Northern Ireland

NSPCC launches campaign to highlight risks to babies under 12-months-old

The NSPCC has said almost 10% of children on the Child Protection Register in Northern Ireland are babies under 12-months-old.

The children's charity is launching its 'All Babies Count' campaign on Thursday.

It calls for better and earlier support for new parents.

Neil Anderson, the head of the NSPCC in Northern Ireland, said it was of concern that babies were often at risk because of a lack of support.

"Evidence shows that intervening early is the best approach, and can reduce the future risk of abuse or neglect," he said.

"It also makes sound economic sense. Investing in preventing harm is a more effective way of spending money than trying to pick up the pieces of children's broken lives in the years after abuse has happened.

Support

"We hope that the executive's Programme for Government will recognise the importance of investing in early intervention and support."

The charity said parents want to do the best for their children but some needed more support than others.

Parents who struggle with mental health problems, or domestic violence, or who have difficulties with drink or drugs, can find it more difficult to give their babies the love, care and attention that is needed.

The NSPCC said while not all babies in these families are harmed, evidence shows they are at a greater risk of abuse and neglect.

Over half the calls to the charity's helpline involve concerns about children in families with these problems.

According to figures released by the PSNI, six babies in the last five years having been victims of homicide.

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