Everyone across the Falkirk Council area should keep their Eyes Open for children at risk during the school holidays.

In the week that Falkirk schools sound the end of term bell, Child Protection Committees across Scotland are encouraging the public across the whole country to be extra observant to help protect potentially vulnerable children when school’s out for summer.

Child Protection Committees Scotland, a nation-wide grouping of child protection professionals, hopes their Eyes Open campaign will raise awareness that members of the public can play an important role to keep children safe from harm in the holidays. The group believes that everyone is responsible for child welfare in Scotland.

CPCScotland Chair Anne Houston says: “Local children are about to be away from the usual school routine for a few weeks. For most local children this is a time of year filled with fun and free time, but for some families the summer holidays is a time of increased stress and pressure. In some cases, children are not supervised or cared for adequately, others might even experience serious neglect.”

Councillor Laura Murtagh, spokesperson for Public Protection said: “By keeping our eyes open and our other senses tuned in, we might spot the tell tale signs that a child is at risk. These signs include seeing children who are left unattended or in unsuitable company, children who are hungry, tired, or parents are acting in a violent, aggressive manner to them, misusing drugs or alcohol while caring for their children. However, spotting the signs isn’t enough. If something doesn’t seem quite right for a child, or a family of children, it’s better to say something than do nothing.”

“Not only does the campaign support a public Eyes Open approach, it also encourages us to speak up instead of staying silent. Anyone who has concerns about a child or children should feel reassured in coming forward to either Falkirk Council’s social work services or directly to the police. All  information will be treated sensitively and appropriately and can be valuable in helping vulnerable children get the support they need.

“Where circumstances are appropriate you may wish to ask a child if they’re okay or offer the family some support. Falkirk Council and our partners are ready to assist our communities and endorse the Eyes Open approach where we are all working together to protect vulnerable children.”