Safeguarding children and young people

The CCG has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.

Keeping children and young people safe, by 'safeguarding' them, means:

  • Protecting children from bad treatment
  • Making sure that a child's health or development is not impaired
  • Making sure that children are growing up in a safe environment that provides effective care
  • Taking action to help all children to have the best chances in life

Who is a vulnerable child or young person?

A child or young person is someone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday.

Children who are defined as being ‘in need’ are those who are vulnerable and do not have a satisfactory level of health or development, or that their health or development will be impaired without the help and support of services. The term 'children in need' also describes children who are disabled.

Child protection is part of safeguarding, which describes the activity that is undertaken to protect children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.

Looked After Children (LAC) are children accommodated by the local authority, a child who is subject to an interim or full care order, emergency protection order, a child remanded by a court into local authority accommodation or unaccompanied asylum seeker.

What is abuse?

Abuse and neglect are forms of bad treatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or an institutional or community setting. Abuse can also occur online.

The abuse could be carried out by someone they know, or, more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.

Types of abuse

Physical abuse

A form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, suffocating, female genital mutilation or otherwise causing physical harm to a child .

Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

Emotional abuse

The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child which causes severe and persistent adverse effects on the child's emotional development. This may involve making a child feel worthless or unloved, silencing a child, imposing inappropriate expectations on a child, overprotecting a child in a way that limits their development, bullying (including cyber bullying), causing fear, or exploiting a child. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another e.g. witnessing domestic abuse.

Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of abuse of a child, although it can also take place on its own.

Sexual abuse

Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. 

The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative assault, however sexual abuse also includes non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).

Sexual abuse can be carried out by adult men or women, and also by other children.

Child Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity.

The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.

Neglect

Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, which is likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.

It can take place during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter; protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger, make sure a child has appropriate supervision, make sure a child has access to appropriate medical care or treatment, or make sure a child’s basic emotional needs are being met.

How do I report abuse?

If you think a child may be suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm, you can use the contact details on the top right hand side of this page.

Useful links for safeguarding children and young people