Leading charities and experts, like Save the Children and the NSPCC, are worried that kids’ experiences during the pandemic aren’t being taken into account in the Covid Inquiry. The Telegraph has the story.
Children are being silenced by the Covid Inquiry and must not be ignored, more than 40 leading charities and experts have warned.
Save the Children U.K. and the NSPCC are among the groups that have come together to write to Baroness Hallett, the Chairman of the inquiry, to demand an explanation for “unacceptable delays” in examining the impact of the pandemic on young people.
They also raise concerns that children are unable to submit statements about their experience of the pandemic to the inquiry, unlike over-18s who have been invited to do so.
It comes despite mounting evidence of the negative effects of lockdown on children, with a recent study revealing that restrictions damaged the emotional development of almost half of children.
Dan Paskins, Director of U.K. Impact at Save the Children, said Baroness Hallett must urgently hear evidence on the impact of Government decisions on pupils.
“Children are being silenced by this inquiry,” he said.
“They must not be ignored. Despite repeated promises from the Chair, the Rt Hon Baroness Heather Hallett, that she would urgently ensure children’s memories are captured and that the issue matters to her, no measures are in place to make this happen.
“Children are not an afterthought or an inconvenience in this inquiry process. Their lives were turned upside down by Government decisions and any barriers in the way of them having their say need to be removed immediately.”
The impact of the pandemic on children was initially omitted from the scope of the inquiry, but Baroness Hallett committed to examining it after the issue was brought to light by the Telegraph.
However, the six modules that have been announced so far do not cover this, and no timetable has been given for any investigation into the impact of the pandemic on children. Baroness Hallett is therefore not expected to hear evidence on this until 2025 or 2026.
The inquiry has so far spent £40 million after hearing just 23 days of evidence.
It has taken a two-month break before it will hear evidence in the autumn on its second module, on political and Government decision-making.
Sir Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC, said the inquiry must act now to avoid millions of children being “defined by the pandemic”.