Over 4300 children identified to be at risk – and that’s just in Lisbon

New data published yesterday has shown that commissions set up to protect children have identified 4,317 children at risk in the capital alone.

For police who so often have to deal with the consequences of this kind of situation, the question now will “what are they going to do about it?”

A source working out of Portimão PJ explained to us following the murder of 15-year-old Rodrigo Lapa in February: “Children are forever being flagged by these commissions, but what do they do to protect them? In the case of Rodrigo, they appear to have done absolutely nothing. A story that newspapers should be working on is ‘what are the commissions doing to stop children coming to harm’?”

To an extent, this is the message emerging today.

According to reports in the Portuguese media, “technicians” working on these commissions told investigators collating the data that they needed “continuous training” to be able to deal with the developing situation.

Compiled by the University of Coimbra, the study shows that of the 4317, 1784 are in “very problematic situations” – 643 at least exposed to domestic violence, 393 identified as ‘going hungry’ and 293 having abandoned education early without any kind of qualifications.

Said the studyy’s coordinator João Pedroso: “This is a new reality. There are children who run away from school as a reaction to the violence between their parents which they are forced to witness.

“To be able to respond to these situations, technicians have to dedicate more hours to the work being developed by these commissions”, he added – saying it was not a question of hiring more staff but better preparing them.

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