Action for Children comments on schools reopening: Children at risk of abuse ‘trapped behind closed doors’ and ‘missing from the debate’

Imran Hussain, director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, said:

"There are many incredibly difficult decisions to be made around schooling to make sure everyone stays safe. But our most vulnerable children, those at risk of abuse and neglect, are trapped behind closed doors and are missing from the debate. We know teachers play a vital role in raising red flags when they see something is not right at home, but simply cannot do this when families are locked away.

“Without these eyes and ears looking and listening out for them, children who may be risk will be missing out on crucial help before problems spiral out of control – we must get them back to school as soon as it’s safe for them to return. Throughout the crisis, our frontline workers have been doing doorstop visits at a safe distance to give us eyes on families we know are at risk, but local authorities urgently need support in finding and helping more of these children.

"The best way to help these children who are at risk and out of sight during lockdown is for the government to support funding for councils to reach them as soon as possible through local services. And in the meantime all sides must find a way for these children to get back to school safely so teachers can play their part in protecting them.”