Eyes Open approach encouraged for children at risk

Everyone in Edinburgh should keep their Eyes Open for children at risk during the school holidays over the festive season.

With schools finishing for the festive season tomorrow (Friday 21 December), Child Protection Committees across Scotland are encouraging the public across the whole country to be extra observant to help protect potentially vulnerable children when school’s out for summer.

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.

Child Protection Committee Edinburgh Chair Jackie Irvine said: “Edinburgh children are about to be away from the usual school routine for a couple of weeks. For most of them this is a time of year filled with fun and free time, but for some families the festive season 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, Edinburgh’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. Jackie Irvine is clear that each and every one of us has a role to play in keeping our youngsters safe.

“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 the City of Edinburgh Council’s social work department, or the police.

Additional informastion:

Child Protection Committees Scotland (CPCScotland) is a national grouping of professionals who work together to improve the protection of children in Scotland. Everyone in the group sits on one of Scotland’s 30 local child protection committees. People involved in our group come from diverse organisations including social work, health, education, the police, children’s charities, housing associations and the emergency services.  

Children themselves have told us that “it’s everyone’s job to make sure I’m all right”, and an important part of CPCScotland’s remit is to raise public awareness of what child protection actually is. When CPCScotland talks about child protection we mean helping to keep children safe from abuse, neglect, exploitation, harm and anything else that puts them at risk.

Our spokespeople are available for broadcast and press interview. Collectively we are able to offer the media our specialist knowledge about child protection issues, plus a real breadth of experience and insight.

As a group, CPCScotland aims to provide jargon-free definitions of child abuse and neglect. We also hope to raise understanding that child protection is not just about babies, but can affect children and young people of all ages and backgrounds.

We can explain the complexities of child protection and legal systems, and some of the challenges being faced by child protection professionals. We also seek to emphasise the good work already being done by agencies, organisations and staff across the country to protect children at risk.

We believe that child protection requires collective effort and is not restricted to official organisations and the law - individuals and communities can also play a significant role protecting children from harm. As such, we hope to maximise opportunities in the media to explain why each and every one of us has a responsibility to keep Scotland’s children safe.

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