Boris Johnson’s government unveiled plans for the coming parliament in the Queen’s Speech earlier today.
In response, Barnardo's Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
"Over the last year we have seen the devastating impact of the pandemic on the children, young people and families we support. It’s essential that this generation is supported to recover and thrive, so we welcome the Government’s commitment to supporting children to have the best start in life and catch up on lost learning. However, this must be the first step in a wider plan for children – which tackles the crisis in mental health and provides community-based support to all families - from pregnancy to 19 – to catch problems before they escalate.
“The last few months have highlighted the urgent need to tackle violence against women and girls, and we know that for children, trauma from domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and abuse by other young people – as outlined on the Everyone’s Invited website – can last a lifetime. I welcome the commitment to a Victim’s Law and believe this must include a guarantee of specialist support for all victims, including children.
“The renewed promise to regulate the internet is also welcome. We have been awaiting the Online Safety Bill for several years now and it’s vital the Government brings it forward as quickly as possible. Every day, children across the UK are suffering harm online, and the risk has only increased during Covid-19. Any further delay to legislation will mean children are left unprotected for longer.
“Throughout the pandemic I have said that charities are the glue that holds society together, and in challenging times they provide a safety net for the most vulnerable in society. I’m pleased the Government recognises this and is committed to further support for the voluntary sector. During the pandemic, the Barnardo's-led See, Hear, Respond partnership showed how charities can work together at speed to support those who need us most, and we look forward to working with the Government as these proposals develop."