Skip to main content

Offences against Children: Internet

Volume 496: debated on Tuesday 1 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what (a) funding, (b) materials and (c) other support his Department provides for children who have experienced online abuse. (288850)

Details on the funding, materials and support made available specifically for the victims of online child abuse are not held centrally.

However, expenditure on children's social care in England has increased from £2.218 billion in 1997-98 to £5.728 billion in 2008-09. This is a real terms increase of over 90 per cent., which equates to an average real terms increase of 6.1 per cent. per annum. In addition, the Government are investing £130 million in social work reform over the full spending review period including £109 million in the next two years of which £57.8 million is additional new investment as part of the Government's detailed response to Lord Laming's Report.

The Department of Health also makes available to local authorities £100.045 million in 2009-10 for child and adolescent mental health services through the local authority area based grant. It is for local authorities to determine how to use those resources in order to deliver local and national priorities in their areas. These grants account for less than 20 per cent. of spend on CAMHS and the actual reported spend on CAMHS increased by 62 per cent. between 2003-04 and 2006-07 to £523 million (latest available figure) when NHS spending is considered also.

Statutory guidance contained in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ explains the procedures to be followed if somebody has concerns about the welfare of a child and in particular has concerns that a child may be suffering, or may be at risk of suffering, significant harm. Chapter 5 sets out the principles that underpin work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Where online abuse is concerned children and or parents can seek support from children's social care.

In addition, the Government have committed £30 million to the NSPCC's Childline services which offers trusted 1:1 counselling to children. The money will allow the NSPCC to expand their services significantly and improve them so that more children can be given the advice and help that can be so important.