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What is abuse?

Child Abuse

Children have a right to be safe. But some children are hurt, neglected and used by adults or other children.

The NSPCC defines child abuse as "when a child is intentionally harmed by an adult or another child. It can be over a period of time, but can also be a one-off action. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, and can happen in person or online. It can also be a lack of love, care and attention - this is neglect". 

The NSPCC summarises the main types:


Physical abuse is deliberately hurting a child causing injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts.

It isn’t accidental - children who are physically abused suffer violence such as being hit, kicked, poisoned, burned, slapped or having objects thrown at them. Shaking or hitting babies can cause non-accidental head injuries (NAHI). Sometimes parents or carers will make up or cause the symptoms of illness in their child, perhaps giving them medicine they don’t need and making the child unwell – this is known as fabricated or induced illness (FII).

There’s no excuse for physically abusing a child. It causes serious, and often long-lasting, harm – and in severe cases, death.

Watch the NSPCC's Alfie story for more information:


Emotional abuse is the ongoing emotional maltreatment or emotional neglect of a child. It’s sometimes called psychological abuse and can seriously damage a child’s emotional health and development.

Emotional abuse can involve deliberately trying to scare or humiliate a child or isolating or ignoring them.

Children who are emotionally abused are usually suffering another type of abuse or neglect at the same time – but this isn’t always the case.

Watch the NSPCC's Words can hurt video for more information.


A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities.  This doesn't have to be physical contact and it can happen online.

Sometimes the child won't understand that what's happening to them is abuse.  They may not even understand that it's wrong.

Watch the NSPCC's Sarah's story for more information.

The PANTs campaign teaches children important messages, like their body belongs to them and they should tell an adult if they're upset or worried.


Neglect is the on-going failure to meet a child's basic needs and is the most common form of child abuse.

  • A child may be left hungry or dirty, without adequate clothing, shelter, supervision, medical or health care.
  • A child may be put in danger or not protected from physical or emotional harm.
  • They may not get the love, care and attention they need from their parents.

A child who's neglected will often suffer from other abuse as well. Neglect is dangerous and can cause serious, long-term damage - even death.

The NSPCC Della's Story describes a situation of neglect and what to do.

Further information on types of abuse, spotting the signs, effects of abuse and additional resources can be found on the NSPCC website.


This video sets out the key role that healthcare professionals play in the delivery of Prevent, stopping people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. It covers the Prevent duty guidance, Prevent referrals and the objectives of the Prevent programme.



If you need help for yourself or for a friend because of abuse or neglect, you should speak to an adult you trust. Teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers and other adults who work with children are responsible for helping to stop abuse. They will listen to what you have to say. Don't be afraid to talk to these people if you are worried. They are there to help you.

However, if you or anyone you know who is under 18 is being abused or neglected, please pick up the phone and ring the following:

Family Connect team

01952 385385

Monday to Friday
9am - 5pm

Emergency Duty Service

01952 676500

Monday to Friday
After 5pm

Saturday and Sunday
24 hours

West Mercia Police

101 or 999 in an emergency



0800 1111



0808 800 5000 (Telephone)
88858 (Texting) (Email)


Princess Royal Hospital

01952 641222


If you are being bullied, the most important thing you can do is to tell someone you trust.

Bullying can mean different things for different people, it could be:

  • being called names or teased
  • being pinched, punched, pushed, or pulled
  • being threatened or picked on
  • having your bag and other things thrown around
  • having rumours spread about you
  • being ignored and left out
  • being forced to hand over money or things that belong to you
  • getting silent or abusive phone calls or offensive texts
  • insulting messages about you on the internet
  • using weapons against you

What is online/cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is an increasingly common form of bullying behaviour which happens on social networks, games and mobile phones. Cyberbullying can include spreading rumours about someone, or posting nasty or embarrassing messages, images or videos.

