Safeguarding children

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children is a statutory requirement, and in Lancashire the county council and key agencies work in partnership to achieve this as the Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB). The purpose of the LSCB is to ensure children are effectively kept safe and protected from harm caused by neglect or abuse. Underpinning the responsibilities of the LSCB is the statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 (PDF 1.6 MB), which identifies priority areas to promote the welfare of children including:

  • protecting children from maltreatment;
  • preventing impairment of children's health or development;
  • ensuring children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and 
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes. 

Children may be vulnerable and at risk of harm for many reasons, including living in a home where there is a parent/carer experiencing domestic abuse, and/or with mental illness, and/or substance misuse. Children who experience one, two or three of these parental risk factors are more likely to have worse outcomes in life, compared to children who do not, with evidence suggesting an increased likelihood of poor physical health, emotional/mental health issues, and social and educational difficulties. Key statistics for child safeguarding activity and some outcomes known to be associated with the three risk factors can be found on the Public Health England Child and Maternal Health Profiles website and in the data section below. 

Although all groups of children are affected, the three parental risk factors are more commonly recorded in deprived areas and among the white British ethnic group. It is important to understand there are many other risk and protective factors affecting the health and wellbeing of children and adverse events in childhood do not always lead to negative outcomes in adulthood. 

Key findings for Lancashire

Based on national estimates the figures below can be used to help commission the appropriate level of services to meet local need and as a broad indication of how many children with the three parental risk factors for vulnerability could be detected by local services. For example, maternity services should expect that around 40% of babies are born to families affected by one or more of these factors.

Lancashire-12: children with parental risk factors for vulnerability

At least 99,000 children in the Lancashire-12 area are affected by at least one of the three risk factors.

  • 44,000 have a parent with a mental illness.
  • 74,000 have a parent who is a problem drinker or drug user.
  • 7,400 have a parent experiencing domestic abuse.
  • 19,000 children are affected by more than one of these factors and are particularly vulnerable.

Lancashire-12: local authority commissioned treatment data

  • There were around 1,250 new adult presentations in Lancashire-12 area for alcohol treatment for which approximately 50% are parents living with or without children;
  • Approximately 530 children under 18 (0.2% of the child population) live with parents in alcohol treatment;
  • There were around 1,600 new adult presentations in Lancashire-12 for drug treatment for which approximately 55% are parents living with or without children;
  • Approximately 525 children under-18 (0.2% of the child population) live with parents in drug treatment.

Lancashire-14: children with parental risk factors for vulnerability

The estimates suggest that around 126,000 children in the Lancashire-14 area are affected by at least one of the three risk factors.

  • 56,000 have a parent with mental illness.
  • 94,000 have a parent who is a problem drinker or drug user.
  • 9,400 have a parent experiencing domestic abuse.
  • 24,500 children are affected by more than one of these factors are particularly vulnerable.

Further data

Safeguarding children parental risk factors Lancashire-14 (XLSX 510 KB)

 Page updated April 2018