NSPCC NI welcomes visit from shadow secretary of state
The NSPCC has said that a visit by Vernon Coaker MP, shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland, to the charity’s regional headquarters in Belfast, was “timely, following a year dominated by child protection issues”.
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Vernon Coaker MP, joins NSPCC Trustee Lady Brenda McLaughlin CBE for a tour of the children’s charity’s facilities in Belfast
Mr Coaker, a long-standing NSPCC supporter, met with the local team to discuss the particular issues affecting children and young people in Northern Ireland. He said:
“It is always a pleasure to meet with staff and volunteers from the NSPCC, and to hear about the excellent work being done on the ground in Northern Ireland.
“Pioneering local projects, and vital staple services such as ChildLine, all form part of a coherent drive to make cruelty to children a thing of the past. I am particularly mindful that such work continues apace, despite difficult economic circumstances and Northern Ireland’s particular challenges.
“Issues such as trafficking and internet safety demonstrate that there is no room for complacency in child protection – we must identify and support vulnerable children and their families early to stop abuse before it starts.”
Head of Service for NSPCC Northern Ireland, Neil Anderson, welcomed the visit as an opportunity to “develop this important relationship, and address key political concerns relating to child protection”.
“We are delighted that Mr Coaker has taken the time to visit our regional office in Belfast. Meeting with a range of teams - from therapeutic and ChildLine, to policy and research colleagues - he affirmed his commitment to the NSPCC’s valuable work in Northern Ireland.
“We are delighted to be working with a range of government Departments to carve out a vital path for child welfare in Northern Ireland, and recognise the contribution Mr Coaker can make in Westminster. While many aspects of child protection are devolved, important issues remain with the UK government, especially around internet safety and barring those who are unsuitable to work with children. As we have seen, those who offend against children are no respecter of borders, making cohesive working across UK jurisdictions so very important.
“Savile and Northern Ireland’s own legacy of historical institutional abuse have brought child protection to the fore. Atrocious as these acts were, their revelation – and raised public awareness – will help us to ensure that fewer children suffer in silence.”