Council urges people to report any concerns of child abuse

Date: 22/03/2016
Ref: PR 8199

Wakefield Council is urging people to be aware of the signs of child abuse and to help tackle it by reporting any concerns.

The 'Let's Tackle Abuse Together' campaign highlights that everyone has a role in protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect.

The national campaign explains it is not just up to social services, doctors and the Police to spot the signs of abuse and neglect. Members of the public are in a unique position to report any concerns about children they know.

Cllr Olivia Rowley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Wakefield Council, said: "All children have the right to be safe and should be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect.

"It is very important that we all take responsibility for the safety of children in our communities. If anyone suspects a child is being harmed in any way, we all have a duty to report it."

Research shows that a third of people who suspect a child is being abused do nothing about it, because they fear they may be wrong.

But people don't have to be absolutely certain about their suspicions. If they have a feeling that something is not right, they should talk in confidence to the Council's children social care team who can look into it. Social workers always look at a variety of evidence, not just one source when looking into concerns about a child.

Cllr Rowley said: "There are no negative consequences of reporting suspected abuse. All information is taken in complete confidence and people do not have to leave their names if they don't want to. For the sake of vulnerable children, it really is better to be safe than sorry."

The campaign also highlights that it is better to help children as early as possible, so that action can be taken to help the child and support their family.

In 2014/15, more than 400,000 children in England were supported because someone noticed they needed help.

Possible signs of abuse or neglect include:

• Appearance – such as frequent unexplained injuries, consistently poor hygiene, matted hair, unexplained gifts, or a parent regularly collecting children from school when drunk.
• Behaviour - such as demanding or aggressive behaviour, frequent lateness or absence from school, avoiding their own family, misusing drugs or alcohol, or being constantly tired.
• Communication – such as sexual or aggressive language, self-harming, becoming secretive and reluctant to share information, or being overly obedient.

If you have concerns about a child, call us on: 0345 8 503 503 and for further information visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/tackleabusetogether  

Anyone worried about a child's immediate safety should contact the Police by calling 999.

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