As National Children First Awareness Week begins, ISPCC warmly welcomes this important initiative being supported by government departments and statutory bodies with responsibility for safeguarding children.
The campaign week launched by Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman aims to raise awareness of Children First legislation and guidance, which promotes the protection of children from abuse and neglect and sets out best practice for safeguarding children.
ISPCC Chief Executive John Church said: “The abuse and wilful neglect of children is wrong. We all have a role to play in stopping it – and preventing it from occurring in the first instance.
“We know from our services that too many children and young people across Ireland today continue to be subjected to such abhorrent crimes. They have a devastating impact, which can endure long after the abuse and neglect has stopped.
“It is imperative that each of us recognises the vital role we can play in helping to keep children safe from harm. This was clearly highlighted as soon as Covid-19 pandemic restrictions were introduced in Ireland in 2020. At a time when children were cut off from school, sports and activities, extended family members and other supports, child welfare referrals to the Child and Family Agency Tusla reduced significantly.
“Now that many of the supports, clubs and community groups with which our children engage are resumed, National Children First Awareness Week is highlighting our collective responsibility to children. As the Children First Act requires, it is essential that organisations entrusted with the care of children have robust child protection policies in place and that these are upheld by every individual within an organisation.
“An awareness campaign of this nature is very welcome and is something we at ISPCC would like to see take place every year, to ensure this issue is kept to the fore of everyone’s minds. Children’s safeguarding ought to be an ongoing priority for all of us interested in making our society the best place it can be for children to grow up in and thrive.
“Child protection is everyone’s responsibility. If any individual has concerns in relation to the safety or welfare of a child or young person, they must make these known to Tusla or to An Garda Síochána.”
ISPCC’s Parenting Support Line provides a listening service, advice and support to parents, carers, or members of the public who contact the service on any issue in relation to child protection and welfare. It can be contacted by emailing [email protected] or between 9am – 1pm Monday – Friday by calling 01 522 4300.
ISPCC’s Childline Listening Service is always available to any child or young person wishing to speak about any issue on their mind. It can be contacted for free and in confidence online at Childline.ie, or by calling 1800 66 66 66.