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The University of Southampton

Children’s advocate gives Human Rights lecture

Published: 22 April 2013
Camila Batmanghelidjh

Childhood trauma and abuse is creating a generation of vulnerable and badly damaged children, according to the speaker of the 2013 University of Southampton Third Human Rights Lecture.

Children’s advocate and founder of the charity Kids Company, Camila Batmanghelidjh spoke at the event at Avenue Campus, hosted by Humanities and Business and Law, in association with Amnesty International. Kids Company’s services reach 36,000 children and young people every year; they provide intensive support for more than 18,000 in London and Bristol.

Camila has spent 25 years working on the streets with vulnerable children and estimated several million in the UK are being maltreated or suffer mental health issues. She described current pressures on council social services, which can mean many children who need help do not receive it, and warned “If the alarm is not raised, socially we are sitting on a time bomb.” Across the country 670,000 potentially at risk children are referred to social services each year, yet only 50,000 end up on the child protection register and most are removed from it after a year.

She also presented scientific research into how early trauma can damage children’s brains and how this can lead to behavioural problems in later life.

Hazel Biggs, Professor of Health Care Law and Bioethics chaired the lecture, which was introduced by Clare Mar-Molinero, Professor of Spanish Sociolinguistics. A collection following the lecture raised £513 which has been divided between Amnesty International and Kids Company.

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