Abuse can take different forms. Common types of abuse are:
You can phone, write or call into our Initial Response Team. Phone immediately if you believe it is urgent.
Someone will talk to you about your concerns and take details.
The parent or carer will be told if the referrer is a professional person, like a doctor or a teacher. They will not always be told if the referrer is a neighbour, friend or family member. If you want to give details about a child you are worried about and want your details to be kept anonymous then this will be respected.
If a crime has been committed against a child, the Police will also be involved. They will check their records to see whether or not there is any criminal history and jointly investigate any allegations with the social workers. These will be specially trained Police Officers who do not wear Police uniforms.
The Government passed a law in 1989 called The Children Act. Under this law it is wrong to abuse or neglect a child or young person who is under the age of 18. If social workers are told that a child or young person might be being abused or neglected, they are under a duty to investigate to find out whether that child needs to be protected.
If the concerns you tell us about suggest the child is being harmed a social worker will go and talk to the parent or carer to find out if the information that they have been given is true and whether the family needs additional help or support. They will also want to see and talk to the child. If the child is very young or if he or she has difficulties communicating, they will need to spend some time with them. If the social worker thinks that the child is at risk they will discuss what will need to happen to make them safe.
The professionals investigating the referral will make a decision about the degree of risk that the child might be in. The decision will be sent in writing to the parent or carer.
If the decision is that the child is not being harmed or at risk of serious harm, we may be able to offer the parent or carer some extra help or support. A social worker may then visit again to see how they are getting on.
If it is decided that the child or young person is being harmed or is at risk of serious harm, there will be a Child Protection Conference and action will be taken to protect the child.
A Child Protection Plan will be developed to reduce the risk to the child, who will be allocated a social worker.
The social worker will let you know the outcome of your concerns.
This can only be done if the police and social worker think the child or young person is in immediate danger and/or the plan to protect the child is not working. The social worker has to get permission from the court before any child can be removed from home-this is called a Care Order. This will only be done if there is no other solution. Extended family or friends are always the preferred option and will always be explored as alternative carers.
Many people worry that their child will be taken into Local Authority care. In fact, even after a Child Protection Conference, most children stay living at home with their parents.
Everyone working in Child Protection tries to keep children with their families as long as that is a safe place for them to be.
If you are worried about an allegation, suspicion or complaint made by a child or adult against an adult who works with children or young people then you need to contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). The LADO in Thurrock can be contacted on 01375 652732. If you are a professional and need Safeguarding or Child Protection Advice then you may contact Thurrock's Safeguarding and Advice Team on 01375 652732.
The CEOP Centre is dedicated to eradicating the sexual abuse of children and is your front door to internet safety and advice. CEOP help children to stay safe online.