Council urge residents to join forces to tackle child abuse

11 March 2016

Cheshire West and Chester 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. 

However a third of people who suspect child abuse do nothing. People may not act on their suspicions because they’re worried about being wrong. You don’t have to be absolutely certain about your suspicions; if you have a feeling that something’s not right, talk to the Council’s children’s social care team who can look into it.

If you're worried that a child is being abused, watch out for any unusual behaviour. The campaign 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 Nicole Meardon, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said: “The Council are committed to protecting vulnerable children, ensuring that they feel safe and receive the support they need. To help us do this we need every member of our community to take responsibility and pick up the phone if you suspect a child is being abused.

“You might think that it’s the job of the local authority or teachers to report these concerns but it is essential that all members of the public speak up if they have a concern. Information is usually gathered from many sources, and your report would form one part of a bigger picture.” 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.”

If you’re worried about a child please visit www.gov.uk/reportchildabuse or if you live in West Cheshire please call the Council’s Children Social Care Contact and Referral Team on: 01606 275 099. 

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