The teams of the Belgian association SOS Enfants send “a cry of distress” in the face of “an increase in the number of reports of abused children”. On the dock: the health crisis and the closure of schools which would have amplified already precarious situations.
With a “congested” network, the teams say they are no longer able to adequately assume their basic missions and take care of these polytrauma children and families. “We are obliged to refer these signalers, whether familiar or professional, to a psycho-social care network which is also saturated (…). This situation is unbearable for the caregivers that we are, ”wrote the teams of the Belgian association in a press release.
Missing places in emergency foster homes
“In some regions, requests are exploding (to SOS Charleroi: + 50%, to SOS Liège-Montlégia: + 45% over the first quarter of 2021)”, details the press release. In addition, the situation of child victims has “dramatically” worsened in recent months, due to the lengthening of the intervention times of front-line mental health and educational services. SOS Enfants also adds that places are lacking in emergency foster families or in accommodation institutions.
The teams also stress that the closure of schools has a direct impact on child abuse because “the child can no longer confide in the violence suffered and is deprived of a place to learn and socialize. primordial ”. Newborns in danger have also become invisible because the Office of Birth and Childhood limits the home interventions of its agents.
“Make these children visible”
SOS Enfants therefore asks “to make these children visible, by reopening these radars which are schools, leisure and sports centers, front-line educational and psycho-medico-social services, etc.”. It is also important for the Youth Assistance sector to ensure full availability: “we are all essential professions where teleworking should not be applicable”.
Finally, the teams are calling for an exceptional budget to reinforce the workforce and request consultation with the ministers in charge of early childhood, youth assistance and health in order to rethink the fight against child abuse in the Wallonia Federation. -Brussels.