Safeguarding children: advice for family & friends

Safeguarding means keeping children and young people safe from harm and promoting their welfare.

Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility. Every single person who encounters a child or or young person or his or her family has a role to play.

Through our work, the Manchester Safeguarding Boards aim to provide the parents, carers, family and friends of children and young people – as well as the general public and local businesses  – with the information and advice they need to help us achieve our vision and also to know what to do if they are worried about a child or young person.

I am worried about a child or young person

We all have a role to play in protecting children and young people from child abuse and neglect, but research shows that currently a third of people who suspect child abuse don’t act on their suspicions.

If you have ANY concerns about possible abuse you should report them

If a child or young person is in immediate danger then dial 999 and ask for police assistance.

Someone is missing from home or care

Many children who go missing stay with friends or family members, but there are some who do not have or don’t access these support systems, or who are forced to stay in environments that are harmful to their safety and well-being, and so end up engaging in activities that may put them at risk.

What to do if you think someone is missing or has run away
Every situation is different and there are no set rules about when a child should be considered missing; however if you are concerned about a very young child you should contact the emergency services immediately.

For young people, if you have any doubts about whether to formally report them missing, for example, when a teenager fails to return home after a time they have agreed, contact the police. There is no time limit on when you can make a report. You don’t have to wait 24 hours.

If your child is missing or has run away from home, you must contact the Police.

Runaway Helpline has launched a website and a free 24/7 confidential helpline 116000. Please share the website with young people – there are lots of topics on the website about the problems and reasons that young people run away, to inform discussions and to help.

For more information see our Missing children resource.

Recognising the signs of abuse

The warning signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect can vary from child to child. Disabled children may be especially vulnerable to abuse, because they may have an impaired capacity to resist or avoid abuse. They may have speech, language and communication needs which may make it difficult to tell others what is happening.

By understanding the warning signs, you can respond to problems as early as possible. It is important to recognise that a warning sign doesn’t automatically mean a child is being abused. There are several signs of child abuse or neglect which people can look out for:

  • Appearancesuch as frequent unexplained injuries, constant poor hygiene, matted hair, unexplained gifts, or a parent regularly collecting children from school when drunk.
  • Behaviour – such as demanding or aggressive behaviour, frequent lateness or absence from school, avoiding their own family, misusing drugs or alcohol, or being constantly tired.
  • Communication – such as sexual or aggressive language, self-harming, becoming secretive and reluctant to share information or being overly obedient.

Get advice
To find out more about government advice visit their website

Contact the NSPCC if you want to discuss your concerns and get further advice:


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