10 December 2020
The Government and the Safeguarding Partnership Board are today re-launching the “Eyes and Ears” campaign to focus on safeguarding concerns and signposting where Islanders can access support in order to keep children, adults and families safe during the increased COVID-19 winter restrictions.
There is a concern that vulnerable children and adults will be at greater risk over the festive period, as invisibility increases vulnerability.
In addition to the well-known stresses and strains that some families and individuals experience over Christmas and New Year, the greater restictions due to COVID-19 could also trigger increased pressures and anxiety within the home environment, heightening the levels of risk to those who can be the subject of abuse.
The joint initiative brings together the Departments for Children, Young People Education and Skills and Justice and Home Affairs, Safeguarding Partnership, the States of Jersey Police, and Family Nursing and Home Care to encourage Islanders to work together to keep everyone at heightened risk safe and in sight.
It will cover domestic abuse, child sexual abuse/exploitation, sudden unexpected death in infancy, online safety for children/young people, neglect and sexual assault.
Sarah Elliott, Pan Island Independent Chair, Safeguarding Partnerships, commented:
"The winter months and on-going COVID-19 restrictions mean we’re all spending more time indoors when harm to children, young people and vulnerable adults can go unseen. We all have a part to play if we’re concerned about someone’s safety, and services are available throughout the festive period to provide the necessary follow up and support."
Detective Superintendent, Stewart Gull, Vice Chair of the Safeguarding Children’s Board, added: “Safeguarding is everyone’s business and we want to ensure that family members, neighbours and friends have the courage to make a call and report suspected abuse to the appropriate service, or if you have concerns for someone’s welfare.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to support and protect the vulnerable children and adults in our Island community: for victims of abuse, sadly their home is not always the safe haven it should be. And it is vital that those in need, victims and their families are able to access the right help and support during this time.”
The Children and Families Hub has now been in operation for over six months, and during that time has responded to over 1,600 calls, emails and requests from children, young people and families, members of the public and professionals. The Hub continues to develop in response to the changing picture of need in Jersey.
The Youth Enquiry Service (YES) has also helped to support hundreds of young people throughout the year, with free counselling support and advice.
Director General of Children, Young People, Education and Skills, Mark Rogers, said: "Everyone involved in promoting the welfare, protection and care of the vulnerable – children and adults alike – has worked extremely hard in the face of unprecedented challenges to support the most vulnerable throughout the year.
"As we go through another tough period in the lead up to Christmas it is especially important that those most vulnerable continue to receive the services and support they need.
"It is vitally important that we all work together as a community to continue to safeguard children, young people and their families, especially at this time of year.”
Members of the public who are concerned for the welfare of an individual should report their concerns to the following services: