Social distancing, self-isolating and quarantine can cause stress and changes in everyone's behaviour. Families are under new pressures and you may worry a child is withdrawn, anxious or depressed. Spotting the signs of abuse might be more difficult and it can be difficult to know for certain if something is wrong.
Reports of child abuse and exploitation are often made by schools or community groups but with these being temporarily closed, we are appealing for all volunteers to be particularly vigilant and to report any concerns so that we can act quickly to safeguard children.
Some of the signs you may spot include:
- aggressive or repeated shouting
- children exposed to witnessing domestic abuse
- hearing hitting or things being broken
- children crying for long periods of time
- very young children left alone or are outdoors by themselves
- children looking dirty or not changing their clothes
- children being withdrawn or anxious
- unexplained injuries
These signs don't necessarily mean that a child is being abused, there could be other things happening in their life which are affecting their behaviour, but by contacting us we can help assess the situation. You may also notice some concerning behaviour from adults who you know have children in their care, which makes you concerned for the child/children's safety and wellbeing.
To report a concern please call 0300 126 1000 and speak to the multi-agency safeguarding team (MASH). If you believe that a child is in immediate danger please call 999.