A new campaign has been launched urging people to play their part so that, “Together, we can tackle child abuse”.
It encourages members of the public to help protect children and young people by reporting any concerns they may have about the possible abuse or neglect of a child to the City of Wolverhampton Council, the NSPCC or West Midlands Police.
The City of Wolverhampton Council and Wolverhampton Safeguarding Children Board are backing the campaign which was launched by the Department for Education amid fears that some people are failing to report their concerns because they are not certain of the signs of child abuse, don’t know where to report it, or are worried about being wrong.
As well as highlighting how people should go about reporting their concerns, the campaign also urges people to look out for the signs that could suggest a young person is being abused. These include changes in their ABC – their appearance, their behaviour and the way they communicate.
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 child abuse and neglect.
“Anything you notice can help a child at risk. If you’re concerned in any way that a child is being abused or their safety is at risk, please speak to someone as keeping quiet could mean that the authorities miss out on vital information they need to keep children safe from harm.
"Information about a child's welfare is gathered from many sources, and your report will form part of a bigger picture. You don’t have to be absolutely certain, but by speaking to the council, the NSPCC or the police you could provide the missing piece of the jigsaw – and ultimately keep a child safe."
To report concerns in confidence, please call the City of Wolverhampton Council's children's social care team on 01902 555392 or 01902 552999 outside normal working hours. If the child is at immediate risk, call the police on 999, or 101 if you think a crime has been committed. Trained counsellors are available via the NSPCC helpline 24 hours a day on 0808 800 5000 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Councillor Gibson added: “Anyone can make contact with the authorities if they are worried or have concerns about a young person, including children and their families, relatives, friends and neighbours and professionals such as teachers, doctors, nurses and health visitors. Whoever you are, the message is clear – if you think it, report it."
For more information about child abuse reporting concerns, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/reportchildabuse, www.wolverhamptonsafeguarding.org.uk or www.gov.uk/tacklechildabuse.