Local councils have joined forces with police chiefs, charities and the Government to help encourage the public to report suspicions of child abuse.
New research has revealed that more than a quarter (26%) of adults said they had been concerned about the welfare or abuse of a child, but 42% did not report their suspicions to child protection services.
Isabelle Trowler, chief social worker, said: ‘The public may be nervous about reporting suspected child abuse or neglect, but people don’t have to be absolutely certain about whether a child is being abused. If you have a feeling that something’s not right, talk to the local children’s social care team who will look into it.’
The new alliance brings together the Local Government Association (LGA), police forces, community organisations and the voluntary sector. It will aim to educate the public about different forms of abuse, how to spot the signs, and reassure people on how the reporting process works.
Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: ‘We will always encourage people to refer any concerns about children to their local authority as soon as possible, so that the situation can be investigated, and support or immediate protection put in place where necessary.
‘Councils have a child referred to them every 49 seconds on a daily basis, but councils too often only hear about problems once they’ve become serious. We would urge people to pick up the phone whenever they suspect a child may need support or protection, so that councils can help that child or family access the support they need as soon as possible.'