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'Demand for CAMHS services is increasing to the point where the system itself is overwhelmed. This vastly underfunded service is leading to children and young people receiving unequal service; there’s a lack of crisis access, they’re facing long waiting times and some vulnerable children are being treated on adult psychiatric wards. We are particularly concerned about those at greatest risk, including disabled children, children deprived of parental care and those who have been affected by abuse and neglect. We need adequate funding but also investment in universal preventative and early intervention children’s service to curb the increase in mental ill health among children.'
'As a society we are beginning to wake up to the prevalence of child sexual exploitation and abuse and the damage it causes after many years of denial. As it cuts across class, ethnic and geographical boundaries, it is not surprising that the disturbing reports of abuse we have sadly become accustomed to hearing about in England have been mirrored across the UK. The UK Government has made child sexual exploitation an issue of national security which is to be welcomed but this now needs to lead to real change in every community including determined action to prevent child sexual abuse linked to the family. This needs to be an urgent priority for the UK Government.
Tens of thousands of children continue to suffer in silence because the true scale of abuse is unknown. The sharp increase in recorded sexual offences against children we have seen recently may be because of better detection, rather than more abuse and neglect but from our ongoing work in this area in England, we know that the vast majority of victims of child sexual abuse never come to the attention of the authorities. Professionals who work with children must get better at identifying and protecting children across the UK must be a national priority for every one of us.'
'Although levels of offending by children and young people have reduced the youth justice systems across the United Kingdom have been found wanting in a number of areas. Yet again the Westminster Government and the devolved administrations have ignored the UN Committee’s call to raise the age of criminal responsibility.
Also, custody is clearly not being used as a last resort it should be and certain groups are over represented in our custodial facilities particularly Black Minority and Ethnic young people in England and Wales and young people who have been in care.
There are more effective ways of addressing the issue of youth offending such as early intervention, community disposals and restorative justice and we call on government to divert resources to this area.'