No child or adult should be made to feel unsafe.
During lockdown, efforts to safeguard vulnerable people have become much harder. With home visits restricted, schools closed and medical consultations virtual, the chance to check on vulnerable people has become difficult. But safeguarding is everyone’s business, and we all have a part to play to spot the signs of abuse or neglect.
If you are concerned about anyone, you should not ignore these worries or assume that someone else will report the abuse.
What are the signs to look out for?
It might be trickier to spot the signs of abuse or neglect during this time of lockdown, but even remotely via video calling or catching up over the telephone or in the park, you may be able to spot the signs:
- Unusual injuries, including bruises, burns, fractures, bite marks or signs of self-harm
- Consistently poor hygiene, poor living conditions or inappropriate clothing
- Communicating aggressively or using sexual language
- Appearing withdrawn, guarded, anxious or frightened, particularly around certain individuals
- Hearing or seeing shouting, violence or intimidation
- Adults keeping children, or adults in need of support, from view
- Adults or children needing support looking off camera when being asked questions as if being told what to say by someone else
- Unsupervised children visiting a house where only adults live.
What to do if you have a concern
If you suspect a crime is being or has been committed, or a vulnerable person is in immediate danger, call 999 immediately and ask for the police. If you are unable to call because of hearing or speech impairments, use the emergency text service: www.emergencysms.net
You can also contact the relevant Social Care team at your local council. Contact details to report a concern about a child or adult to your local council can be found by visiting: www.myguideapps.com/safeguarding
Alternatively, the NSPCC Helpline is available for anyone who would like to talk through a safeguarding concern about a child. The NSPCC can be contacted online: www.nspcc.org.uk or be calling: 0808 800 5000.
If you are concerned that someone is at risk of domestic abuse, find more information and support services available by visiting: www.gov.uk/domestic-abuse or read our news story which provides contact details for further support services available that can help.
If you suspect someone may be a victim of modern slavery, contact the Salvation Army’s confidential 24/7 referral helpline on: 0800 808 3733 or visit: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-victims-of-modern-slavery