Manchester reports child abuse increase

Manchester’s largest Jewish welfare charity is dealing with a “dramatic rise” in child abuse cases.

The Fed has revealed that the number of youngsters it deals with who require child protection measures and local authority intervention has doubled to 40.

It is also experiencing an increase of around 20 per cent in cases where local authority child protection teams have sought the expertise of the Fed’s social workers.

Shelley Lewis, the Fed’s children and families’ social work team manager, said more cases of sexual abuse of children had come to light as a result of heightened press coverage of the issue. The charity has worked with the Herschel Weiss Children’s Centre in Salford and the Manchester Beth Din to produce training and guidelines for Greater Manchester Jewish schools, which are attended by 4,500 children.

It is also reporting increased casework with the young because of poverty among local families.

“We received an anonymous phone call about two young children wandering the streets over a weekend asking people for food,” Mrs Lewis said. “We were gravely concerned that they were at risk.

We paid a home visit and found the family to be living in very poor conditions with little money, limited bedding and furnishings and no know-ledge of available support services from the Fed and other agencies. The parent demonstrated an inability to cope with the children’s behaviour.”

The charity is running a hard-hitting child abuse advertisement campaign for its Rosh Hashanah appeal, pointing out that the financial support of the community is essential to maintaining its child protection work.

Last updated: 10:45am, September 9 2013