Letter: More resources will secure children's rights

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The Independent Online
Sir: The issues surrounding the use of 'restraint' in residential homes for children are totally separate from the issues of compensation and redress for those who have been abused while in the care of the local authority. Your leading article (8 August) correctly points out that residential social workers face a difficult day-to-day job, and that they are underpaid, undervalued, and have less than adequate access to proper training.

The article raises concern for workers who may be the subject of allegations of 'assault' while restraining young people and the problems of a 'climate of fear' being created among those appointed to look after young people in care.

Young people who have been abused (both in the family home and in care) make it absolutely clear that a 'climate of fear' is often what stops them reporting the abuse at the time it is happening - they fear that they will not be believed, will be removed from family and friends, or will suffer reprisals from the abuser.

No one should underestimate the difficulties faced by a young person who reports abuse. Many are now coming forward because of positive moves on children's rights. Young people in care must have access to independent people who will listen and take their complaints seriously.

The many residential workers who are doing a good job have nothing to fear from an increased consideration of the rights of the child. If we really want to see improvements in relation to the issue of violent behaviour, let's see additional money being made available for training and support to residential workers, and more involvement of young people themselves in shaping the service provided for them. That way, we might see less so-called 'scandals' in future years.

Yours sincerely,


Principal Development Officer

Who Cares? Scotland