People are often hesitant to report their safeguarding concerns because they believe certain myths to be true. It is crucial to spread awareness and bust these common myths so that more concerns are being reported and more and more children are being prevented from abuse.
Reporting a child or family to 'social services' means the child will be removed from their family immediately by social workers.
False. This is not the case. Sharing your concerns with a local authority does not mean a child will be automatically taken into care.
It's only child abuse if there's physical or sexual violence.
False. Child abuse can also include emotional abuse and neglect. Many children and young people who suffer from abuse are likely to experience more than one type.
People will know it was me that reported.
When you report concerns to your local children's social care team you will be asked for your details and can discuss with the team if you'd prefer your details to be kept private.
It's not my job to report child abuse - that's for teachers or professionals to handle.
False. Keeping children safe is everyone's responsibility and if everyone reported their concerns, we would save a lot of children from possible abuse.
Child abuse doesn't happen in my neighbourhood, I live in a good area.
Child abuse and neglect can occur anywhere and in any establishment.
It's best to wait until you're absolutely certain you have firm evidence before reporting child abuse.
No. You don't have to be absolutely certain about your suspicions; if you feel something's not right, talk to your local children's social care team who have professionals who can look into it.
If the child doesn't tell someone about the abuse taking place, it cannot be that serious.
This is false. It is difficult for children and young people to tell someone about the abuse and neglect that is happening - they may show signs in other ways.
Children are mostly just attention seeking when they act up.
No. Changes in behaviour are one of the key signs that a child may be suffering from abuse or neglect, make sure you are aware of all the possible signs.
Children have lots of adults they can turn to for help if they are being abused.
No. Children may find it extremely difficult to ask for help from anyone if they are being abused, particularly if they are being manipulated by the abuser or if they think they won't be believed.
The local authorities are too busy to deal with my concerns.
There are specialist professionals in your community whose sole job is to deal with concerns about child abuse. Reporting your concerns could prevent a child from further abuse- your concerns will always be taken seriously and acted upon by the relevant people.
If you have concerns that a child may be being abused, don’t wait- report them to your local child protective services or law enforcement agency immediately.
If the risk is imminent – phone 999.
Or record and report your concerns to your local Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).