Surrey County Council is supporting the national Together We Can Tackle Child Abuse campaign which urges members of the public to report any concerns so that support can be given to all children and families who need it.
More than 400,000 children across England were supported in 2014/15 because someone noticed they needed help but research suggests that a third of people who suspect child abuse, don’t act on their concerns.
Linda Kemeny, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Educational Achievement, said: ‘All children have a right to be safe and we all have a role to play in protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect.
‘A number of people do 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 something’s not right, talk to our 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.
‘Children and families can be helped at an earlier stage with preventative support if more members of the public share their concerns. It is not just up to social services, doctors and the police to spot the signs of abuse and neglect – members of the public are in a unique position to spot concerns among children with whom they come into contact, concerns which may not be apparent to professionals.’
The campaign, led by the Department for Education, also aims to raise awareness of potential signs of child abuse and neglect including:
*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.
If you’re worried about a child, visit gov.uk/reportchildabuse or call 01483 518505 or 01483 517898 out of hours.