Together we can tackle child abuse

Residents who suspect that a child they know may be at risk of harm are being urged to report their concerns to the Merton Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

The MASH, a partnership of education and social care staff from Merton Council, the police and the NHS working together to protect children, is supporting the Department for Education’s Together, we can tackle child abuse campaign, which was launched this week.

The campaign highlights how important it is for people to report any suspicions or concerns they have about a child who may be suffering abuse.

Signs to look out for include:

  • Appearance: Unexplained injuries, cuts or bruises or consistently poor hygiene.
  • Behaviour: Being demanding or aggressive, frequent lateness or absence from school and being constantly tired.
  • Communication: Talking aggressively, self-harming or becoming secretive or withdrawn.

Reports can be made anonymously and information about children at risk of abuse is usually gathered from a number of sources, so the details you provide would form part of a bigger picture.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Katy Neep said: “It is a difficult decision to tell us that a child you know is at risk of harm, but please don’t wait until you feel certain or dismiss your fears as a one-off incident. Anything you notice could help a child at risk.

“We have a zero tolerance of any abuse or neglect of a child, historic or current, and we are working closely with our partners to tackle child abuse.”

Anyone worried about a child in Merton should contact the Merton Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 020 8545 4226 or 020 8545 4227.

Anyone worried about the immediate safety of a child should call the police on 999.