There are four main types of abuse:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
This is when someone hurts a child or young person on purpose. Physical abuse can include:
- Making a child ill
- Using an implement such as a belt, stick wire flex etc to discipline.
Signs and symptoms of physical abuse include:
- Unexplained recurrent injuries / marks / burns
- Wearing clothes to cover injuries, even in hot weather
- Fear of physical contact - shrinking back if touched.
Please visit our Child Sexual Exploitation section for more information.
Emotional abuse happens in many different ways. It can affect how a young person or child feels about themselves, how they feel they fit in, with friends, at school, or where they live.
- Being made to feel inadequate, wrong or unhappy
- Being unfairly blamed
- Being bullied
- Being made to feel frightened or in danger
- Seeing or hearing someone from home being hurt by another member of the family (domestic violence)
Signs and symptoms of emotional abuse include:
- Physical, mental and emotional development lags
- Continual self-depreciation ('I'm stupid, ugly, worthless' etc.)
- Inappropriate response to pain ('I deserve this')
- Neurotic behaviour (rocking, hair twisting, self-mutilation).
Neglect is when a child or young person is not being properly looked after. This could damage their health or wellbeing. These very basic needs include:
- Safety at home ( includes not being left at home alone)
- Proper shelter / clothing / cleanliness
- Any necessary medical treatment including dental care
- Protection from physical and emotional harm or danger - this includes protecting them from someone else who may be abusing them.
Signs and symptoms of neglect include:
- Constant hunger, tiredness
- Poor personal hygiene
- Poor state of clothing
- Untreated medical problems
- No social relationships
How to report any concerns
If your child tells you something that worries you, you should:
- Listen and not interrupt
- Try not to appear shocked or surprised by what they say – they might think you can’t handle what they have to say and stop
- Dial 999 in an emergency or 101 if not
- Attend your local police station and tell someone what has happened. They will take an initial report and forward this onto one of our Child Abuse Investigation Teams.
If you’re a child:
- If there’s an adult you trust, a parent, carer, friend or a teacher, talk to them first about what’s happening
- You can contact the police on 101 or in emergency you should always dial 999
- Contact a school nurse by texting 07520 615 387
- Call ChildLine on 0800 1111
If you are a professional:
- It’s important you know your responsibility to refer your concerns to Social Care. Contact your local Children’s Services team and ask to speak with the duty social worker. They are likely to ask you to send a referral form after which they can discuss with you the best way forward
- Call 101 for non-emergencies or 999 if you are concerned that a child is in immediate danger
- If you wish to remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 or report online.
CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) have developed an excellent site www.thinkuknow.co.uk which children and parents can access advice and safety tips.