Mental health support for child victims of abuse is inadequate, says NSPCC

Local health bodies are failing to provide for the mental health needs of abused children, a charity has said.

NSPCC estimated that more than a million children in England who have been abused or neglected are living in an area with inadequate planning for their mental health needs.

The charity analysed local mental health strategies and concluded that the majority had not properly planned to cater for these vulnerable youngsters.

It said 88% of clinical commissioning groups’ (CCGs) mental health plans failed to properly plan for the needs of abused children.

The charity gave traffic light scores to all 195 CCGs in England and 146 were rated amber and 21 were red.

It said this means that an estimated 1.3 million abused children in England are living in an area with inadequate plans – or no plan – for their mental health needs.

Almudena Lara, NSPCC’s head of policy and public affairs, said: “Our analysis shows that there are CCGs across England that are still not properly planning for the mental health needs of abused children and young people.

“It is crucial these children are supported to get back on track and lead healthy lives.

“In future we want to see more CCGs not only recognise the needs of these children, but go further and ensure services are there to support them.”

An NHS England spokesman said: “As we pointed out very clearly last year, it is wrong to jump to the conclusion that children are not being cared for based on these plans, as they only set out some priorities local areas have agreed and are not an exhaustive list of services available.

“It is their duty to have other protocols and safeguarding practices in place for supporting victims of abuse.

“As part of the long-term plan for the NHS, mental health services are undergoing a significant expansion.

“By 2020/21 an additional 70,000 children and young people will have received treatment and this year we published comprehensive guidance for sexual abuse services.”

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