STIRLING Council is urging everyone to keep their eyes and ears open for vulnerable children during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the closure of schools, nurseries and other community facilities, organisations and services who would normally support children, young people and families are facing more challenges in spotting problems.

Vulnerable children are feared to be at greater risk of harm during the lockdown restrictions because of the pressures it places on troubled families. 

There are particular concerns about households with pre-existing problems in relation to mental health, substance abuse or domestic abuse.

Convener of Stirling Council’s Children and Young People Committee, Cllr Susan McGill said: “During the current national emergency, it’s more important than ever for members of the public across Stirling to speak up if they see or hear something worrying about a child or children.

“Everyone in the community has their part to play, whether you are a delivery driver, a neighbour or a member of an extended family - if you are concerned about something please get in touch.”

There are also fears people aren’t alerting support services at this time as children are less visible and due to concerns of overburdening public services, who are in the frontline of the Covid-19 battle. 

Since government restrictions came into force, there is evidence of a reduction in all types of reporting of suspected harm across Scotland.

Vice Convener of the Children and Young People Committee, Cllr Christine Simpson said: “It’s crucial communities across Stirling are extra vigilant in at this difficult time when families are under significant additional stress for a variety of factors.

“If you are worried at all about a child’s welfare, it is much better to say something than do nothing.

“Our family support services, which offer advice, information and practical assistance are still operating, so if you are a parent or carer who is struggling, please get in touch.”