Child alcohol abuse to be highlighted at unique conference

Child alcohol abuse and child criminal exploitation by county lines drug gangs will be highlighted at a unique conference later this year.

Sonya Jones
Sonya Jones

They will be put under the spotlight by Sonya Jones, service manager and safeguarding lead, We Are With You Shropshire, at the Share Shrewsbury ground-breaking two day international conference ‘Alcohol – sharing the truth’ on November 18 and 19.

Former Shrewsbury mayor Jane Mackenzie, who lost her daughter Amy to alcohol addiction and is organising the conference, said: “In particular, Sonya’s presentation will include the cases of two boys who were highlighted nationally due to the tragic circumstances of their deaths.”

Sonya said: “I shall emphasise early concerns which are an indication of trauma and discuss two serious case reviews that report on the deaths of two boys.

“Both these boys had used alcohol to cope with the trauma of child criminal exploitation by county lines drug gangs published by Southampton Safeguarding Partnership and Oxford Safeguarding Children’s Board.

“Liam was born March 2002 and died January 2020, whilst Jacob was born February 2003 and died April 2019.

“Jacob was highlighted in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme. Channel 4 News highlighted figures from the Child Safeguarding Review Panel that over a two year period 47 children are killed or seriously harmed in incidents linked to criminal exploitation.

“I shall be giving an overview of data with regard to young persons alcohol use in Shropshire and take an in-depth look at the work of the team at With You Shropshire.

“This will be through the story of a Shropshire child Chelsea.

“In addition, more young people are accessing support as the number of children treated for drug and alcohol use is on the rise in Shropshire.”

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