Part Seven: Chief Executive of WillisPalmer on child poverty and child abuse
The impact of Covid-19 on victims of domestic abuse, is perhaps best summarised in a recent speech given by the Duchess of Cornwall, who said: "This is a hard time for everyone, as we are all asked to stay at home to stay safe. But for some of you it is even harder, because home is not a safe place.” In the final part of an exclusive series for The Parliamentary Review, Chief Executive of WillisPalmer, Mark Willis, investigates the knock-on effects of lock down on already over stretched social work and NHS departments.
Children’s services – which are currently depleted and running on skeleton staff, while those with underlying health conditions are on self-isolation for 12 weeks – are undoubtedly going to be flooded with referrals amid Covid-19.
This is not only as a result of the rise in domestic abuse we have witnessed three weeks into lockdown, but also includes people needing help for substance misuse problems, reports of children being abused and neglected, and being left in unsafe situations. Overstretched social work departments are currently fire-fighting the most extreme cases and picking up the children who do not meet the thresholds for CAMHs intervention.
The impact of this influx is likely to take its toll on stressed and burned out social workers and NHS staff, while the long-term ramifications on the economy raise separate issues with businesses going under and increased poverty which goes hand in hand with child abuse and neglect.
So, while many of us are hoping for a reprieve of lockdown within three months, its legacy is likely to be felt in children’s services and the NHS for many years to come.
It has been well documented that the next generation will bear the brunt of the impact of the coronavirus on our economy. However, a well-staffed and resourced National Health Service and social care service will be paramount in ensuring their health and emotional wellbeing are resilient enough to weather the storm.