Merton Council is proud to be supporting the Together, we can tackle child abuse campaign again this year. The campaign, which affirms that all children have a right to be safe and should be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect, comes in the same week as National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day on 18 March 2018.
Picture taken from last year’s conference featuring Yvette Stanley, Merton Council’s Director of Childrens, Schools and Families and Merton’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Katy Neep
Last year’s national campaign saw nearly 400,000 children in England supported because someone noticed they needed help. To help protect a child or young person everyone is encourage to look out for changes in their Appearance, Behaviour and Communication (ABC).
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- Communication: Talking aggressively, self-harming or becoming secretive or withdrawn.
Anyone who suspects 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 is a partnership of education and social care staff from Merton Council, the police and the NHS who work together to protect children and are also supporting the campaign.
The Together, we can tackle child abuse campaign highlights how important it is for people to report any suspicions or concerns they have about a child who may be suffering abuse. Reports can be made anonymously and information about children at risk of abuse is usually gathered from a number of sources, so the details anyone provide would potentially form part of a bigger picture.
Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Katy Neep said: “It’s up to all of us to keep children safe. Many people do not act because they’re worried about being wrong. You don’t have to be absolutely certain; if you’re concerned a child is being abused or their safety is at risk, report it to our multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH).
At Merton 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 in all its forms. So please do not hesitate make that call if you have concerns.”
Anyone worried about a child in Merton should contact the Merton Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 020 8545 4226 or 020 8545 4227. You can report anonymously to Merton’s MASH team, to the NSPCC or to the police who can provide the support a child may need. If you are worried about the immediate safety of a child you should call 999.
To coincide with the campaign and this week’s awareness day, Merton Council are providing two-day Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day Conference in the Council Chambers at the Civic Centre in Morden. For more details, see here.