Health chief: FGM, gangs and self-harm among challenges facing ‘changing’ Havering

Havering Council chief executive Cheryl Coppell: 'Were getting a different cohort of children comin

Havering Council chief executive Cheryl Coppell: 'Were getting a different cohort of children coming in' - Credit: Archant

Gangs, female genital mutilation and self-harm have all been identified as challenges facing a “changing” Havering, councillors and health chiefs were warned yesterday.

The borough is doing a “good” job but lacks the resources of other parts of London – even though similar issues are growing in significance, Havering Council’s health and wellbeing board heard.

Children and adults safeguarding boss Brian Boxall said: “Youngsters are being identified who are the subjects of abuse. Things like gangs – that’s starting to look different. They do exhibit and are probably in the early stages.”

The chair of the Havering local safeguarding children board, who was presenting the body’s annual report on challenges faced by the borough, added female genital mutilation (FGM) was also becoming an issue.

He went on: “In many of the schools now there’s actually a concern about self-harm – even within the junior schools, much to my surprise.”

Havering Council chief executive Cheryl Coppell acknowledged the challenges and said the council had told police its child abuse investigation team was “under-resourced” but so far no action had been taken. She added: “Most of the other London boroughs do get extra funding to deal with particularly troubled youngsters who might get involved in gangs, and we do not.

“We’re getting a different cohort of children coming in so we do need that support.”

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In the forward to his child safeguarding report released ahead of the meeting, Mr Boxall wrote: “Havering is a community that is changing in demography and over the coming year it will be important to fully understand the impact of these changes and how this impacts of child protection.”