A CHILDREN’S charity is calling on the NHS to better support young people who have suffered abuse after discovering thousands in the region are being let down by a ‘postcode lottery’ in mental health.

The NSPCC estimates that around 56,000 children in the North-East who have been abused or neglected are not given the support they need after analysing local plans published by NHS commissioners in England.

The plans, which set out how the NHS will care for children’s mental health, showed 84 per cent fail to properly plan for the needs of children who have been abused or neglected.

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The charity is now calling on all NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to urgently include the needs of children who have suffered abuse in their strategies and all future plans.

NSPCC Trustee and clinical psychologist Professor Tanya Byron said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail, and alarmingly most CCGs are setting themselves up to fail children who have already been through abuse and trauma.

“It is unacceptable that despite the huge number of children estimated to have been abused, and the known link between abuse and mental health problems, the vast majority of our health services do not have a proper strategy for how to take care of these children.”

Research shows that children who have suffered abuse are twice as likely to develop clinical depression.

But an estimated 1.2 million children in England who have suffered abuse or neglect are living in an area with inadequate plans for their mental health needs, or with no plan for their care whatsoever. Of these children, 56,042 are in the North-East of England.

The NSPCC have analysed CCGs’ published mental health plans and gave each plan a traffic light rating based on how well it had factored in the needs of children who have been abused.

Seven plans across the North-East were given an amber rating – meaning plans had made some reference to the needs of children who have been abused, but were inadequately planning for their care.

Professor Byron added: “CCGs need to urgently review and improve their plans so they are fully prepared to help children when they need it most and Government needs to hold CCGs to account to publish high quality plans in a timely fashion.”