Need for extra-vigilance after lengthy school closure to curb spread of COVID19

On Wednesday the government announced that all schools would close to curb the spread of Covid-19 with only children of key workers and those classed as “vulnerable” – pupils with a social worker or needing special needs support – allowed to keep attending. 

There is a real fear that at-risk children could be exposed to exploitation by county lines drug gangs during the shutdown with no firm timeline for how long schools will stay shut. Recently, children excluded from school or attending Pupil Referral Units have been seen as a recruitment pool for gangs. 

There is evidence that children as young as seven have been promised drugs, cash and ‘street capital’ to run drugs along the 2,200 drug-dealing county lines gangs estimated by the National Crime Agency to be operating across the UK. 

Local authority safeguarding and community safety teams are still be working to protect young people despite the challenges posed by coronavirus and anyone who is worried about the welfare of a child or young person should contact the multi-agency safeguarding hub at Waltham Forest via MASHrequests@walthamforest.gov.uk or calling 020 8493 2310.

Our Ask Me volunteers are also available for young people and their families during this time. Although we have scaled back our activities in line with government advice on social distancing, we can offer support to any young person or their family at risk of being affected by gang, knife harm and serious youth violence by phone, or face to face via Facetime or skype. If you or someone you know needs support, please email info@ask-me.org or contact us via our website (https://ask-me.org/ask-us).

For details about our Ask Me volunteers or to access our FAQs or community directory, see www.ask-me.org or ask us a question via the Ask Us link.

Posted by AskMe Admin