Safeguarding Children & Young People
Worried about a child? Find out how to contact us if you think they may be a victim of neglect, abuse or cruelty.
Do you have concerns about a child?
Signs of possible abuse
Signs of abuse can range from injury to changes in the way a child acts. You could see something or a child may tell you that he or she is being hurt.
The signs that a child may be being physically abused include:
- unexplained or untreated injuries
- cigarette burns, bite or belt marks
- covering their arms or legs unnecessarily
- flinching when they are touched
The signs that a child may be being neglected at home include:
- poor personal hygiene
- constantly hungry
- dishevelled appearance
The signs that a child may be being emotionally abused include:
- showing extreme emotion
- sudden speech disorders
- delayed development in babies
The signs that a child may be being sexually abused include:
- stomach pains
- discomfort when walking
- inappropriate (sexually explicit) language or behaviour
- aggressive or withdrawn behaviour
- fear of a particular person
- pain, itching, bruising or bleeding in the genital area.
If you are not sure, it’s best to be on the safe side and ask for protection for a child or young person.
Request support or protection of a child and MASH consultation line
If you are worried that a child you know is at risk of serious harm through abuse or neglect, you should tell us. However if you think a child is in immediate danger, phone the police immediately on 999.
Making a request online if you are a professional
You should explain exactly what you have seen or been told. If you can, you should write down dates, injuries you have seen and/ or the exact words you have heard.
If you are a parent / carer or a member of the public and want to make a referral or make an anonymous request, call us on:
- 020 3373 4600 during office hours (Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5.15pm or Friday 9am to 5.00pm)
- 020 8430 2000 at any other time and if the referral is urgent.
What happens next?
Children's MASH Service will receive your form or phone call. The service includes representatives from our Children’s Social Care, Adult Social Care, Early Help Service, Community Health, Housing, Hestia, Change Grow Live, Education, Probation, Youth Justice Service and Newham Police.
Each team will check what information they hold about the child and family to make a decision together about which team should respond to your worries.
We will make this decision in at least:
- one working day if we think a child is in need of our protection or
- within four working days in all other cases
We will notify you of the outcome of your referral at least within four working days of receiving the referral.
MASH Consultation Line
MASH has launched its consultation line in September 2020 to enable professionals and members of public to have a conversation with a manager or a senior social worker if they have any issues or require professional advice on a specific matter. The Newham MASH Consultation line, which is the same line as the ‘MASH Golden Number’ - 020 3373 4600 Option 3 has been launched as part of Children’s Services objectives of ensuring that the right level of support and intervention is offered at the right time to vulnerable children and their families. The consultation line is open as the same time as the MASH opening hours, which is Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5.15pm or Friday 9am to 5.00pm. Professionals should continue to refer families in need of help and protection (non-urgent) via the MASH portal/desk.
What we do if we think a child has been harmed
If we think a child has been harmed or is at risk, we will try to find out what happened and decide what support and protection will help the family.
We put children first and protect people who can't protect themselves. A professional will:
- ask questions about family circumstances
- look at how often this happens and how serious the incidents are and the effect on the child
Involving the police
In some cases, Newham Child Abuse Investigation Team will investigate to find out whether a crime has been committed.
If we suspect child abuse, we and the police have a legal duty to investigate.
Removing a child from his or her home
We rarely remove a child from home. Our aim is to work with families to support and protect children.
We can only remove a child from his or her home with a court order if a judge decides there is a serious and immediate risk to the child’s safety. In an emergency, the police have the power to remove a child for up to 72 hours.
Domestic abuse affects children even if they are not being directly abused. They can develop behavioural, emotional and mental health problems as a result of witnessing domestic abuse.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a crime in this country. It is also a crime to take a British national or permanent resident abroad for FGM or to help someone trying to do this.
Find out more about FGM and what you can do if you think you or someone you know is at risk of FGM.
You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry or if you marry at all.
Newham’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is a single point of contact for all safeguarding referrals for children. MASH provides a delivery framework that enables partner agencies to work together to support and safeguard children by sharing and analysing information that is held about them. MASH provides a space in which agencies can access their client data systems, balancing the need for privacy with the need to share information safely. By doing this, MASH aim to identify need and risk by building a full picture of the child and their family in order to inform decision-making. The service intends to provide a proportionate, timely and coordinated approach to all children in need and/or at risk within the Borough through effective partnership working that places the child at the centre of decision making and ensures that the right help is identified at the outset.
The joined up approach to information sharing in the MASH enables proportionate and timely decisions to be made about the type and level of services children need and facilitates timely access to resources in universal services, early help and targeted early help and when appropriate, statutory social care. Core partner agencies that work within the MASH are Children’s Social Care, Adult Social Care, Police, Health, Education, Youth Justice Service, Housing, Hestia, Change Live Grow, Early Help Service and Probation.
Private Fostering - taking care of someone else's child
A Private Fostering Arrangement is when a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if disabled) is cared for by someone who is not their parent or a ‘close relative’ for 28 days or more. A ‘close relative’ is defined as a biological grandparent, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, step parent or legal guardian. A private foster carer could be a great uncle/aunt, family friend, neighbour or teacher, for example.
Parents and individuals who are privately caring for children are obliged under the law (Private Arrangements for Fostering Regulations 2005) to let the Local Authority know of these care arrangements in order that they can be monitored. Similarly, professionals and members of the public have a legal duty to contact the Local authority if they suspect or become aware that a child is being cared for in private fostering arrangement. Once notified, the Private Fostering team will ensure that children are being well cared for and that carers are offered support.
Notifications of a planned, current or suspected private fostering arrangement should all be made through the Children's MASH Service portal by clicking the link “Request support or protection of a child” or phoning the MASH Team on: 020 3373 4600
- GOV - leaving your child alone
- Newham Local Safeguarding Children Board
- Newham Local Safeguarding Board Professionals
- Newham Local Safeguarding Children Board Children and Young People
- Safeguarding Adults
- Request support or protection of a child
- Ask for protection for a child or young person.
- Get help and support if you are suffering domestic violence