People in Wolverhampton are being encouraged to report suspected cases of child abuse as a major national campaign gets underway.
It comes as latest figures suggest that a third of people who suspect child abuse do nothing about it – potentially leaving hundreds of local children at risk.
The campaign, Together We Can Tackle Child Abuse, makes it clear that everyone has a role to play in protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect, and that is someone thinks something is wrong, they must act on their suspicions.
Councillor Val Gibson, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We all have a role to play in protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect – and together we can tackle this vile crime.
“A third of people who suspect child abuse, do nothing, perhaps because they’re worried about being wrong.
“The message is clear – people don’t have to be absolutely certain about whether a child is being abused; if they have a feeling that something’s not right, they should call the council in confidence on 01902 555392 or 01902 552999 out of hours. And if someone believes the child is at immediate risk, they should always call 999.
“Last year, more than 400,000 children in England were supported because someone noticed they needed help and reported their concerns.”
According to research in the West Midlands, 16% of people have suspected a child has been or is suffering child abuse or neglect, but nearly half – 42% – are put off reporting because they think they might be wrong.
Nearly a quarter say they would wait until they were absolutely certain abuse or neglect was taking place before making a report.
Anyone can contact the council or the police if they are worried or have concerns, including children and their families, relatives, friends or neighbours, and professionals such as teachers, doctors, nurses and health visitors.
To report suspected cases of child abuse, please call the City of Wolverhampton Council on 01902 555392 or 01902 552999 out of hours. In an emergency, always call 999.
For more information, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/safeguarding-children or www.gov.uk/reportchildabuse.