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Island child services capable of 'great things'

Specialist appraises Island's referral system

A leading figure in UK child protection says the Isle of Man is in a unique position to create a referral system truly responsive to local needs.

Maggie Mellon is vice chair of the British Association of Social Workers and director of services for Scottish charity Children First.

Her visit to the Island at the invitation of the Positive Action Group comes amid concerns about the rising number of children being referred to Island social services.

She described it as a common trend in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but said the upward curve was sharper still in the Isle of Man.  

In June the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee presented Tynwald with a report on over-referral of children, making a raft of recommendations.

They included calls for a new offence of false reporting to deter malicious reports of child abuse.

Ms Mellon gave evidence to the committee, ahead of the PAG meeting.

She said the Island needs to examine carefully its approach to investigating abuse - but is an enviable position to change the system for the better:  

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