Spotting that something's not right could save children from abuse

14 December 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council and the Cheshire West and Chester Safeguarding Children Partnership is supporting a national campaign to help young people recognise the signs of abuse and exploitation. 

The campaign, 'Something’s Not Right', encourages young people to recognise different forms of abuse, report it and get help.

Young people might not always recognise that they are being abused. Those that do, often won’t report it because they feel guilty or worried about getting someone into trouble. Some also fear that if they report abuse, they will not be believed.

Abuse can be anything someone else does to hurt a person, or that leaves them feeling scared or upset. It can also be when a parent or carer isn’t looking after a young person properly. 

Abuse can include.
  • Sexual abuse - when someone pressurises, forces or tricks someone else into doing anything sexual. This might be kissing, touching, sex or sending a nude photo. It could happen both in-person and online.
  • Physical abuse – when someone hurts another person on purpose, such as by slapping, kicking or punching them.
  • Emotional abuse – this can include someone putting another person down and making them feel bad about themselves constantly. It could also be someone trying to scare, pressure, humiliate, criticise, isolate or threaten someone else. Or putting them into situations that make them feel scared or upset, such as bullying.
  • Relationship abuse - when someone feels controlled, bullied or scared in their relationship. It is also sometimes called domestic abuse.
  • Neglect – when someone’s basic needs aren’t being met. This could be not having clothes that fit, not getting enough food or not having a place to live. It could also be when a child or young person is not getting the care they need at home, such as being left alone.
  • Exploitation – when someone forces or tricks another person into something like selling drugs or having sex with them or others. Victims can feel threatened if they say no or they may be offered rewards such as money or presents. Exploiters can sometimes make it really difficult to recognise that what they are doing is abusive.  
Anyone who suspects that a child or young person are being abused, exploited or neglected can and should report it. If you have a feeling that something’s not right, talk to the Council’s Children’s Services Team, who can deal with any concerns you may have over a child’s welfare. 

Councillor Bob Cernik, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “Our Children’s Services Team is there to support anyone who feels they are being abused, neglected or exploited. 

"I would also urge anyone who suspects that something's not right with a young person they know to please report it. Your call could make all the difference and will make sure a young person gets the help they need.

“Our service is available throughout the year, including the Christmas holidays.”

Gill Frame, Independent Chair of the Cheshire West and Chester Safeguarding Children Partnership, said: “Abuse and exploitation can take many forms and often children and young people do not feel able to speak out about their experiences or realise they are a victim. Now more than ever, as Covid restrictions are disrupting our normal routines, we are relying on the eyes and ears of our communities who may see things that concern them. It doesn’t matter if you’re not 100 per cent certain, please just share what you see.

“Every report made is treated confidentially and will be investigated by our network of professionals. Please get in contact at any time if you are concerned for yourself or someone else.”

If you are a young person and you think you are being abused, tell someone you trust about it. That could be a trusted adult such as a teacher, nurse or a social worker. You can also report it directly to the Council’s Children’s Services Team by calling: 0300 123 7047 Monday to Thursday, 8.30am - 5pm and Fridays, 8.30am to 4.30pm. 

Out of these hours, the Emergency Duty Team can be reached on 01244 977277.

Alternatively call the police on 0845 458 0000, or 999 in an emergency. All reports, to any of these organisations, will be treated confidentially.

For more information about reporting child abuse in west Cheshire, visit the Cheshire West and Chester Safeguarding Children Partnership website.

To find out more about the signs of abuse and organisations that can support young people visit

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