Council urges people to report suspected child abuse

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North Lincolnshire Council is once again backing the national campaign, ‘Together, we can tackle child abuse’, to encourage people to report suspected child abuse and recognise their role in protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect.

The main message that is being highlighted throughout the campaign is ‘Child abuse. If you think it, report it’. Anything you notice can help a child at risk.

A number of people do not act on their suspicions because they are worried about being wrong. 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 the council’s children’s social care team who can look into it.

Information is usually gathered from many sources, and your report would form one part of a bigger picture.

All children have a right to be safe and should be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect.

Abuse is harm to a child or young person and could be in the form of neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse or emotional abuse.

In the Yorkshire and Humber region:

10 per cent of people have suspected a child has been or is suffering child abuse or neglect

39 per cent of the public are put off reporting because they think they might be wrong

28 per cent of people would wait until they were absolutely certain abuse of neglect was taking place before making a report

31 per cent would find reporting child abuse and neglect more challenging than delivering news about the death of a friend or family member

34 per cent say they would find reporting child abuse and neglect more challenging than reporting the crime of a family member

For more information about child abuse and what support is available, visit www.northlincs.gov.uk and search for ‘worried about a child’.

Councillor David Rose, cabinet member for children, families and learning, said: “We all have a role to play in protecting children and young people from child abuse and neglect. All children and young people should grow up feeling loved and secure.

“Child abuse remains a significant and often hidden issue in society today. Across the country there has been an increase in the number of cases reported to children’s services.

“Some people don’t report suspected abuse because they think it might just be a one-off. Even if that is the case, every child deserves to be protected and it is better to be safe than sorry.

“In North Lincolnshire we work tirelessly with partners from the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board to safeguard children and enable families to live independently from specialist services, where possible.”

Edwina Harrison, independent chair of North Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board, said: “The LSCB supports this campaign and hopes members of the public will feel confident in reporting any concerns to North Lincolnshire Council. All children living in North Lincolnshire deserve protection and as they often can’t speak for themselves it is really important that adults do what they can and speak up for them.”

If you are concerned that a child is being abused or may be at risk of harm you can call the council on:

01724 296500 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4.30pm Friday)

08081 689 667 (free phone)

01724 296555 (answerphone – out of ours and at weekends)

If you think police assistance is required call 101 for non-emergency or 999 in an emergency.

Last year 400,000 children in England were supported because someone noticed they needed help.