Local News

Ground-breaking report sheds light on the impact of abuse on children and their future


share close

The Punishing Abuse report, which has been launched today, is one of the most wide-ranging contemporary studies conducted into children in this country’s criminal justice system. The ground-breaking research considers the lives of 80 children.

Commissioned by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, it provides several recommendations and proposals that focus on implementing a system-wide change to how public organisations support disadvantaged children who have experienced adversity, abuse, loss and trauma.

The report indicates that exposure to abuse as a child may re-calibrate the emotional response system leaving latent vulnerability to aggressive behaviour, psychiatric disorder and poor outcomes across the life-course.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “As Police and Crime Commissioner, I am committed to improving the opportunities that young people have to ensure that they lead fulfilling lives away from crime. 

“This report shows that much more needs to be done to protect the most vulnerable young people in our society, and more needs to be invested in supporting children and their families who are at risk.”

The report highlights the abuse and adversity that these children suffered is horrifying. Of the 80 children in the criminal justice system studied:

  • eight in ten were subject to school exclusion or attendance at multiple secondary schools;
  • seven in ten are known or suspected to have lived with domestic violence whilst growing up;
  • seven in ten children are known, or suspected to be a victim of violence.

Ultimately, the recommendations call for a more ambitious investment in support and intervention for the services that are needed to help children in crisis. The social and economic cost of inaction at the current time could be considerable, and investing in the below recommendations will help prevent the costs of failure while achieving social and economic returns.

Some of the recommendations of the report are:

  • Schools (including academies) need to be supported and incentivised to work to eliminate school exclusions. If exclusion occurs, those children must receive an effective service to ensure that they continue to be positively engaged in full-time education.
  • Reduce prosecutions of vulnerable children in public care. This will involve working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to explore new ways of doing things.
  • Work with partners to re-imagine youth justice in the West Midland that takes complete account of abuse and loss.

Commissioner Jamieson added, “Collectively, we are failing some of our most vulnerable young people, and we are all paying the price later on. This report needs to be a catalyst for change.”


Written by: David Watkins

Rate it

Previous post

Local News

Young people provided with vital employment support in Sandwell

A new youth hub at Sandwell College is offering practical advice and support to young people aged 16-29 who are unemployed, at risk of losing their job, or leaving school, college or university. This is one of six Youth Hubs being set up in the region as part of the ‘Youth Offer’ that the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has developed with Jobcentre Plus, local authorities, the voluntary sector and […]


Post comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *