Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults

What to do if you are being abused or suspect abuse is happening to a child or an adult

Child abuse

What to do if you are being abused or suspect abuse is happening to a child

There are different types of child abuse such as:

Abuse and Neglect: Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment 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, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.

Physical abuse: May involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, 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 such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.

Sexual abuse: Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may include noncontact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

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

Signs of child abuse to watch out for

· Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects

· Nightmares, sleeping problems

  • Becoming withdrawn or very clingy
  • Becoming unusually secretive
  • Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure
  • Regressing to younger behaviours, e.g. bedwetting
  • Unaccountable fear of particular places or people
  • Outburst of anger
  • Changes in eating habits
  • New adult words for body parts and no obvious source
  • Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts
  • Self-mutilation (cutting or burning) in adolescents
  • Physical signs, such as, unexplained soreness or bruises around genitals or mouth, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy
  • Running away
  • Not wanting to be alone with a particular child or young person


Adult abuse

What to do if you are being abused or suspect abuse is happening to another adult

There are different types of adult abuse such as:

  • Physical – hitting, slapping, pushing, being restrained, misuse of medication
  • Emotional – threats, intimidation, controlling, taking away privacy and /or threatening to abandon
  • Sexual – includes rape and other acts to which you have not given consent
  • Financial – theft, fraud, misuse of property, possessions or benefits
  • Neglect – withholding food, drink, adequate heating and/or clothing; failing to provide access to health or social care services, education or social activities
  • Discriminatory – being treated unfairly because of your gender, race, culture, background, age, disability, sexuality or illness
  • Institutional – repeated incidents of poor care or practice that are continually not dealt with

Signs of adult abuse to watch out for:

  • multiple bruising or finger marks
  • injuries that cannot be easily explained
  • deterioration of health for no apparent reason
  • sudden and unusual loss of weight
  • inappropriate or inadequate clothing
  • withdrawal or mood changes
  • a carer who is unwilling to allow access to the person
  • a person who is unwilling or unhappy about being left alone with a particular carer
  • unexplained shortage or disappearance of money

Who might be an abuser?

  • a member of the family, a friend or neighbour
  • a paid or volunteer care worker
  • a professional worker
  • someone else who is receiving care
  • someone you don’t know.

What to do if you suspect abuse?

If you or the person you are concerned about is in immediate danger, you should ring the Police on 999.

If you or the person you are concerned about are NOT in immediate danger, you can contact:

Report possible abuse or neglect of an adult with care and support needs

Click Link: Report possible abuse or neglect of an adult with care and support needs | Report possible abuse or neglect of an adult with care and support needs | Birmingham City Council

Tel: 0121 303 1234

If You Have Concerns About a Child

If you have any concerns about the safety or welfare of a child please contact one of the below.

For children resident in Birmingham:

Children and Young People’s Information Advice Support Service - 0121-303 1888 Out of Hours call 0121 675 4806 for the Emergency Duty Team.

For children resident in Sandwell:                                             

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (Children's Social Care) - 0121 569 3100 (the number is the same Out of Hours).

What happens when you report abuse or suspected abuse

Procedures vary depending on what organisation you contact, but below is a guide to what is likely to happen:

  • If you do not want to give your name, you are able to remain anonymous.
  • If you are calling about abuse that is happening to you, you are usually put through to a counsellor or someone who can help you talk through the
  • You will be asked about the concerns you have – for yourself or for the adult or child you are worried about.
  • Your concerns will be assessed, advice may be offered or a course of action agreed with you.
  • If they need to refer the case to the police or children’s services, they will ask you for some identifying details .

If you have any questions or concerns about abuse, please do not hesitate to speak to the Safeguarding

Lead(s) at the Practice, Dr Bashir Ahmed

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