Look out for vulnerable people

PEOPLE across Inverclyde are being urged to keep an eye out for vulnerable children and adults during the coronavirus crisis.

With schools, nurseries and day care centres currently closed to help minimise the spread of Covid-19, social isolation poses a potential threat for ‘at risk’ members of the community.

Coronavirus protect yourself and others

People across the district are being encouraged to play their part and be vigilant to the signs of abuse, harm and neglect at this challenging time and report anything untoward.

Some core services are still running and help is at hand from the likes of Inverclyde Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP) and the Inverclyde Child Protection Committee, which work in partnership with Inverclyde Council.

The risk of harm is greatest for children under the age of five and those living in households where there is domestic abuse and substance abuse.

Councillor Stephen McCabe, Leader of Inverclyde Council and Cosla’s spokesperson for children and young people, said: “There is a myriad of supports in Inverclyde who play a central role in contributing to the safety of all local children, especially those who may be at risk of abuse and neglect.

“The situation we are in is unprecedented and the impact upon children and families, beyond the immediate health implications presented by the pandemic, are difficult to predict.

“The repercussions of social isolation will fall hardest on our most vulnerable children as ‘home’ is where some children are most at risk.

“When children are not at school or nursery, or when those who are struggling with addictions or mental health issues experience a disruption to their support network, the safety net that we have in place for families is severely compromised.

“Without this safety net some families who have previously coped will struggle. Children will not receive the daily stimulation and respite provided by being in school and nursery, and services’ ability to monitor and respond to children’s wellbeing on a daily basis will be reduced - and this affects many protective services.

“There is a concern vulnerable children may become invisible to services just when their families come under unprecedented strain. We are being forced to think differently and are making every effort possible to support those children and families who may need it during these demanding times.”

The public are also being urged to keep their eyes and ears open for older members of the community who may also be at risk and pick up the phone to the authorities should they have any concerns.

Councillor Robert Moran, Inverclyde Council’s Convener of Health & Social Care, said: “The people of Inverclyde always provide a significant protective factor for children and the elderly and that’s even more important at a time when families may be under significant additional stress.

“If you’re at all worried about a child or older person’s welfare it’s always better to say something than do nothing.”

Older people across Inverclyde are advised to seek help from a family member, friend or neighbour who they know and trust or from existing and trusted community groups.

They are also being encouraged not to open their door to anyone they are not sure about and report any concerns to the police.

Anyone with concerns about a child should phone 01475 715365 between 9am -5pm weekdays, call the out-of-hours number on 0300 343 1505 from 5pm to 9am.

To contact Inverclyde Adult Social Services, phone 01475 715010 or 0300 342 1505 out-of-hours.

Alternatively, phone Police Scotland on 101 or 999 if there is an emergency.

For more information about child and adult protection in Inverclyde, visit www.inverclyde.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/public-protection and for the latest Inverclyde Council coronavirus updates, log on to www.inverclyde.gov.uk/coronavirus.