Together, we can tackle child abuse
Haringey is supporting the Department for Education on a national government campaign. The aim of the “Together, we can tackle child abuse” campaign is to encourage members of the public to report child abuse and neglect and overcome the barriers that stop people reporting.
- What to do if you're worried about a child
- What stops people reporting child abuse and neglect?
- Who can you talk to if you suspect child abuse?
- What will you be asked when you make a report?
- What happens once you’ve made a report?
- How communities can help protect children
- Campaign materials
If you’re worried about a child, visit GOV.UK's report child abuse page (external link) to get the number for your local authority - for referrals in Haringey, call 020 8489 4470 (020 8348 0000 out of hours).
How to spot the signs of child abuse and neglect:
To spot the signs, look for changes in ABC:
- 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
Most people find the decision to report child abuse a difficult one. They worry about overreacting or being wrong, and may question whether they have strong enough evidence, or if they have misread the signs of abuse or misunderstood a situation. These fears are understandable, but unfounded.
You don’t need to be absolutely certain of what you’ve seen or heard to call your local children’s social care team. Information is usually gathered from many sources, and your report would form one part of a bigger picture.
Another big worry people have is that someone will find out they have made a report, but this is unlikely to happen as you can make the call anonymously, although most people do give their details.
Some people don’t report suspected abuse because they think it might just be a one-off. But even if that is the case, every child deserves to be protected and it is better to be safe than sorry.
If you are concerned about a child, and suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you may not know who to talk to. Research shows that some people prefer to talk to someone such as a partner, family member or friend before making a report – and that’s perfectly fine.
You don’t have to be absolutely certain about whether a child is being abused; if you have a feeling that something’s not right, talk to your local children’s social care team who can look into it.
In 2014/15 more than 400,000 children in England were supported because someone noticed they needed help.
Each local authority has a dedicated children’s social care team, and you should call them if you think a child or young person is at risk or is being abused or neglected.
While it is understood that you might not have all the answers, the following is an example of the types of questions you might be asked:
- Details about the child, such as name and date of birth
- Address and contact details for parent or carer
- Reason for your call
When you call your local children’s social care team, your concern will be listened to and assessed. Information is usually gathered from many sources, and your report would form one part of a bigger picture.
If significant concerns are raised about a child, a social worker will make an assessment and decide what support to provide.
It may be that the concerns are unfounded and that no further action is necessary, although all concerns are taken seriously.
Everyone has a role to play in helping to protect children. All children have a right to be safe and should be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect. 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 spot concerns among children with whom they have contact - which may not be apparent to professionals.
It is better to help children as early as possible so that action can be taken to help the child and support the family concerned.
A summary of the points above can be found in the following posters and leaflet. Please feel free to print and display them:
- Haringey campaign poster (PDF, 178KB)
- Haringey campaign leaflet (PDF, 245KB)
- Spot the signs of abuse poster (PDF, 790KB)
We all have a role to play in protecting children and young people.
Together, we can tackle child abuse.