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Gloucestershire Business News

Help keep children safe from harm and neglect

The county council is urging people to continue reporting their concerns if they think that a child or young person could be at risk.

With more time being spent at home during lockdown, some of the most common signs of harm and neglect can be more difficult to spot, but just because a child is out of sight, it doesn't mean that they are out of harm's way.

Despite stringent social distancing measures in place, the county council continues to make essential visits to the most vulnerable children in the county, where it has been deemed safe to do so. In addition, schools remain open for vulnerable children and at-risk children who are already known to the council.

To help keep children safe during these unprecedented times, the council is asking the local community to make themselves aware of potential signs of harm and neglect and to report any concerns about a child's safety or welfare to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

Cllr Richard Boyles, cabinet member for children's safeguarding and early years at Gloucestershire County Council said: "Making sure our most vulnerable children and young people are safe remains our absolute priority. We know that this will become more challenging over time, but the more we work together, the better chance we have of keeping children safe from harm.

"Right now, it can be difficult to know for sure if something is happening at home, but if you are worried about the welfare of a child in your community; please do contact our Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub. If you or a family you know need advice and support, our Parent Advice Line is also available."

Signs of abuse and neglect might include:

• Aggressive or repeated shouting

• Hearing hitting or things being broken

• Children crying for long periods of time

• Very young children left alone or outdoors by themselves

• Children looking dirty or not changing their clothes

• Children being withdrawn or anxious

If you spot these signs, it doesn't necessarily mean a child is being abused or neglected, but by raising concerns you can make sure that children are safe and families are getting the support they need at the earliest opportunity, rather than leaving it too late.

If you are concerned about a child, please contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 01452 426565, email childrenshelpdesk@gloucestershire.gov.uk .

To help support families, the council have set up a parent advice line. The advice line offers confidential advice, guidance and emotional support on any aspect of parenting and family life. If you need support, please contact the advice line on 0800 542 02 02.

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