The United Kingdom has unleashed a barrage of new, reformed policies aiming to protect children. Within the decade however there have been problems within the system that could be detrimental to the safety of children in the UK. Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) oversees Child Protection by Local English Authorities. Christine Gilbert, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills, in December of 2008 revealed that Ofsted had been “gullible”. She revealed that good ratings could be given based purely on data, while at the same time “concealing dangerously flawed practices” within the system. Around the time of this statement (2008) Ofsted had released data showing that around three children in England and Wales died every week between April 2007, and August 2008 due to abuse. These issues with Ofsted show a weak side to child protection in the UK, but that is not the only side to the story.
In November 2006, the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, an agency designed to tackle child abuse and indecent images on the internet, had been tackling the issue of child predators on the web, and launched the UK’s first national website dedicated to finding child predators who have not been compliant with the UK’s notification requirements. Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of the CEOP commented by saying “There will be nowhere to hide”. The United Kingdom also has a series of Agencies and Organizations dedicated to the protection of children. The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) is one of these groups. They offer a wide array of services to help prevent child abuse, and help children who have been affected by it. Services like a 24 hour confidential Freephone hotline, treatment and therapeutic services, counseling, as well as witness support schemes. Many other organizations like this are active combatants of child abuse in the UK, other organizations include: The Children’s Legal Centre and The Samaritans. This shows a firm grip on the child predator issue, and the more prevalent trend in the UK, which is a series of progressive policies more successful than not, at Protecting Children.
While problems with the system will inevitably arise in the future, the United Kingdom seems to have created a solid and well perceived plan to keep children safe. With numerous agencies, charities, and people dedicated to maintaining the well being of children in the UK, it looks as if no scandal, big or small could topple children’s safety.