Coronavirus: Violence against babies increased in England – Report
The number of babies that have died or were seriously harmed increased by 20 per cent in England during the coronavirus pandemic.
The government Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) said on Friday.
Between April and October, Ofsted recorded 64 cases of children below the age of one who were seriously harmed, of which eight died.
The increase in numbers was due to a toxic mix of isolation, poverty and mental health issues, according to Amanda Spielman, head of the independent government body which reports to the British parliament.
The ‘COVID pressure cooker’ pandemic had increased stress levels, Spielman said at a national conference on child services.
“Financial hardship, loss of employment, isolation and close family proximity have put extra pressure on families that were already struggling,’’ she said.
Social workers also often couldn’t make regular visits to those concerned due to the lockdown restrictions.
The number of preventable accidents increased, too, Spielman said, referring for instance to parents putting their babies to sleep next to them on the sofa and accidentally crushing them while drunk.
Spielman called on social workers, midwives, general practitioners (GPs) and other experts to cooperate to help vulnerable families deal with the impact of the pandemic and safeguard children.