300 children attacked by own parents in North Wales
POLICE have dealt with more than 300 incidents of children being attacked by their own parents in the last five years, new figures have revealed.
A Freedom of Information request to North Wales Police has shown officers were called to 83 separate incidents last year – the highest number since 2006.
The force said the recorded incidents covered children under 14 who are registered as the child of the offender, which also cover step-parents.
The number of incidents was relatively high in 2006 at 73, but dropped during the next three years with 39 in 2007, 55 in 2008 and 63 in 2009 before peaking in 2010.
The news comes as social services chiefs at Flintshire Council warn of an increase in domestic violence due to the recession and benefits reform.
Carol Salmon, director of social services for children, said that she was expecting more names to appear on the county’s child protection register, which monitors youngsters at risk of physical, mental and sexual abuse, thanks to government cuts.
There are 103 children on the list at the moment, with 93 under 10 years old.
Cllr Carol Ellis, Flintshire’s executive member for social services, said people do not yet realise the full impact of the cutbacks, which will leave many families in poverty – leading to an increase in domestic violence.
She added: “Poverty inevitably leads to an increase in domestic violence incidents, especially when parents are struggling to make ends meet.”
Flintshire’s social services department is currently battling against budget pressures as part of the council’s drive to save £13 million in the next financial year.
Cllr Ellis added: “The average Premier League footballer earns more in a year than the entire social services budget at Flintshire Council – there is definitely something wrong with the system.”
North Wales Police says that it has robust measures in place to help children who have been harmed by their parents.
In response to a Freedom of Information request about the force procedure when a child under the age of 14 reports such incidents, a police spokesman said: “All such reports are conducted in line with the All Wales Child Protection Procedures 2008.
“These procedures are produced on behalf of all local safeguarding boards in Wales.”
The county’s Youth Justice Service, which works with young offenders, is also facing heavy cuts.