Figures rise need careful analysis

FIGURES showing that the number of child abuse allegations in Suffolk have increased five-fold in the last seven years are startling, but clearly have to be viewed with caution.

FIGURES showing that the number of child abuse allegations in Suffolk have increased five-fold in the last seven years are startling, but clearly have to be viewed with caution.

It is clear that child abuse is now a subject that people are far more aware of than they were even a few years ago, and professionals are rightly anxious to err on the side of caution.

If there is any suggestion that a child could be in danger it is right that their situation is monitored - although professionals have to be careful about the impact that false allegations can have on an innocent family.

The growth in the number of referrals shows that many more cases are being brought to the attention of child protection teams, and it is quite understandable that not every case referred can be subject to an in-depth investigation.

What is important is that those cases which do not warrant a full investigation in the first instance are kept under review - that they are not swept under the carpet and forgotten about until a tragedy happens.

Everyone will hope that the police and social services in Suffolk have now got the balance right and are able to give our children the level of support they need.

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FOR generations St Clement's has been the centre of mental health services for people in the Ipswich area - but during that time its role has changed considerably.

Established as an asylum where mentally-ill people were shut away from society, it has over the years developed as a centre looking after the mental health needs of thousands of people, the overwhelming majority of whom are living in the community.

Now there is a proposal to move these services to a new unit at Heath Road, leaving only a small unit at St Clement's for the most seriously ill and selling off the rest of the site.

Integrating people with mental health problems with the town's general hospital is a step in the right direction - the fact is that over the years there has been a stigma attached to being treated at St Clement's.

If this move helps show that mental illness is a condition that should be treated in the same way as any other condition, it would be good for everyone.

EVERY day we publish reports of theft and robbery that happen in society, so we are delighted today to be able to show that most people are still honest and prepared to help their fellow citizens.

When Mark Deguzman realised he had left a bag containing £2,000 and his family's travel documents for a family trip to the Philippines, he not unnaturally feared the worst.

So he was delighted to find that someone had found the bag and handed it in intact - proving that most people are basically honest.

And that is why thefts and robberies still make the news. It is because they are out of the ordinary. The vast majority of the people we encounter every day are basically honest and would not dream of taking what is not theirs.

Mr Deguzman and his family discovered that this week in Ipswich - and everyone will be hoping that they are now able to enjoy their holiday.

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