands of young victims of crime 'missing out on support' during pandemic


Thousands of young victims of crime may have missed out vital support since the start of the pandemic, campaigners have warned.

The charity Victim Support said 7,800 fewer children and young people had accessed vital help in England and Wales between March 23 and January 3, compared to pre-coronavirus levels.

The slump contrasts with increases in adult referrals, prompting concern that school closures meant children and young people were “suffering in silence”.

Labour has written to the Government, demanding urgent help for vulnerable youngsters during the latest lockdown.

It comes as Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he hoped schools could reopen fully by Easter – but failed to give a guarantee.



Schools are shut to all pupils during lockdown except for vulnerable kids and the children of key workers

Primary and secondary schools were ordered to shut for all but vulnerable children and the children of key workers when England went into a third national lockdown earlier this month.

In a letter to Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, Labour called for a plan to ensure children who fall victim to crime during the latest lockdown were swiftly identified and offered help.

Shadow Youth Justice Minister Peter Kyle told the Mirror: “Ministers must stop the foot-dragging and take urgent action with schools to protect our most vulnerable kids.

“When a child becomes a victim of crime, it leaves a lasting scar on their emotional and mental development. It’s vital that they are identified and given the help they need.”

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Rachel Almeida, Victim Support Assistant Director, said: “We estimate that thousands of children and young people are falling through the cracks and ‘hidden’ from essential victim services, especially if they are in lockdown in homes where violence and abuse are taking place.



Labour has appealed to Justice Secretary Robert Buckland to help vulnerable youngsters

“Our research suggests that lockdown reduces their opportunities to talk about their concerns with a trusted adult and increases barriers to accessing help directly, leaving them more vulnerable. 

“It’s likely that many of these children and young people are now suffering in silence because they’ve gone unseen during this pandemic.

“It’s crucial that they are identified so that they’re given the essential support they need and their risk of harm is reduced.”

A Government spokesperson said: “The safety of vulnerable children has been a priority throughout this pandemic and we have invested millions into support services to ensure vital help remains available.”





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