Public urged to spot signs of child abuse

Library picture
Library picture

Wigan people are being asked to think ABC when it comes to looking out for potential signs of child abuse or neglect.

As part of a national campaign from the Department for Education to encourage people not to be afraid to raise any concerns they may have about a child’s welfare the ABC method is a way to help people recognise what signs might show potential neglect.

Every case of child abuse and neglect is different and there are no two cases which are the same.

But while this is the case there are signs which people can spot which could point towards something being wrong.

The signs of neglect could include:

* Appearance: such as frequent unexplained injuries, consistently poor hygiene, matted hair, unexplained gifts or parents 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.

Coun Jo Platt, portfolio holder for children’s services at Wigan Council, said: “We know that research suggests one in three do not report suspected child abuse or neglect and those who do not speak out say they are concerned they may not be right.

“Thinking about these signs can help people who might be afraid to speak out, but we would always want anyone who has any concerns to come forward as everyone has a role to play in keeping our children safe from abuse and neglect.”

Last month it was revealed that hundreds of Wigan taxi drivers have been trained to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation.

More than 1,000 private hire and hackney carriage drivers have been given grounding in how to identify possible CSE case, how to report their suspicions and how to help disabled or vulnerable passengers.

Over the last five months Wigan Council’s licensing team has arranged for the drivers to attend a mandatory training session to raise awareness of both subjects.

It comes just weeks after South Ribble Council’s cabinet was accused of “covering up” a report which detailed how taxi drivers had not undergone the correct safeguarding checks, leaving children, especially those that got taxis to and from school, at risk.

Efforts to protect children have been stepped up across the country since it was discovered that more than 1,400 children in Rotherham had been groomed and exploited by a gang of men over a number of years. Both its council and the local police were criticised for the way they handled the abuse.

If you have concerns about a child or young person’s welfare you can go to www.gov.uk/reportchildabuse where you can find an online form to fill in to raise your concerns.

You can also call 01942 828300 or 0161 834 2436 out of hours.

You can also find out more about the work being done to protect children across the borough by going to www.wigan.gov.uk/wscb.