Public urged to report child abuse and neglectPublished Monday, 18th April 2016
Residents are being urged to have the confidence to report child abuse to help protect children in the borough.
The call comes after new evidence shows a third of people in England fail to report child abuse when they see it because they are worried about being wrong.
To combat this the Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board (RLSCB), which includes Rotherham Council, South Yorkshire Police and local NHS organisations, wants to get the message out that people need to report abuse and neglect.
The board is backing the Department for Education (DfE)-led initiative, by calling on the public to notify the authorities and support teams of offences and neglect when they see them.
Christine Cassell, Independent Chair of the RLSCB said: "Everyone has a part to play in protecting children and young people. Even if you are not absolutely certain about your suspicions; if you have a feeling that something’s not right, talk to our children’s safeguarding team who can look into it.
"It is imperative people put concerns about the possible risk to a child ahead of concerns about being wrong. We would much rather know and investigate cases, even if they are not necessarily accurate. Members of the public are the eyes and ears of society and they are in the best possible position to help us stop abuse and neglect."
In 2014-15, more than 400,000 children in England were supported after someone noticed they needed help.
However, research by the DfE shows a third of people who suspect child abuse do nothing. A number of people do not act on their suspicions because they are worried about being wrong, it has emerged.
Ian Thomas, Strategic Director of Children’s Services at Rotherham Council added: "In Yorkshire and the Humber, which includes Rotherham, 28 per cent of people would wait until they were absolutely certain abuse or neglect was taking place before making a report – this can be too late.
"Everyone in the community has a part to play to protect children and young people.
"By raising any issues you have seen, heard or been made aware of to our dedicated social care and safeguarding team you could be the missing piece needed to form a bigger picture for a child’s welfare.
"The reality is that information is usually gathered from many sources and members of the public can help spot the signs of abuse and neglect among children they have contact with in their daily lives. Any report made by a member of the public will add into the wider case, even a small piece of information could just be as important.
"Families, children and young people can be helped earlier with preventative support if an issue is flagged, so if you are worried about a child I urge you to contact us."
Anyone with concerns can contact the Rotherham social care contact line on 01709 336080 or on the website.