The Welsh Government and children and young people’s organisations across Wales are urging the public to help keep children safe through the coronavirus pandemic.
Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, and experts from leading children’s organisations have provided a joint statement including a list of five services that are still providing support throughout the lockdown.
Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, said:
I want to give a clear message that our children’s services are available and open as usual to anyone that needs support. This is why today we have issued a joint statement with the NSPCC, Children in Wales, and the Youth Work Board affirming that we must all take responsibility for keeping our children safe.
1. Call 101
If you’re worried about a child or young person in your family or community, please call 101.
2. Meic Cymru
The Meic helpline service for children and young people up to the age of 25 in Wales is still available during the coronavirus lockdown. Meic also works with, and compliments, other advice services and helplines - such as ChildLine - which have a prominent safeguarding role.
Meic is open 8am until midnight, seven days a week and provides a confidential, anonymous and free service.
You can freephone 080880 23456, text 84001 or visit meiccymru.org.
The NSPCC helpline continues to provide support for adults who have a concern about a child or young person. There is a range of resources available at nspcc.org.uk/coronavirus. You can also call 0808 800 5000 or email email@example.com.
Childline continues to be there for children, online or on the phone at anytime. You can call 0800 1111, between 9am and 12am or email through the website childline.org.uk
5. The Welsh Government
The Welsh Government has set up a dedicated safeguarding webpage to provide support to children and adults throughout the coronavirus crisis. The website explains what you can do if you suspect someone is at risk of harm, abuse or neglect and provides lines that allow you to report concerns online. You can find out more at gov.wales/reporting-suspected-abuse-harm-or-neglect-safeguarding
The Deputy Minister continued:
From the outset of the coronavirus in Wales, the Welsh Government and partners across all sectors have focussed on ensuring that children and young people are as safe as possible.
As the pandemic continues, the scale and potential consequences on individuals and society are starting to emerge.
As a government we are doing all that is within our powers to check and mitigate the impact.
I want to give a clear message that our children’s services are available and open as usual to anyone that needs support.
Vivienne Lang, Policy and Public Affairs Manager for NSPCC Wales, said:
Family life has changed overnight, and sadly, home isn’t a safe place for every child. With schools closed, many vulnerable children are at risk.
Adults concerned about a child are increasingly contacting the NSPCC Helpline and more children are reaching out to Childline worried about the coronavirus.
The NSPCC is still here providing services for children and families who need us.
Keith Towler, chair of the Interim Youth Work board, said:
During the pandemic I have been incredibly impressed by the work and dedication of youth workers across the maintained and third sector in Wales.
The youth service in Wales is placing safeguarding at the heart of its response as it works to respond to the needs of young people during this challenging time.
It is important that we get information and messaging for young people right so we are able as a sector to respond to their concerns.
Sean O’Neill, Policy Director at Children in Wales, said:
Our message is clear. If you need help, seek help. If you know someone who needs help, or are concerned about someone, then seek help today.
So many incredible services have responded with energy and determination to help ensure that children remain safe from harm at this crucial time. They are there, ready and willing to provide advice, care, comfort and support.
We must all be extra vigilant and aim to make sure that no child suffers under this pandemic.