Campaign aims to encourage people to report suspicions of child abuse

Posted on: 9 March 2016

A third of people who suspect child abuse do nothing to report it, according to the Department for Education.

Many don’t report their suspicions because they’re worried about being wrong or that they’re overreacting, the Government says.

But in a new national campaign, being promoted locally by Devon County Council, the message is that you don’t have to be absolutely certain about your suspicions before reporting them.

The campaign, ‘Together we can tackle child abuse’,  aims to highlight the fact that everyone has a role to play in protecting children and young people from child abuse and neglect.

It’s not just the role of the authorities to safeguard and protect. It’s also a role that the general public has because they are in a position to spot concerns of abuse and neglect among the children and young people they have contact with every day.

The advice is, if you see signs of abuse or neglect, to report it.

Those signs might include changes in:

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.

Mark Gurrey, the Chairman of the multi-agency Devon Safeguarding Children’s Board, said:

“We welcome the campaign. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and we would encourage anyone who is concerned that a child is experiencing abuse or neglect to report their concerns.”

Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for children’s services, said:

Cllr James McInnes“We’re pleased to support this national campaign. We want to change people’s perceptions about reporting child abuse and neglect. We want it to become a social norm that people, the public, feel that they are able to report suspicions of child abuse and neglect to the authorities. Information is gathered from many sources, and often any report made by a member of the public would form one part of a bigger picture.”

The advice to anyone in Devon who may have suspicions of child abuse or neglect to report them to Devon’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0345 155 1071. Alternatively email and give as much information as you can.

For more information about how to report suspected child abuse, visit Devon County Council’s website.

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