Wiltshire residents are being encouraged to help report child abuse as latest national figures show almost a third who suspect something is wrong don’t follow up on their concerns.
Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Safeguarding Children Board are joining a national campaign launched today (3 March) asking people to act on their suspicions, even if they aren’t completely certain, as this can help build up a wider picture to help protect a child.
Wiltshire Council set up a new team with the police in October 2015 to focus on missing children and those affected by child sexual exploitation. The team, known as Emerald Team has seen a steady increase in the number of referrals.
However Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children’s services, said there is always more that can be done.
She said: “All children have a right to be safe and to be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect. Protecting our young people is one of our driving concerns in Wiltshire and although we have teams in place doing an excellent job on the ground we also need the public to be our eyes and ears.
“I can understand people may be reticent to contact us, however taking that important step to pass on that information could well be the crucial missing piece in the jigsaw.”
Mark Gurrey, Independent Chair of Wiltshire Safeguarding Children Board said: “We are supporting this national campaign which highlights that we all have responsibility to report concerns if we suspect child abuse or neglect.”
If a person suspects child abuse they should call the Wiltshire Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0300 456 0108. If anyone is worried about a child’s immediate safety, they should contact the police by dialling 999.