In the past year, around 400,000 children in England have been supported by children’s social services because someone noticed they needed help and took responsibility for reporting it.
All children have a right to be safe and protected from all forms of abuse and neglect. Therefore, a national awareness campaign called Together we can tackle child abuse is underway to help everyone understand that reporting child abuse is everybody’s responsibility, and to encourage more people to report a concern.
Many people find the decision to report child abuse a difficult one. They worry about overreacting or being wrong, and may question whether they have strong enough evidence to make a report, or if they have misread the signs of abuse or misunderstood a situation.
While understandable, their fears are unfounded. The advice is that people don’t need to be absolutely certain of what they have seen or heard in order to call Children’s Services in Hampshire.
Information is usually gathered from many sources, and a report from a concerned resident would need to be looked at in the context of other information that has also been received or gathered - as part of a bigger picture.
Another big worry people have is that someone will find out they have made a report. This is extremely unlikely to happen as calls can be made anonymously although, generally, most people do give their details.
Some people don’t report suspected abuse because they think it might just be a one-off - but, even if that is the case, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Research shows that some people prefer to talk to someone such as a partner, family member or friend before making a report – and that is perfectly fine too, as long as a report is made when there is a genuine concern.
There are people who wait until they feel that they are certain before making an official report, but this could contribute to a delay in the involvement of the appropriate services and getting the right help to a child at the earliest opportunity.
Everyone has a role to play in protecting children and young people from child abuse and neglect. Children and families can be helped at the right time if people share their concerns with children’s social services.
You don’t have to be absolutely certain about whether a child is being abused; if you have a feeling that something is not right, talk to Children’s Services in Hampshire, who can look into it.
Anything you notice can help a child at risk – if you think it, report it.
For Children’s Services in Hampshire, call 0300 555 1384 during the hours of 8.30am and 5pm. Outside of those hours, call 0300 555 1373
See more information about Child Protection online on Hantsweb.