Charity call over child protection

CALLS have been made to make sure frontline spending for social services is protected by the Welsh Assembly.

NSPCC Cymru/Wales launched its I Stand For Children campaign in Llantrisant, South Wales, today.

It aims to make a fundamental difference to the lives of vulnerable children and young people in Wales.

Campaigners are urging voters to contact their local candidates standing in the Welsh Assembly elections in May to commit to three child protection measures.

NSPCC Cymru/Wales head of service Des Mannion wants ministers to protect frontline funding for social services, make sure the Assembly helps tackle child neglect and that youngsters are protected from abuse in all sports settings.

He said: “We need to make sure the next elected Welsh Assembly Government keeps child protection high on its list of priorities.

“With one in five children and young people in Wales having experienced abuse or neglect, it is vital that we have policies and government services in place to help protect vulnerable children and young people.

“Given the current financial challenges we face, we also need to ensure that frontline services continue to receive adequate funding.

“We are calling on everyone in Wales to get behind our campaign.

“The more people we can get to lobby their election candidates, the more chance we have of success.’’ The campaign, unveiled at Llantrisant Squash Club, has already been backed by Wales international rugby player Martyn Williams.

He said: “During my rugby career, I’ve had my fair share of broken bones and black eyes. Taking the hits is part and parcel of the game. But I can’t understand how anyone could hit a child, especially when I look at my own two children.

“Protecting our children simply must continue to be up there on the next Assembly Government’s list of priorities. That’s why I stand for children and I hope that others will do the same in the run up to the election.’’ The campaign comes after AMs recently took part in a debate banning smacking in Wales.

Labour’s Christine Chapman said the Welsh Assembly Government needed to put pressure on Westminster to redraft The Children Act – which allows mild smacking under a “reasonable chastisement’’ defence against common assault.

During a meeting of the Children and Young People Committee last week, Mrs Chapman, Assembly Member for Cynon Valley, said: “It’s not about going soft on discipline – this is looking at alternative forms of discipline and setting boundaries.

“I would therefore add to my voice for the Welsh Assembly Government to continue to put pressure to remove this clause of the Children Act.’’ Members of the public, and election candidates, can get involved in the NSPCC’s campaign by registering their support online at