"Everyday I hear the child next door crying, her parents are always shouting at her. Yesterday, in the street, I saw her mother hit her hard across the side of the head. This is probably none of my business but I am worried and not sure what to do?"
All parents have problems at times but can be helped by other family members or close friends. If someone you know is having difficulties, you could:
There may be times when a child is at risk of harm and you need to get help.
How would you want other people to act if your child was being harmed?
When we think, see or are told about a child that is being hurt we can react in many different ways. We may feel guilty, angry, or shocked. Some people's reactions can stop help getting to a family who need it.
Many people do not tell because they fear that:
Telling may ruin family relationships. In truth, it is best that action is taken early to stop things getting worse. Long-term abuse is much more likely to cause problems for a child as they get older. Even if you think something is just a one off, other agencies may already have concerns about the child. Your information could be very important.
If you report your concerns to Social Services, you will be asked for your details and details of the worries you have. You should write down what you want to say before you speak to them so that you can remember everything.
Remember that Every Child Matters.
There are many possible signs of abuse, ranging from injury to changes in the way a child is acting. You could see something happen or a child may tell you that they are being hurt.
If you think that a child has been hurt, contact the Duty Social Worker or the Police. If you are not sure, you can speak to a helpline such as the NSPCC and your call will be kept private.
Explain exactly whatyou have seen or been told. If you can, keep a note of dates, injuries and the exact words used. These will help you.
Make sure your child knows who they can share worries with if and when they need to. Listen carefully to children and notice any changes in them.