Everyone in Orkney should keep their Eyes Open for children at risk during the school holidays.
In the week that Orkney schools sound the end of term bell, Child Protection Committees across Scotland are encouraging the public across the whole country to be extra observant to help protect potentially vulnerable children when school’s out for summer.
Child Protection Committees Scotland, a nation-wide grouping of child protection professionals, hopes their Eyes Open campaign will raise awareness that members of the public can play an important role to keep children safe from harm in the holidays. The group believes that everyone is responsible for child welfare in Scotland.
Independent Chair of the Orkney Child Protection Committee Andrew Lowe said: “Orkney children are about to take their annual summer break. For most local children this is a happy time filled with fun, but for some families the summer holiday is a time of increased stress and pressure. Some children are not supervised or cared for adequately, others might even experience serious neglect.”
By taking an Eyes Open approach, Orkney’s own child protection committee hope that members of the public will take a more active, watchful role when it comes to protecting children on the islands, and take action if they’re concerned for a child’s wellbeing. Andrew Lowe is clear that each and every one of us has a role to play in keeping our youngsters safe.
“By keeping our eyes open and our other senses tuned in, we might spot the telltale signs that a child is at risk. Signs might include young children wandering about at all times of day and night, children who are very dirty or unfed. Unsupervised children might be seen going into “party” flats, parents may appear drunk in charge of them.
If something doesn’t seem quite right for a child, or a family of children, it is better to say something than do nothing.”
Not only does the campaign support a public Eyes Open approach, it also encourages us to speak up instead of staying silent. Anyone who has concerns about a child or children can ask the child if they’re okay, offer the family some support, or contact Orkney Islands Council’s social work department, or the police.