Worried about a child?
Cruelty to children or child abuse is behaviour that causes significant harm to a child. It also includes when someone who knowingly fails to prevent serious harm to a child.
Only a small number of child abuse cases are carried out by a stranger, it is far more likely that the abuser is someone known to the child or a family member - even someone close who you would expect to trust!
Abuse happens in all walks of life, but children growing up in a violent home or one where the parents/carers misuse drugs or alcohol are particularly at risk.
Types of cruelty
A child who is being abused may experience more than one type of cruelty. Abuse can be physical (e.g. inflicting pain), sexual (e.g. direct or indirect), or emotional (e.g. humiliating them). It can be in the form of neglect, discrimination, harassment or bullying.
What children and young people can do
- Stay safe both inside and outside the home.
- Know their full name, address and telephone number.
- Always ask a parent/carer before going off with anyone.
- You need never doing anything you don't want with an adult or child, even if you know them.
- Children should know they can tell a trusted adult about abuse or if they are concerned about another person being abused.
Child Line (UK's free and confidential helpline for children and young people) -
How you can protect children from abuse
- You can understand the seriousness and consequences of child abuse, and recognise the signs (e.g. bruises, change in behaviour, becoming unusually dirty or hungry).
- Be someone a child can turn to. Listen and reassure them.
- Support a friend or family member struggling with parenthood.
- Every action counts. If you have concerns, there is someone who will listen.
You can contact:
Social Services - Lincolnshire 01522 782111 (Out of hours 01522 782333)
Leicestershire 0116 3055500 (Out of hours 0116 3050005)
Nottinghamshire 0300 5008080 (Out of hours 0300 4564546)
Police - Lincolnshire 01522 9547590
Leicestershire 0116 2222222
Nottinghamshire 0115 9670999
Free 24hr NSPCC Child Protection line - 0808 8005000.
Remember if it's an emergency, dial 999
View/download: Worried About A Child? leaflet