Together We Can Tackle Child Abuse Campaign – resources for all
The Together, we can tackle child abuse campaign was launched by the Department for Education with the support of local authorities and other partners.
The aim of the campaign is to encourage members of the public to report instances of child abuse and neglect and overcome the barriers that stop people reporting. We all have a role to play in protecting children and young people. Together, we can tackle child abuse.
How to spot the signs of child abuse and neglect
To spot the signs of child abuse or neglect, look for changes in:
- Appearance – such as frequent unexplained injuries, consistently poor hygiene, matted hair, unexplained gifts, or a parent regularly collecting children from school when drunk
- Behaviour – such as demanding or aggressive behaviour, frequent lateness or absence from school, avoiding their own family, misusing drugs or alcohol, or being constantly tired
- Communication – such as sexual or aggressive language, self-harming, becoming secretive and reluctant to share information or being overly obedient.
One concern was that people were unclear on how to spot the signs of child abuse and neglect – so this easy ABC is being promoted by the campaign.
What stops people reporting?
Most people find the decision to report child abuse a difficult one. These fears are understandable, but unfounded.
A third of people who suspect child abuse, do nothing. A number of people do not act on their suspicions because they are worried about being wrong.
Busting myths and barriers to reporting child abuse?
Fact: social workers protect vulnerable children and provide support to families in need of assistance.
- Sharing your concerns with a local authority will not mean a child is taken into care, but could mean the authorities spot a problem sooner and can take action to help the child and the family concerned
- ultimately the decision for removing a child from their family rests with the courts.
Myth: it is only child abuse if there is physical or sexual violence
Fact: nationally in 2014/15 over three quarters of the children on child protection plans were there as a result of neglect or emotional abuse of the remaining children reasons were 10% for physical abuse and 5% for sexual abuse many children and young people are likely to experience more than one type of ab
- Emotional abuse includes bullying, making a child feel worthless or unloved, inadequate, deliberately silencing them or frequently causing a child to feel frightened or in danger
- neglect covers the ongoing persistent failure to meet a child’s basic needs; it may include failing to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, or medical treatment; likewise failing to protect a child from harm or danger or not ensuring proper care or supervision
- to spot the signs of child abuse or neglect, look for ABC changes as above.
Myth: people will know it was me who reported them
Fact: when you make report to children’s social care you will be asked for your details but can say if you would prefer they were kept private.
Myth: it is not my job to report child abuse – that’s for teachers or professionals to handle
Fact: keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility – everyone in the community has an important role to play.
- An abused child wants the opportunity to be heard, but children need adults to spot the signs, notice if something is troubling them, and act on their concerns
- a third of people who suspect child abuse, do nothing – people do not act on their suspicions because they’re worried about being wrong but you don’t have to be absolutely certain about your suspicions; if you have a feeling that something’s not right, talk to your local children’s social care team who can look into it
- remember to trust your instincts
Myth: child abuse doesn’t happen in my neighbourhood – I live in a good area
Fact: whatever their background, age, gender, race or sexuality or wherever they live, any child or young person could be abused or neglected – child abuse and neglect can occur anywhere.
Myth: it is best to wait until you’re absolutely certain you have firm evidence before reporting child abuse
Fact: you don’t have to be absolutely certain about your suspicions; if you have a feeling that something’s not right, talk to your local children’s social care team who can look into it.
- a third of people who suspect child abuse, do nothing – number of people do not act on their suspicions because they are worried about being wrong
- remember to trust your instincts
Myth: if the child doesn’t tell someone about the abuse taking place it cannot be that serious
Fact: research indicates that children and young people suffering abuse may make multiple attempts to tell someone; however, talking about this is a difficult subject.
- It may be more subtle than just coming out with it or showing a visual sign
- while young people told a diverse range of people about their abuse; friends and mothers were by far the most common people who they spoke to first.
Myth: children are just attention seeking when they act up
Fact: changes in behaviour are one of the key signs that a child may be suffering from abuse or neglect.
Myth: children have lots of adults they can turn to for help if they are being abused
Fact: children and young people find it extremely difficult to ask for help from anyone if they are being abused.
The most common barriers that stop them asking for help are:
- having no one to turn to: absence of someone trusted to tell and feelings of isolation
- fears and anxieties manipulated by the abuser
- developmental barriers
- emotional barriers and anxieties
- no one listened and no one asked: lack of recognition of abuse by others
- anxiety over the confidentiality of their information.
What should you do if you suspect child abuse?
For more information about reporting visit our concerned? page
You can also find out more information from the government website at www.gov.uk/reportchildabuse
The content puts the child at the heart of the campaign with a range of emotionally engaging creative content. Free to use for all, the content has been tried and tested with parent groups and experts in the sector.
Core campaign content on the partner site: logo, campaign key messages, campaign overview copy, and suggested social media posts. Digital content includes animations, animated gifs and info-graphics.
The aim is that these will:
- Inform people about the different types of child abuse and neglect – see The Four Types of Child Abuse [animated GIF]
- Educate people on how to spot the signs – find animated GIFs, videos and graphics at www.dfechildprotection-munroforster.com/spotting
- Reassure people about the reporting process, and support them through it – see www.dfechildprotection-munroforster.com/reporting
Access the materials, and guidance on how to use them can be found on the website at www.dfechildprotection-munroforster.com
The key call-to-action for reporting across the campaign content directs people to the website www.gov.uk/tacklechildabuse where members of the public can enter their postcode to contact their local council.
Resources: Infographics and Mythbusters