New campaign asks everyone to look out for signs of child abuse

A CAMPAIGN to encourage people to report child abuse is being rolled out in North Devon.

The campaign, supported by Devon County Council, aims to tackle the problem of child abuse going unreported.

A third of people who suspect child abuse do nothing to report it, according to the Department for Education.

The main message of the campaign is you don’t have to be absolutely certain about your suspicions before reporting them.

The campaign, Together We Can Tackle Child Abuse, aims to highlight the fact everyone has a role to play in protecting children and young people from child abuse and neglect.

It calls on the general public to report any signs of abuse.

These signs may include:

-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.

-Changes in behaviour, such as being demanding or aggressive, frequent lateness or absence from school, avoiding their own family, misusing drugs or alcohol, or being constantly tired.

-Changes in communication, such as use of sexual or aggressive language, self-harming, becoming secretive and reluctant to share information or being overly obedient.

The chairman of Devon Safeguarding Children’s Board, Mark Gurrey, said: “Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and we would encourage anyone who is concerned that a child is experiencing abuse or neglect to report their concerns.”

The county council’s cabinet member for children’s services James McInnes is pleased the council is tackling the issue.

He said: “We want it to become a social norm that people, the public, feel that they are able to report suspicions of child abuse and neglect to the authorities.

If you have suspicions a child is being abused you are encouraged to report it to Devon’s Safeguarding Hub by calling 0345 155 1071 or emailing mashsecure@devon.gcsx.gov.uk including as much information as you can.

For further information visit www.devon.cc/reportchildabuse.

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