House Of Lords Debate – Heath: Children & Young People

We’re delighted that there appears to be growing support for some of the recommendations in our Founder, Professor Andrew Rowland’s report, ‘Living On A Railway Line’.

The British Medical Association recently voted to adopt the following new policies derived from Andrew’s report:

To support an enhancement of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Pro-bono Medical Panel (“Panel”) to cover child protection issues, and:

i) to note that the BMA were involved in the creation of the original Medical Pro-bono Panel

ii) to mandate the BMA to work with appropriate stakeholders to try to secure this enhancement to the Panel

and:

To express great concern about the adverse effects of child abuse, including child sexual exploitation, and:

i) condemn the abuse or maltreatment of children in all circumstances

ii) highlight the need for communities to do more to support and protect children

iii) call for standardised child protection training programmes for all professionals dealing with children and families

iv) call for a Health Needs Assessment to be undertaken in relation to child maltreatment in the UK

v) in principle, to support the introduction of “Mandatory Reporting” child abuse legislation and insist that any introduction is scientifically evaluated

vi) recommend that organisations working in the community on child abuse prevention programmes should incorporate material related to Adverse Childhood Experiences (“ACEs”)

vii) insist that, following the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, statutory guidance, education and training for appropriate professionals, must be provided.

Introducing a debate in the House Of Lords today, 7 July 2015, attended by Lord Prior, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for NHS Productivity, Baroness Hollins gave a speech about children and young people’s health, reminding the noble Lords “that most factors that influence child and adolescent physical and mental health lie outside the health sector and that a preventive approach is essential to secure the best outcomes”.

The Baroness continued by highlighting that so many children in the UK have been sexually abused and that the scale of child abuse of all forms is shocking.

We welcome Lady Hollins’ comments as they clearly reflect the reality of the world today for children and young people who live in our global society. We are delighted that such a debate is taking place at the highest level of government.

Lady Hollins posed a series of questions to Lord Prior, asking the noble Minister to commit to focusing on preventive measures in all policy relating to children and young people, targeted at high-risk individuals and families and at a public health level.

Given the Prime Minister’s launch of a child protection task force, Lady Hollins also asked the Minister to commit to commissioning and introducing a standardised, compulsory multiprofessional safeguarding training programme for all professionals working with children and families across health and social care.

We commend Baroness Hollins for posing questions which get to the very core of the issues for children and young people and those who work with them and their families.

We eagerly await a comprehensive response from the noble Minister’s department.

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