AN INCREASE in reports to child protection services in Portsmouth is linked to a ‘greater awareness’ of the issues and warning signs, the council has said.
Between April 2017 and March 2018 there were more than 20,000 reports to the city’s multi-agency safeguarding hub regarding 10,905 children, with most of these resulting in assessments.
Figures from the most recent Portsmouth Safeguarding Children Board (PSCB) report also revealed that referrals to children and families services were up 12 per cent from the previous year and the number of children on a child protection plan had increased by 19 per cent.
The most drastic changes were the number of victims of trafficking which jumped up by 317 per cent with 50 known to the council, and the number of children linked to high risk domestic incidents, up by 122 per cent.
A spokesman for the PSCB believed this was due to how these situations were handled. ‘Our responsibility to safeguard some of the city’s most vulnerable residents increases as we better understand issues such as criminal and sexual exploitation of children,’ they said.
‘Greater awareness of emerging safeguarding issues often results in an increase in referrals, meaning that more children, young people and families have access to the right services at the right time.’
Reports were made to Portsmouth’s safeguarding hub which brings children’s services together.
The PSCB spokesperson added: ‘The multi-agency safeguarding hub is the single point of contact for all safeguarding concerns regarding children and young people living in Portsmouth.
‘It brings together expert professionals from services that have contact with children, young people and families, and makes the best possible use of their combined knowledge to keep children safe from harm.
‘It is made up of a team including children’s social care, police, health, education, probation, adult social care, mental health and others. The benefit is that they can quickly share information and make decisions as to the required level of intervention.’
The report also showed that although the number of looked after rose significantly between 2017 and 2018, from 358 to 419, 100 per cent of these children are in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ placements.
It detailed that there was a reduction in the number of children being reported missing three times in 90 day period, down from 201 in 2016 and 2017 to 144 in 2017 to 2018.
There were no reported incidents of female genital mutilation or forced marriage during 2017 and 2018.