At a recent local surgery, I met with an ambassador for 70/30, a local grassroots campaign that’s building support for a primary prevention approach to tackle child maltreatment in Harrow.
As suggested by the name, the 70/30 campaign wants to show how we could reduce child abuse by at least 70% by 2030 in the United Kingdom. This can be achieved through a proper strategy which puts primary prevention as the leading ideology.
I know that far too many statistics can get thrown around these days, but these numbers are ones which really deserve our attention and this is why; 1 out of 5 children in the UK will suffer from significant child abuse and/or neglect.
So the argument of the 70/30 campaign goes like this – the damage which is caused by child maltreatment costs the UK taxpayer billions each year in various social services as these children often go on to have a host of problems in later life, thus would it not be better to protect them from maltreatment, rather than waiting until it is too late and trying to control the damage?
The basis for this approach is to prevent maltreatment before it happens by tackling the root causes. This might be maternal mental health problems, domestic violence issues, substance abuse problems or a whole host of other issues which can affect parents. Early and effective support could help them deal with these problems before they get out of control.
For a mother who may be suffering from mental health issues, this early support could make the difference to her ability to cope. It could also mean a couple who have unhealthy tension in their relationship could get support to get things back on track. Helping them prevents the severe stress a baby can experience in a tense or violent home.
The challenge is to get people thinking ahead to the point where we can really start seeing prevention as something urgent, not just an idea that would be nice to work on once we have finished intervening.
This leads us to the whole point of the campaign – we will never finish intervening until we have stopped things going wrong in the first place. Here is an analogy from WAVE Trust, the charity which is behind the campaign – if your taps are on and your sink is overflowing, you will never finish mopping up unless you stop to turn the taps off.
I agree with the wisdom of more support being available to help parents and avoid children being maltreated. That’s why I back the 70/30 campaign. If you have any experiences with children services or you would like to get involved, you can get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org