This week sees the launch of the Government’s campaign, ‘Together, we can tackle child abuse’ and Warwickshire County Council is joining with other local authorities throughout the UK to raise awareness of this serious issue.
The campaign aims to encourage the public to report any concerns about children in potential danger in order to help them more quickly. Through publicising the message that tackling child abuse is everyone’s responsibility, it is hoped that reporting will become a social norm.
In support of the campaign’s message, Warwickshire County Council will be sharing a series of campaign ‘myth busters’ on social media (Twitter: @wcc_news and the WCC News Facebook page) to encourage Warwickshire residents to report anything that may cause concern.
The posts discredit some of the misconceptions people have about child abuse that may prevent them from going to the authorities, such as:
Myth: “It’s not my job to report child abuse – that’s teachers or professionals to handle.”
Fact: ”No, keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility.”
Myth: “Child abuse doesn’t happen in my neighbourhood, I live in a good area.”
Fact: “Child abuse and neglect can occur anywhere.”
The council is also highlighting some of the signs and symptoms which may indicate abuse to make it easier for people to report.
The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is the first point of contact for anyone in Warwickshire who wishes to report an instance of suspected child abuse. MASH brings together a range of public support agencies including the county council, police and health in order to share information and enable swift and decisive action to protect vulnerable people.
Warwickshire County Councillor Les Caborn, Portfolio Holder for Health said:
“Warwickshire County Council takes this issue very seriously and I’m pleased that we have MASH in place to help people raise their concerns.
“Whether you are a neighbour, teacher or family member, anyone can report their concerns. Please don’t leave it teachers or other professionals. You don’t have to be certain; if you think something isn’t right then get in touch with MASH.
You have the option to remain anonymous and reporting will not mean that a child is automatically taken into care. Last year 400,000 children in England were supported because someone noticed that they needed help.”
Chair of the county council’s Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Dave Parsons said:
“Abuse takes on many different forms and may not necessarily be physical; it may be verbal or emotional or neglect. It’s really important that Warwickshire residents act if they suspect something is wrong.
All children have a right to be safe and protected and everyone can play a role in making this happen. You don’t have to be absolutely certain about whether a child is being abused; if you have a feeling that something’s not right, report it.”
If you suspect an instance of child abuse you can report it to MASH by calling 01926 414144. More information can be found on the website here: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/mash.
If you are worried about a child’s immediate safety, contact the police by dialling 999.
For more information about the Government’s national campaign to tackle child abuse visit: https://tacklechildabuse.campaign.gov.uk/