COVID-19 pushes children’s safeguarding issues under the radar
The focus on the pandemic means safeguarding tragedies often do not get the attention they deserve
COVID-19 has so far not had a severe effect on the physical health of infants, children, and young people as was initially feared, but it will have a long-lasting legacy. Children are uniquely vulnerable to isolation and school closure.
Many have lost out on peer socialisation and vital early years education; some have been trapped at home with dysfunctional families and limited support from social services; others have lost older family members and are struggling with grief.
Successfully emerging from the lockdown may prove as problematic as the enduring of it. As we has focused on the pandemic, situations that would have attracted the attention of the wider children’s nursing community have slipped below the radar.
Failings in safeguarding contributed to Jason Moodie’s death
Among these was the publication in May of the serious case review of Jaden Moodie. Jaden was 14 when he was killed last year by members of a gang. The tragic circumstances of his death were matched by the failings in his safeguarding care.
Jaden had shown considerable promise during his early years, but his family circumstances were complex and he became embroiled in a deviant youth subculture. His family were loving but struggled to safeguard him, and professionals missed opportunities to try and turn his life around.
One incident involved a police raid when he was found, then aged 13, dealing drugs. A safeguarding concern was raised but he was returned to his family. The review states that insufficient action was taken. No doubt lessons will be learned, but this case should remind children’s nurses on the front line that every contact counts.
School nurses and nurses working in walk-in and emergency departments may have had concerns that, if escalated, would avert similar tragic situations.
Find out more
- Brooks S, Webster R, Smith L et al (2020) The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence
- Department for Education (2020) If You Think it, Report It
- Waltham Forest Safeguarding Children Board (2020) Serious Case Review. Child C: A 14 Year Old Boy
- The Jaden Moodie Movement
Doreen Crawford is consultant editor of Nursing Children and Young People