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Who has been missed? Dramatic decrease in numbers of children seen for child protection assessments during the pandemic
  1. Sunil Bhopal1,2,
  2. Annaliese Buckland2,
  3. Rhona McCrone3,
  4. Andrew Ian Villis4,
  5. Stephen Owens1,4
  1. 1 Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2 Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, North Shields, Tyne and Wear, UK
  3. 3 South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland, UK
  4. 4 Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sunil Bhopal, Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK; sunil.bhopal{at}

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Infection with SARS-CoV-2 does not, thankfully, appear to be harming children in great numbers at this point of the COVID-19 pandemic.1 Concerns have however been raised that necessary social distancing and particularly ‘lockdown’ measures are having negative, often unintended, consequences for the health and well-being of babies, children and young people. These consequences have been termed ‘collateral damage’,2 and it has been argued that measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to cause a ‘secondary pandemic’ of child neglect and abuse.3 The Children’s Commissioner for England has raised concerns within government that children are at increased risk of abuse and neglect during the pandemic, while household stress is high, families are confined to the home and usual societal …

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