Death of Bradford boy Hamzah Khan sparks surge in reports of child neglect, says NSPCC (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Death of Bradford boy Hamzah Khan sparks surge in reports of child neglect, says NSPCC
6:00am Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
A national children’s charity says the horrific ordeal of a Bradford four-year-old boy who was starved to death by his mother has sparked a dramatic surge in reports of child neglect.
The killing of Hamzah Khan, whose mummified body was found in a travel cot at his mother’s home in September 2011, has been cited as one of two cases that have triggered an increase in calls to the NSPCC, along with the death of Daniel Pelka in Coventry.
Hamzah’s mum Amanda Hutton, 43, was jailed for 15 years this month when she was found guilty by a jury at Bradford Crown Court of the manslaughter of her son, who had died at the then family home in Heaton almost two years before.
Figures published by the charity reveal it received 50,989 contacts from members of the public who were worried about children’s welfare last year – a rise of 15 per cent on the previous year.
And its free 24-hour helpline dealt with reports involving 18,345 children who were being so badly neglected they had to be referred to social services or police for further investigation.
Councillor Ralph Berry, Bradford Council’s member for children’s services, said it was a “well-known fact” that the number of calls to report neglect increased after any serious case which received a high level of media attention.
But he said it was too soon to know if a similar trend would be reported by social services staff in Bradford.
“I’m satisfied at the moment we have more frontline staff than we did two years ago. This will bring pressure, I can’t deny that, but safeguarding is something we do day in and day out.
“It is our job to assess the information that we get in an efficient manner and it’s my job to make sure we can resource that.”
John Cameron, NSPCC head of child protection operations, said the deaths of Hamza and Daniel were “at the most severe end of neglect”. But he added: “There are thousands of other children who are suffering and many of whom are not old enough to go to school.
“We know when things are financially tough it can lead to greater stress, which means more cases come to the attention of already over-stretched social services.
“One way in which we can all protect children and prevent abuse from happening is to share information.
“We want to support and advise anyone working with children and enable them to take urgent action when necessary.”
Anyone with information about child neglect can contact the NSPCC on 0808 8005000, text 88858 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Calls can be anonymous.