THE ESSEX Safeguarding Children Board (ESCB) annual conference looked in more detail at the changes to child protection law, which now recognises sustained emotional abuse that causes psychological harm as a crime.
The new law was welcomed by guest speaker Collette Elliott, who was instrumental in the campaign to change the law.
Still haunted by her own childhood neglect, she told the conference: “No child should have to go through what I went through.
"Changing the law was crucial, but it is still so important for professionals to recognise the signs of abuse and understand the damage that long-term neglect can have on the rest of that child’s life.”
Tracey Harman from Essex Police spoke about the impact of the law in Essex: “The recent change in the law means we can respond far more robustly to issues of emotional abuse.
“It is also crucial to recognise how hugely important it is to listen to the views of the child.”
Leading expert, Professor Ray Jones explained in his keynote: “We know neglect is an issue and we know the impact it can have on a child’s development but we still need more awareness.
I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to talk face to face with professionals about this important topic.”
Practitioners at the conference were able to attend workshops on different areas of neglect, which were delivered by experts in the field and focussed on local issues, allowing practitioners to share experiences and come away with practical tools to aid their work in the County.
Eighteen local agencies joined the day to display materials in the exhibition space, allowing practitioners to network and pick up new signposting tools for service users.
Simon Hart, independent chair said: “Neglect is so often hidden, or not recognised as abuse, but with a clear law now in place we have a better opportunity to act early, and help avoid the pain of emotional abuse that can have lifelong implications.”
Cllr Madden, councillor for children and adults said: “In Essex we’re committed to raising the awareness of child neglect with both professionals and the public. This ‘invisible abuse’ can be uncovered if people are vigilant to the signs.”