THE number of maltreated children in England could be as much as 90 per cent higher than official figures show, claims a University of Huddersfield expert, the author of a wide-ranging new book on UK child protection policies.
Nigel Parton who is Professor of Applied Childhood Studies at the University calls for a broad-based, sensitive and responsive set of policies, in contrast to the "punitive set of interventions" that he argues have been adopted by the present government.
A series of well-respected "prevalence studies" based on interviews suggests that as few as 10 per cent of cases of child abuse come to the notice of official agencies, said Professor Parton, although the aftermath of the Jimmy Saville revelations has resulted in a greater readiness to talk about cases of abuse.
"The fact that it is now more possible for people to come forward must be seen as helpful. But I think Government grossly oversimplifies the nature of the problems and is increasingly taking a very punitive set of interventions that are likely to be short-term measures, not long-term solutions," said Professor Parton, whose new book is The Politics of Child Protection, published by Palgrave Macmillan.
It examines the developments and changes of policies from the post-war years to the present day, with the impact of cases such as that of Baby P being analysed. Professor Parton's roster of publications includes three other books dealing with official policy. The latest was Safeguarding Childhood in 2006. But there had been such sweeping changes since then that he realised a completely new book, rather than a revised edition, was needed.
Government cuts in services
The formation of the Coalition Government in 2010 led to cutbacks in many services, such as Sure Start children's centres and the axing of the broad-ranging initiative known as Every Child Matters. The changes were motivated by both aus
|Contact: Nicola Werritt|
University of Huddersfield