The possible signs, symptoms, indicators and behaviours that may cause concern in the context of safeguarding;
There are many of these that could lead to me being concerned about the wellbeing of a child.
Bruising could be visible in places that could not be normally harmed through play e.g. backs of legs abdomen area and groin.
Bruising in or around the mouth should always be reported.
Grasp marks on legs and arms or the chest of a small child.
Finger marks e.g. on one side of face.
Symmetrical bruising i.e same pattern of bruising on both sides of the body.
Outline bruising e.g. belt marks, hand prints.
Fear, watchfulness or an over anxiety to please.
Bites, human bite marks are crescent shaped.
Fractures, suspected if there is pain or swelling and discolouration over a bone or joint the level of pain caused by a fracture it is difficult for a parent or carer to be unaware that a child has been hurt.
Burns/Scalds, it can be difficult to distinguish between accidental and non-accidental but generally burns or scalds with clear outlines i.e. cigarettes are suspicious as are burns with uniform depth over a large area.
It is very rare for a child of under one year old to sustain fractures accidentally and bruising is very rare in babies who are not yet mobile.
Occurs when parents or carers do not consistently meet their needs for food, warmth, protection, stimulation, education and care including health needs.
Warning signs of neglect can include;
Child always appearing to be hungry and asking for food.
Consistently unkempt, dirty appearance, smelly, poor hygiene.
Repeated failure to prevent accidental injury.
Medical needs of child not met.
Behaviours such as head banging or rocking.
The child has lots of accidents and medical help is not sought.
Warning signs could include.
Explicit or frequent sexual preoccupation in talk and play.
Hinting at sexual activity or secrets through words, play or drawing.
Sexualised behaviour e.g. pretend sexual intercourse during play.
Sexually provocative relationships with adults.
Itching, redness, soreness or unexplained bleeding from vagina or nus.
Bruising, cuts or marks in genital area.
Repeated urinary tract or genital infections.
Warning signs may include;
Parent/carer giving repeated message to child that they are worthless, unloved or inadequate.
Having unrealistic expectations of their child’s abilities.
The child showing serious difficulties in their emotional, social or behavioural development.
The child appearing to feel frightened or in danger in the presence of parent/carer.
Some signs may include, low self-esteem, excessive clinging, withdrawn or anxious behaviour, demanding or attention seeking behaviour, over anxious, constantly checking or being overly eager to please, withdrawn and socially isolated, unwillingness to communicate.
Sudden speech disorders, repetitive, nervous behaviour such as rocking or hair twisting.
Describe the actions that I would take if I suspected abuse against a child.
Firstly I would write down everything that was giving me cause for concern and why. Recording dates and times of incidents or observations giving only the facts and not my assumptions. If I was not certain whether or not any abuse had taken place I would seek advice from my manager provided that I did not delay in reporting as necessary. I would make a referral to the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board at Monmouthshire Council. I could contact by telephone the duty social worker of if my concerns were out of office hours I would contact the Emergency Duty team. I would not discuss any concerns that I may have in general conversation.
Rights of children and families where abuse is suspected.
Every child has the right to be protected from any neglect, physical, sexual and emotional harm and it is everyone’s responsibility to share concerns that they may have about a child. The welfare