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Eyes open approach encouraged for children at risk

Published Friday, 29 June 2018

child looking out a window with arms outstretched

Everyone in South Lanarkshire is being urged to keep their eyes open for children at risk during the school holidays.

Now that our schools have sounded the end of term bell, Child Protection Committees across Scotland are encouraging the public across the whole country to be extra observant to help protect potentially vulnerable children.

Child Protection Committees Scotland, a nation-wide grouping of child protection professionals, hopes their Eyes Open campaign will raise awareness that members of the public can play an important role to keep children safe from harm in the holidays. The group believes that everyone is responsible for child welfare in Scotland.

South Lanarkshire Chair Safaa Baxter said: “South Lanarkshire children are now away from the usual school routine for a few weeks. For most this is a time of year filled with fun and free time. But for some families the summer holidays is a time of increased stress and pressure. In some cases, children are not supervised or cared for adequately, others might even experience serious neglect.”

By taking an Eyes Open approach, South Lanarkshire’s own child protection committee hope that members of the public will take a more active, watchful role when it comes to protecting children in the area, and take action if they’re concerned for a child’s wellbeing. Safaa Baxter is clear that each and every one of us has a role to play in keeping our youngsters safe.

South Lanarkshire Lead officer Caren Maclean added: “By keeping our eyes open and our other senses tuned in, we might spot the telltale signs that a child is at risk. These signs include seeing children wandering about at all times of day and night, children who are very dirty or unfed, unsupervised children going into “party” flats, or whose parents are drunk in charge of them. However, spotting the signs isn’t enough. If something doesn’t seem quite right for a child, or a family of children, it’s better to say something than do nothing.”

Not only does the campaign support a public Eyes Open approach, it also encourages us to speak up instead of staying silent. Anyone who has concerns about a child or children can ask the child if they’re okay, offer the family some support, or contact South Lanarkshire’s social work department, or phone the police on 101.