Young people can be vulnerable to abuse by adults and it is everyone’s responsibility to identify and report any form of abuse thus promoting the welfare of all children.
The Child Protection Act deems this to involve shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, hitting, drowning or suffocating. It can also include, feigning the symptoms of, or deliberately causing the ill health to a child. This situation is commonly known as Munchausen’s Syndrome.
Neglect may manifest itself in a child’s physical appearance or through their behaviour. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter or clothing, also the failure to protect against physical harm or danger. It can include neglect of or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.
The Child Protection Act deems this to involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valueless. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on a child. It may also involve a child frequently feeling frightened or in danger.
Emotional abuse is the most difficult type of abuse to recognise as there are is not obvious physical marks or injuries. However, there are certain signs that may be associated with emotional abuse. These are unrelated crying, sullen withdrawn behaviour, abusive language or bullying.
This takes the form of forcing or enticing a minor to take part in a sexual act penetrative or non-penetrative. However, the activities may not always involve physical contact, such as children being encouraged to watch pornographic material or be involved in the production of. In addition, evidence of self-harm may also be indicative of sexual abuse.
We’ll cover more about Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) below.
Physical abuse involves hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a young adult. This could also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a young adult
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Frequent injuries
- Unexplained or unusual fractures or broken bones
- Unexplained bruises or cuts
- Unexplained burns or scalds
- Unexplained bite marks
- Female genital mutilation (FGM)
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a form of abuse faced by girls and women at any given stage of their life. It is when a female’s genitals are deliberately altered or removed for non-medical reasons.
Also known as ‘female circumcision’ or ‘cutting’, it is dangerous and a criminal offence in the UK.
Young adults or women who are at risk of FGM might ask you for help. But some may not know what’s going to happen to them. So it’s important to be aware of the signs. Call 999 in case of imminent threat.
Signs of FGM
If it is about to happen
- Relative or someone known as a ‘cutter’ visiting from abroad.
- A special occasion or ceremony takes place where a girl ‘becomes a woman’ or is ‘prepared for marriage’.
- A female relative, like a mother, sister or aunt has undergone FGM.
- A family arranges a long holiday overseas or visits a family abroad during the summer holidays.
- A girl has an unexpected or long absence from school.
- A girl struggles to keep up in school.
- A girl runs away – or plans to run away – from home
Has taken place
- Having difficulty walking, standing or sitting.
- Spending longer in the bathroom or toilet.
- Appearing quiet, anxious or depressed.
- Acting differently after an absence from school or college.
- Reluctance to go to the doctors or have routine medical examinations.
- Asking for help – though they might not be explicit about the problem because they’re scared or embarrassed.
Emotional abuse would entail emotional maltreatment faced by a young adult which could cause adverse effects on an individual’s emotional development. This would include – making them feel worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.
It may also include not giving them opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate or even serious bullying (including cyber bullying).
Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Change in behaviour
- Young adults who are excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong
- Withdrawn attention
- Parents or carers who withdraw their attention from young adults, giving them the ‘cold shoulder’
- Blame game
- Parents or carers blaming their problems on them
- Parents or carers who humiliate them, for example, by name-calling or making negative comparisons
Neglect is when a young adults basic physical and/or psychological needs are failed to be met, having serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.
Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protection from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
Neglect could also include lack of or unresponsiveness to their emotional needs.
Signs of Neglect
- Living in a home that is indisputably dirty or unsafe
- Left hungry or dirty
- Left without adequate clothing
- Living in dangerous conditions
- Often angry, aggressive or self-harm
- Fail to receive basic health care
- Fail to seek medical treatment when ill or injured
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is when Young People or children are taken advantage of or exploited by perpetrators with a sexual motive.
If YOU would like to reach out and talk to someone, please get in touch with any of our Children Safeguarding Leads or email Clair Linnane, Practice Manager and safeguarding lead. If you feel imminent threat call 999 immediately.
Signs of CSE
- Physical injuries
- Signs of bruising, burn, cuts, marks or evidence of self harm.
- Reluctant to seek medical attention.
- If the child suddenly has unaccountable extra money or new possession.
- Change in appearance
- If you see a change in the way they dress or if they dress inappropriately.
- Lack of personal hygiene.
- Online activity
- If they are spending way too much time online and being secretive about it.
- Change in behaviour
- Mood swings, aggressive behaviour towards people around, being withdrawn and anti-social, low self-esteem, poor self-image, eating disorder, change in school performance.
- Use of alcohol / drugs to cope with their new behaviour
- New friends
- Sudden change in who they spend time with.
- Regularly goes missing for short spells
- See Something. Say Something.
- Incase of an Emergency call 999