Residents urged to recognise and report the signs of abuse

10/04/2017, PR8523

If you think it, report it
Child abuse. If you think it, report it.

The Council is urging residents to look out for signs of child abuse and if they see it report it.

Everyone has a responsibility to help children to stay safe from harm and to be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect.

Wakefield Council is raising awareness of children’s safety as part the ‘Together we can tackle child abuse’ campaign.

The national initiative highlights that members of the public are in a unique position to report any concerns about children they know. It is not just the responsibility of teachers and health professionals to take action if they are worried about a young person’s wellbeing.

Cllr Olivia Rowley
Cllr Olivia Rowley

Cllr Olivia Rowley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Every child should be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect. It is very important that as a community, we all take responsibility for the safety of children. If you suspect a child is being harmed in any way, you 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 can talk in confidence to the Council’s children social care team who will look into it. Social workers always consider a variety of evidence, not just one source when exploring concerns about a child.

Cllr Rowley said: “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, I cannot stress enough that 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.

Last year 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 the Council on 0345 8 503 503. You do not need to give your name and can call anonymously. For further information visit
www.wakefield.gov.uk/tackleabusetogether  

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

Ends

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