Speak out on child abuse

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Residents are being urged to report signs of child abuse and neglect as part of a national campaign backed by St Helens Council.

The town hall is backing a new Government scheme that aims to reinforce the message that all children have a right to safety and protection.

The Department for Education’s Together, we can Tackle Child Abuse campaign wants to establish a new “social norm” that encourages the public to report any concerns they may have about a particular child in their community.

Coun Andy Bowden, the council’s cabinet member for children, families and young people, said the public can help families earlier by reporting any abuse and neglect they come across in their daily lives.

Adding: “Teachers, social workers, health professionals and the police all play an important role in safeguarding and protecting children, but the public has an important role to play too.

“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.

“Information is usually gathered from many sources - and your report would form just one part of a bigger picture.”

More than 400,000 children in England were supported after members of the public reported abuse or neglect in 2014/15.

A recent study found that 37 per cent of people in the North West would be put off reporting suspicions of child abuse or neglect in case they were wrong, while 29 per cent would wait until they were absolutely certain of neglect or abuse before making a report.

The campaign forms part of the Government’s response to Prof Alexis Jay’s report on child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

Residents with concerns or suspicions of child abuse or neglect should call 01744 676600.