Safeguarding children

Concerned about a child?

Most children enjoy a safe and happy childhood but for some this is not the case. Everyone has a responsibility to protect children from future harm; good child care begins even before a child is born. Find out more about reporting it if you think a child is at risk.

You can read more about what happens when you report an issue on the Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board page.

What is abuse and neglect?

Abuse, including neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an organisational or community setting; by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger for example via the internet. They may also be abused by an adult or by another child or children

Physical abuse

  • Cuts, bruises, burns, scalds or broken bones, which have not happened by accident.
  • Injuries as a result of shaking or throwing in the case of babies.
  • Deliberately inducing illness in a child.

Emotional abuse

  • Making a child feel constantly worthless or unloved, frightened or in danger. Not giving a child opportunities to express their views
  • Deliberately silencing them or making ‘fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. Seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another.
  • Bullying (including cyber bullying)
  • Causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger.
  • Exploitation or corruption of children.

Sexual abuse

This is when a child is made or enticed to take part in or watch sexual activities including:

  • Being around when someone is watching pornographic material.
  • Assault such as rape or non-penetrative acts such as kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing.
  • Looking at or the production of, sexual images
  • Encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, grooming a child
  • In most cases sexual abuse is carried out by a person who is known to the child - even a member of their own family.


A child may be left alone or left with unsuitable caregivers. They may not be fed or clothed properly or not be taken to the doctors when they are unwell. Neglect also involves not protecting a child from danger.