Use of Restraint in Schools
Recently there has been increased scrutiny of the poor treatment of children and young people with learning disabilities and/or autism. This report by the Challenging Behaviour Foundation based on information gathered from over 700 families, identifies injuries to children including bruises (ranging in size and severity), abrasions, scratches, head injuries, cuts and broken bones as a result of restraint, seclusion and other restrictive interventions in schools across the UK. Some families have discovered that their children have been restrained multiple times at school, without their knowledge as schools are not required to record or report instances of restraint or seclusion and do not have to inform families.
This has led to the Equality Human Rights Commission to launch a formal inquiry into how schools are monitoring and recording their use of restraint, following widespread concerns about its use and the lack of data available.
Children’s Mental Health
Although the NHS has made significant improvements, the current system is still far away from adequately meeting the needs of all of the estimated 12.8% of children in England with mental health problems – or the many more children who fall just below the threshold for clinical diagnosis. The recent report from the Children’s Commissioner shows:
- On average children are waiting just under 8 weeks
- Treatment varies hugely across the country.
- Children account for 20% of the population, but only 10% of total mental health spending
- Out of 195 CCGs in England, 161 increased spending on CYPMHS (per child) in 2018/19
- Consequently, the Children’s Commissioner has sent formal statutory notices to a number of areas which national data indicates are lagging behind other areas of the country.
Sexual Abuse of Disabled Children
Research has shown that children and young people who are in care or leaving care, and those who have learning difficulties, are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse. The Child Sexual Abuse Centre was commissioned to undertake interviews with a sample of 10 young people with learning difficulties, and a further 10 young people with experience of being in care, who had accessed CSA support services. The key messages from young people included the need for a consistent practitioner to overcome young people’s anxiety around change.
Child Sexual Exploitation – Parents Views
This report by provides those working with children who may be sexually exploited a helpful insight into the views of parents. They encourage social care professionals to see them as the solution not the problem.