Over 200 children in the Southern Trust suffer neglect, physical or sexual abuse

Almost 400 children on child protection register in Southern Trust
Almost 400 children on child protection register in Southern Trust

Over half of children from the Southern Trust on the Child Protection Register were suffering from some form of physical abuse.

The child protection register is a confidential list of all children in the area who have been identified as being at significant risk of harm.

The reason for any child being placed on the register is due to neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or a combination of these factors.

According to figures released by the Public Health Agency, the highest proportion of abuse in the Southern Trust falls in the physical abuse category with 143 of the 393 cases on the register in December 2014 due to this risk factor.

A further 63 cases were added due to a combination of neglect, sexual abuse, and physical abuse.

Sexual abuse accounted for 35 cases from the Southern Trust area - almost nine per cent of the total for that period - as did those children placed on the register following emotional trauma.

A further 110 children were placed on the register due to neglect only.

Of the 393 children from this region on the Child Protection Register, over a third fall into the 5-11 year old age range. The lowest number are recorded in the 16 years and over category.

Across the country, 30% of the children on the register at the end of last year were subjected to physical abuse while 27% were suffered from neglect. A further 404 children in NI were added due to a combination of these factors.

The Southern Trust had the largest proportion of children on the register for less than a year with 77% being taken off the list in December 2014.

Only four per cent of children in the Southern region had remained on the register for two years or longer.

Overall the Southern area saw a decrease of 17.3 per cent of additions to the register although it did reach a high in December 2010 when 56.7 children per 10,000 of population under 18 were on the list. This mirrors the general trend across all the Northern Ireland Health Trusts.

A Trust spokesperson said: “The decision to register/deregister is based on assessments and is taken by a multi-disciplinary forum within a child protection case conference arena.

“The Trust continues to develop its early intervention and Family Support services, which, alongside a range of other factors would impact on the register counts, at any given period.”