Action for Children responds to the Arthur Labinjo-Hughes case

Friday 03 December 2021

In response to the Arthur Labinjo-Hughes case, director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, Imran Hussain, said:

‘This is a truly horrifying and heart-breaking case. Sadly, every day at Action for Children our frontline workers see the devastating results of families suffering at the hands of domestic abuse, neglect, or drug addiction. But we know things can turn out differently if we’re able to step in with early help to stop these problems spiralling out of control.

‘We can’t forget children in the wider social care debate - for too long, children have been overlooked in government’s policy and funding decisions. With families hidden from view under lockdown many children at risk didn’t have the usual eyes and ears looking and listening out for them. Yet this more than just the difficulties of services operating under lockdown - as our Revolving Door reports showed, even before the pandemic, tens of thousands of vulnerable children in England being were being repeatedly let down, as huge cuts by central government forced councils to scale down or close their early help services.

‘That was the situation we were in as we went into the pandemic and are still in now – councils trying to keep children safe with one hand tied behind their back, while thousands are left to face at risk of abuse or neglect, not just once but again and again.

‘Children’s centres and family hubs are some of the best tools local authorities have to spot signs of abuse and neglect. Despite new funding announced in the budget, these lifeline services have been hamstrung by cuts over the past ten years and a lack of prioritisation within government decision-making. Investing in services which step in early to support families should be a core part of the ‘levelling-up’ agenda. It would be irresponsible to have an NHS offering only A&E departments but no primary care or public health services, yet this is the short-sightedness we’re facing in children’s services. A system geared only for crisis guarantees more children will end up in crisis.’


Huw Beale, Senior Media Officer, Action for Children: 07718 114 038 / [email protected]

Out of hours 07802 806 679 / [email protected]