The term ‘streetwise’ is often mentioned in missing children cases. It wrongly gives the impression that a child is wise to the risks they may face, and able to get themselves out of dangerous situations. It is mistakenly used to justify a reduced response from safeguarding professionals. This can lead to tragic circumstances.
There are approximately 130,000 missing incidents involving children each year in the UK. It is impossible for the police and social care to provide the same level of service to every missing and returning child. Proper risk assessment is the key to identifying and responding to those children who are the most vulnerable.
Abuse linked to a belief in spirit possession is difficult for safeguarding professionals to identify, understand and sometimes accept. It sits outside the norm and there is a danger that they could mistakenly be dismissed as superstitious nonsense. We take a look at the very specific indicators associated with this specific area of child abuse.