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24 March 2018, 07:09 | Updated: 24 March 2018, 07:11
A group in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough set up to protect children from abuse and neglect says it wants more people to know how they can report cases of concern, including noticing when youngsters have falling levels of appearance and or hygiene.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Boards say abuse can happen anywhere, by anyone. Some abuse and neglect is obvious, others are hidden. Members of the public can help by spotting signs of neglect or exploitation of children they see regularly, or noticing signs of self-neglect in an adult who has care and support needs, perhaps someone who is frail because of age or poor health.
Behavioural signs of adult neglect can include: becoming quiet and withdrawn; being upset or angry for no obvious reason; looking unkempt, dirty or thinner than usual; sudden changes in character such as appearing helpless, depressed or tearful; physical signs such as bruises, wounds, fractures or other untreated injuries; the same injuries happening more than once; not wanting to be left by themselves or along with particular people; being unusually lighthearted and insisting there's nothing wrong.
Behavioural signs of child neglect can include: poor appearance and hygiene - they may be smelly or dirty, have unwashed clothes or seem hungry; health or development problems - such as untreated or repeated injuries, poor muscle tone, thin or swollen stomach, tiredness or faltering weight or growth; housing and family issues - living in an unsuitable home, being left along for a long time, taking on the role of carer for other family members.
Dr Russell Wate, Chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Boards said:
"After over 25 years working in safeguarding, I have seen the absolute trauma that happens when we don't protect our children and vulnerable adults.
We must do everything we can, not just as professionals. but also members of the public, to safeguard children and adults at risk. The Safeguarding Boards are the glue that holds agencies together to make this happen by challenging agencies and by listening to children, young people, adults and their carers, who tell us their experiences and how we can do better. Safeguarding is everyone's business, we must do this together."
Here in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough there are many dedicated professionals who work hard to protect children and adults at risk, from abuse and neglect; they're from the Police, the NHS, local authorities, as well as other members from key agencies including education, organisations who work with offenders, care providers and the voluntary sector.
If you have any concerns about someone, please contact your local authority:
If someone is in immediate danger call 999.
If contact is made early enough, it might be possible to prevent harm and exploitation of a child or adult from taking place
You can find out more information: www.safeguardingpeterborugh.org.uk