Call out to help tackle child abuse

Local people are being encouraged to take action by Norfolk County Council , Norfolk Constabulary and the other members of the Norfolk Children s Safeguarding Board as part of a national Department for Education campaign Together, we can tackle child abuse which launches today.

The campaign highlights the role everyone has to play in protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect, so a call is going out to all Norfolk people encouraging them to come forward if they have concerns.

In Norfolk in January this year, 2441 people contacted the Norfolk MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub), of those 1090 were about a child potentially suffering abuse or neglect. However, national research shows almost half those who have suspicions don t come forward to report it because they are worried about being wrong or about what might happen next, so there is more people could do.

The national campaign seeks to reassure people that their concerns will form part of a picture that can help protect a child from harm and that it is rare that professional agencies act on one piece of evidence alone.

One concern is that people aren t sure how to spot the signs of child abuse and neglect and so an easy ABC is being promoted by the campaign to encourage people to report if they spot unusual changes in the following things:

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.

Detective Superintendent Julie Wvendth of Norfolk Constabulary s Safeguarding and Investigations Command, said: Our aim is to prevent harm to those being abused, to safeguard vulnerable children and young people, to bring offenders to justice and to ensure the public have confidence in reporting their suspicions to us.

In 2014/15, more than 400,000 children in England were supported because someone noticed they needed help. Children and families can be helped at an earlier stage with preventative support, if more members of the public share their concerns with their children s social care teams.

James Joyce, Chairman of Norfolk County Council s Children s Services Committee, said: Everyone has a role to play in helping to protect children.

If you think a child is being abused or you think their safety is at risk, then it is important to tell someone.

Over the coming months, messages from the campaign will be seen in a variety of ways in Norfolk including through information from schools and across parish councils.

It will also be highlighted on social media using the hashtag #tackleabusetogether on Twitter.

If you are worried about a child, please email information@norfolk.gov.uk or call 0344 800 8020.

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