How will vulnerable children fare under the Coalition’s cuts?

About one in ten children in the UK suffer abuse or neglect, according to figures by charity Kids Company, who work to protect the capital’s homeless, abused, and vulnerable children.

Our guest writer is Arthur Baker, a 17-year-old Young Labour member from south east london, who campaigned extensively in the run-up to the election, and is now education rep for the True Labour Policy Group following his work for the Campaign for State Education

One of Labour’s key goals in their 13 years of power was to eradicate child poverty, and progress has been made. However, some of the most vulnerable children in Britain now hover under Osborne’s axe.

About one in ten children in the UK suffer abuse or neglect, according to figures by charity Kids Company, who work to protect the capital’s homeless, abused, and vulnerable children. One child is killed every week by abuse from parents/guardians, and of those who come to KidsCo for help, 84 per cent are homeless, 83 per cent suffer sustained trauma, and 87 per cent suffer mental health difficulties.

Research by leading neurologists working with KidsCo has shown that neglect and abuse causes irrevocable damage to brain development, and can lead to long term mental health difficulties, violence, alcohol and substance abuse. One girl’s story, as documented by KidsCo, gives an example of this.

My worry is that these children will not be protected, but victimised and demonised by our new Government in their mission to crack down on ‘anti social behaviour’ and crime. Labour’s double edged sword of Sure Start centres, support, and rehabilitation, coupled with ASBOs and tougher sentencing may have worked, but cutting the former whilst extending the latter will have a dangerous and detrimental effect on the most vulnerable children.

The VAT rise and the Coalition’s cuts will also have an adverse impact. As things stand, of the 1.5 million children abused and neglected in Britain, around 547,000 are referred to social services, and only 37,900 could be protected by a child protection plan; social services have a crippling lack of resources and workers.

It has come to a point where some have even been forced to set up ruthless quotas, according to founder of KidsCo Camilla Batmanghelidjh, where they will intervene if a child has been raped, but not if they have been sexually abused without penetration. Further cuts to the already emaciated social services budget will be crippling, but cuts in other areas will of course take their toll too.

Cutting Sure Start, and the support to parents and children who so desperately need it, will be catastrophic, and will unquestionably lead to an increase in neglect of young children. The VAT rise, job losses, cuts to schools, health etc. will also put more children in danger of abuse, neglect, malnutrition, homelessness, and all of the things which should have no place in an affluent society.

However, mention of child protection was omitted from the Coalition Agreement and ignored by both parties’ manifestos, as in the election campaign: we know Cameron “met a black man”, and plenty of people worried about anti social behavior, but apparently none of the leaders met a vulnerable child.

Have the Government considered the effect of their policies on these children, who outnumber membership of the three political parties combined, and the entire Sikh population of Europe? We cannot know, but what we do know is that we cannot trust them to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.

That Labour are out of power, does not mean that we should stop fighting to reduce child poverty, and protect the vulnerable – and a good place to start is Kids Company’s Peace of mind campaign. The charity have created a giant virtual brain, in which you can buy a neuron for £5, upload pictures, write messages, and join groups with others who have joined. So far the list includes Stephen Fry, Helen Mirren, Ruby Wax and many others.

It’s already being Tweeted by Kerry McCarthy, and John McDonnell has agreed to help out as well; you could hardly be in better company.

12 Responses to “How will vulnerable children fare under the Coalition’s cuts?”

  1. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd How will vulnerable children fare under the Coalition's cuts? http://bit.ly/a3LSQ7

  2. David Baines

    http://bit.ly/a3LSQ7 From left foot forward, re child protection. How will govt secure social services care for children? Lab should ask.

  3. LockPickerNet

    How will vulnerable children fare under the Coalition's cuts? http://bit.ly/a3LSQ7 via @leftfootfwd

  4. Arthur Woody Baker

    RT @leftfootfwd: How will vulnerable children fare under the Coalition's cuts? http://bit.ly/a3LSQ7

  5. Rachael

    RT @HouseofTwits: RT @leftfootfwd How will vulnerable children fare under the Coalition's cuts? http://bit.ly/a3LSQ7

  6. ruby

    How will vulnerable children fare under the Coalition's cuts …: About one in ten children in the UK suffer abuse… http://bit.ly/9pSBuE

  7. Robert

    How do you protect children under cuts, well the first would be to not vote labour anymore, if you tax the lowest paid then sadly you remove more money from them labours 10p tax policy, I know this might come as a shock to people but labour cut income support well in fact they stopped it. Welfare reforms do not help, I know this is shocking but disabled people have children, I’m sure labour would have ended that as well in the future. New labour cut poverty, my ass

  8. Jake

    Didn’t Labour lift 8,000,000 children out of poverty, along with 1,000,000 pensioners?

  9. Sally

    @Robert, of course Labour are the best party to cut child poverty, do you think the Tory/Lib Dems would be better? If you do you will be proved wrong over and over again in the next few years!

  10. John77

    Just how can you blame a VAT rise that does not start until next year (and from which charities are, in any case, exempt) for worsening child poverty now?
    New Labour’s legacy is, according to your own quotation – “About one in ten children in the UK suffer abuse or neglect, according to figures by charity Kids Company, who work to protect the capital’s homeless, abused, and vulnerable children. One child is killed every week by abuse from parents/guardians”
    As you are 17, all your “education, education, education” has been under New Labour so maybe no-one thought it necessary or desirable to teach you to read or to think …

  11. Arthur

    Cutting John, I’m not blaming today’s child abuse figures on the VAT rise, I am saying that they will be exacerbated by it. Not because it will take money from the charity, but because parents who can barely afford to support their children as things stand will have even less money.

    Today’s child abuse figures, and child poverty figures are bad, whilst new Labour failed to eradicate child poverty, they certainly reduced it.
    And for the record, education, education, education, will be sending me to university along with thousands of other students, many of whom (though not me I confess) would probably have never gone to university, you smarmy git.

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