Worried about a child? Find out how to contact us if you think they may be a victim of neglect, abuse or cruelty.
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.
Make a request online
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 want to speak to us about your request 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.
What happens next
Children's MASH Service will receive your form or phone call. The service includes representatives from our Children’s Social Care, Early Intervention, Community Health, Housing and Probation and Youth Offending teams 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
- five working days in all other cases.
We will contact you to tell you we have referred your worries on to one of our teams or the police.
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- aggressive or withdrawn behaviour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.
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 violence 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 violence.
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, Early Help and Probation.
PREVENT - Report abuse Dedicated helplines Protecting children from radicalisation Protecting children from radicalisation
The Prevent duty is the duty in the Counter- Terrorism and Security Act 2015 for specified authorities who are now obliged by law to have "due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism". This includes local authorities, educational provisions, the health sector, police and prisons.
The Prevent Strategy is the governmental initiative that aims to work with vulnerable individuals who may be at risk of:
- being exploited by radical groups and
- subsequently drawn into terror related activity.
PREVENT is a statutory duty and all public bodies have a duty to comply.
We're here to protect children from harm. It can be hard to know when extreme views become something dangerous. And the signs of radicalisation aren't always obvious.
Spotting signs and getting help
Radicalisation can be really difficult to spot. Signs that may indicate a child is being radicalised include:
- Isolating themselves from family and friends
- Talking as if from a scripted speech
- Unwillingness or inability to discuss their views
- A sudden disrespectful attitude towards others
- Increased levels of anger
- Increased secretiveness, especially around internet use
- Children who are at risk of radicalisation may have low self-esteem, or be victims of bullying or discrimination. Extremists might target them and tell them they can be part of something special, later brainwashing them into cutting themselves off from their friends and family.
However, these signs don't necessarily mean a child is being radicalised – it may be normal teenage behaviour or a sign that something else is wrong. If you notice any change in a child's behaviour and you're worried, you can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.
Team members are available to:
- Discuss any potential concerns
- Put the staff member in touch with local and regional advisers with relevant experience and expertise.
Safeguarding Adults Team
Call: 020 3373 0440
Talking about terrorism: tips for parents
Children are exposed to news in many ways, and what they see can worry them. Our advice can help you have a conversation with your child:
- Listen carefully to a child’s fears and worries
- Offer reassurance and comfort
- Avoid complicated and worrying explanations that could be frightening and confusing
- Help them find advice and support to understand distressing events and feelings
- Children can always contact Childline free and confidentially on the phone and online
Dealing with bullying and abuse
It’s also important to address bullying and abuse following terrorist attacks.
- Some children may feel targeted because of their faith or appearance Look for signs of bullying, and make sure that they know they can talk with you about it. Often children might feel scared or embarrassed, so reassure them it's not their fault that this is happening, and that they can always talk to you or another adult they trust. Alert your child’s school so that they can be aware of the issue.
- Dealing with offensive comments about a child’s faith or background If you think your child is making unkind or abusive comments, it’s important to intervene. Calmly explain that comments like this are not acceptable. Your child should also understand that someone’s beliefs do not make them a terrorist. You could ask them how they think the other child felt, or ask them how they felt when someone said something unkind to them. Explain what you will do next, such as telling your child's school.