The National Police Chiefs’ Council have published a poster encouraging everyone, including neighbours and key workers, to be alert to child abuse and exploitation during the COVID-19 crisis.
The campaign ‘KNOW. LOOK. ACT.’ asks anyone with concerns to report them to their local Police force using 101, or dialling 999 if it is an emergency.
During lockdown, some children and young people may be being abused and exploited at home. They can be made to believe that they should never tell anyone and that the abuse is their fault. Shut in with their abusers, they have little chance to escape or to tell anyone. These children need your help! As a neighbour or key worker visiting homes for any reason, you may be the only person able to spot abuse and report it.
Warning signs to look out for include:
- Guarded behaviour of a child around particular individuals
- Sudden changes in behaviour
- Children with bruises, burns, bite marks or fractures
- Children appearing withdrawn, anxious or frightened
- Hearing or seeing shouting and violence towards a child
- Children seen carrying or using drugs
- Children being late or arriving home late in different cars
- Unaccompanied children visiting a house where only adults live
Stay curious and look beyond the obvious.
If something doesn’t feel right, it might not be.
Even if you’re unsure, it’s better to report your concerns.
Do not attempt to intervene yourself.
If you have a safeguarding manager/lead within your organisation, notify them immediately.
Report any concerns you have by calling the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Support for children and young people can be found by calling the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.