Date Published: 09 April 2020
Rutland County Council, as part of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Safeguarding Partnership, is urging residents to be extra vigilant of child welfare during lockdown and to report any concerns.
Since the introduction of social distancing measures, brought in to limit the spread of coronavirus, the Council has seen a drop in reports to their safeguarding team.
Council experts are concerned that, despite this drop, cases of child abuse may be on the rise, with fewer opportunities for it to be seen, reported and stopped. They are calling on residents to help make sure children are kept safe.
“We want to ensure children are protected during these unprecedented times. We’ve all got to stay at home to keep safe, support the NHS and save lives. But if home isn’t safe for a child, we need to know. Lockdown means households may be feeling the strain with greater anxiety about health and financial pressures. There are also fewer opportunities for adults to spot the signs of child abuse and help. We’re asking residents to please look out for signs in your family or street. If you have any concerns or something doesn’t look right, please let us know. Across the county front doors are being kept closed. But our door is always open.”
Councillor David Wilby, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services
Residents are asked to look and listen out for signs that may indicate abuse:
- Very young children being left on their own
- Children looking dirty or not changing their clothes
- Children are withdrawn or anxious
- Aggressive or repeated shouting
- Sounds of hitting or banging and things being broken
- Children crying for long periods of time
- Relatives denied access to talk to children by phone or video call
“The situation at the moment is a pressure cooker and will increase levels of more and severe abuse. Children are normally seen by lots of different adults every day, like neighbours, grandparents and teachers. But abuse is currently much harder to see. These are unprecedented times, and we know there might be lots of explanations for unusual behaviour at the moment but if you have any concerns please let the Council know so they can assess things. Now more than ever, local children need your help to keep them safe.”
Simon Westwood, independent advisor for the Leicestershire and Rutland Safeguarding Partnership
To report concerns about children’s welfare call: 01572 758 407 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If a child is in immediate danger call 999 and ask for the police.