Child protection is about protecting a child (anyone under 18) who may be experiencing child abuse already or is at risk of experiencing abuse in future.
What to do if you think a child or young person is being abused
As a resident or a professional in Redbridge, you may have concerns about a child’s welfare or safety. Any concerns should be reported by contacting Children’s Social Care:
Tel: 020 8708 3885
During the evening or at weekends, please call the Emergency Duty Team on 020 8708 5897.
If a child is in immediate danger, please call the police on 999.
Your responsibility is to report your concerns. A Social Worker will follow these up with any necessary investigations or assessment.
Professionals are asked to complete a Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF), a Word version of which can be downloaded from the Redbridge Safeguarding Children Partnership (RSCP) website.
How to respond to a child or young person who tells you about abuse
If a child talks to you about abuse, neglect or mistreatment they are experiencing, it is important that you remain calm and reassuring so that the child feels listened to and understood. It is also important that the person they speak to responds appropriately to get the child the support they need. All disclosures must be taken serious and reported to Children’s Social Care as above.
What is child abuse?
Child abuse falls into several different categories. These can include the following:
- Physical abuse – deliberating hurting a child e.g. hitting, punching or physical chastisement, causing injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts.
- Emotional abuse – ongoing emotional maltreatment of a child including rejection, constantly threatening or criticising a child so that they feel unloved and worthless. This can also include exposure to domestic abuse in the home.
- Sexual abuse – forcing or persuading a child to take part in sexual activities, including inappropriate touching, kissing or sexual intercourse. This can also involve causing a child to look at or be involved in pornographic material.
- Exploitation – using a child for gain, either sexual or criminal.
- Neglect – failure to care for a child’s basic daily needs including food, clothing, medical care, shelter, keeping them safe, education and nurturing.
More information on the different types of abuse can be found on the NSPCC website.
Signs to look out for
Although not an exhaustive list, some signs to look for in contact with individuals at risk of harm of abuse include:
- unusual injuries, including bruises, burns, fractures, bite marks or signs of self-harm
- consistently poor hygiene, poor living conditions or inappropriate clothing
- communicating aggressively or using sexual language
- appearing withdrawn, guarded, anxious or frightened, particularly around certain individual
- hearing or seeing shouting, violence or intimidation
- adults keeping children from view
- unsupervised children visiting a house where only adults live
More information on the signs of abuse can be found on the Tackle Child Abuse campaign website. For information on the signs of abuse that affect adults see the Social Care Institute for Excellence guidance.