Cheshire East Council is supporting a national campaign launched by the Department for Education to tackle child abuse.
The campaign ‘Together we can tackle child abuse’ encourages members of the public to report child abuse and neglect. It highlights that we all have a role to play in protecting children and young people in our local area.
In 2014/15, more than 400,000 children in England were supported because someone noticed they needed help. Research shows that a third of people who suspect child abuse do nothing and a number of people do not act on their suspicions because they are worried about being wrong.
The campaign encourages people to report even if they are not absolutely certain about their suspicions and features an ‘ABC’ of spotting the signs of child abuse and neglect
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.
Councillor Liz Durham, Cabinet member for children and families said: “All children have a right to be safe and should be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect. You don’t have to be absolutely certain about whether a child is being abused: if you have a feeling that something is not right, talk to our social care team who can explore it further.
“Information is usually gathered from many sources and your concerns would form one part of a bigger picture. Children and families can be helped at an earlier stage with preventative support, if more members of the public share their concerns.
“If you are worried about a child, I encourage all members of the community to contact us by visiting the webpage www.gov.uk/reportchildabuse or calling 0300 123 5012.”
Detective Superintendent Nigel Wenham, of Cheshire police, said: “Tackling abuse in all its forms, is a priority for Cheshire police.
“Children and young people are exposed to exploitation and abuse in a variety of ways, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional harm and neglect. Children and young people often don’t recognise or understand what’s happening to them until it’s too late.
“We fully support this latest campaign, we are committed to working with the public and partners to prevent young people’s lives being shattered by abuse. Any campaign that can improve people’s knowledge and, in particular, parents’ awareness of what to look for if their child is being abused, plays an important role in tackling this type of crime.
“If anyone suspects a child may be a victim of any form of child abuse then they should take action now. Do not be afraid to speak out and seek advice, the consequences of failing to act can be devastating.
“Cheshire Police have teams of specialist officers who work in partnership to safeguard and protect children, who investigate thoroughly and robustly in order to keep children and young people safe.”