Social workers and others working with children have been urged to spot the ‘soft’ signs that a child is being abused.
Draft guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) sets out how professionals can spot the signs of abuse and neglect including newly recognised forms of abuse such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual exploitation.
It outlines that certain behaviours or emotions, such as low self-esteem, frequent rages and excessive clinginess, could be an indication of abuse.
Professor Corinne May-Chahal, chair of the guideline committee, said: ‘Our awareness of the different forms of child abuse and neglect is developing all the time but it is difficult for professionals to keep track of the best ways to assess abuse and intervene effectively.
‘This guideline is important as it will help professionals spot the warning signs and focus on what early help and interventions can be provided.’