Children may know who's bullying them online – it may be an extension of offline peer bullying - or they may be targeted by someone using a fake or anonymous account. It’s easy to be anonymous online and this may increase the likelihood of engaging in bullying behaviour.

Cyberbullying can happen at any time or anywhere - a child can be bullied when they are alone in their bedroom - so it can feel like there’s no escape. (NSPCC, 2016)

Childline is a great website to get more information and explains what to do if you are being bullied.

'For me' is Childline's brand new app where you can access Childline's online services through your tablet or smartphone. You can use this to have a 1-2-1 chat with a counsellor; access the 'Ask Sam' problem pages; and view the 'Private Locker' - a personal area where young people can track their mood and write down their thoughts.

The police have launched information on being cyber smart which can be found here.

Here are some links to help keep you safe online


Have a wide range of resources for parents/carers about online safety.


Reporting abuse and links to Think-U-Know resources.


Provide resources and advice for online safety.

Facebook's Safety Centre

Advice for teachers and parents/carers.


ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of 19. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor about anything -no problem is too big or too small.

Childnet International

Information to keep your child safe online

Internet Watch Foundation

Are the UK Hotline for reporting criminal online content; reports are confidential and can be made anonymously.

NSPCC- net aware

A guide to social networks that kids use.

Keeping Children Safe in Education Documents released by Department for Education to assist practitioners.
Get Safe Online Is a joint initiative between the Government, the National Crime Agency, and public and private sector supporters from the world of technology, communication, retail and finance to raise awareness of internet security.
PREVENT Guidance for specified authorities in England and Wales on the duty in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.
National Bullying Helpline Support for adults.
Department of Education Advice for parents on cyber bullying.
Child Safety Online A practical guide for parents and carers whose children are using social media.
Lucy Faithfull Foundation The Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF) is the only UK-wide child protection charity dedicated solely to reducing the risk of children being sexually abused.
Ask About Games We answer questions parents and players have about video game age ratings and provide advice on how to play games responsibly, by taking regular breaks and so on.
NCA The NCA has identified that there is an increase of young people engaging in cybercrime.

1. Show you care - help them to open up: Give your full attention to the child or young person and keep your body language open and encouraging. Be compassionate, be understanding and reassure them that their feelings are important. Phrases such as 'you have shown such courage today' can really help.

2. Take your time - slow down: Respect pauses and do not interrupt the child - let them go at their own pace. Recognise and respond to their body language. Remember, it may take several conversations for them to share what has happened to them.

3. Show you understand - reflect back: Make it clear that you are interested in what the child is telling you. Reflect back what they have said to check your understanding - and use their language to show it is their experience.

Adult Abuse

it is important to know the 10 categories of abuse which are listed in the 2014 Care Act, and to consider how these might manifest:

  1. Physical;
  2. Sexual;
  3. Psychological or Emotional;
  4. Financial or Material - this might include forms of Scamming, Cuckooing and ‘mate crime’ (please take a look at the Tricky Friends video below for more information);
  5. Discriminatory;
  6. Neglect and acts of omission;
  7. Organisational or institutional;
  8. Domestic Abuse;
  9. Modern slavery; and
  10. Self-neglect (this can include things like hoarding behaviour). Please watch our short animation below which talk about self nelect. This animation is intended to raise the public awareness of self-neglect and what can be done to help those experiencing self-neglect. 

Further information on types of abuse, spotting the signs and key messages can be found on the SCIE website.


Friendships can be tricky, the short 3 minute animation below helps explain what good friendships should look and feel like, and importantly, what they shouldn't! It's important that everyone is protected from the risk of harm and exploitation, especially those less able to identify risks without support. 



It is important to consider who those at risk are, in your community. They may be a person who:

  • is elderly and frail due to ill health, physical disability or cognitive impairment. Visit the Telford and Wrekin's webpage for information on financial assistance for the elderly;
  • has a learning disability;
  • has a physical disability and/or sensory impairment;
  • has mental health needs;
  • has a long term illness/condition;
  • missuses substances or alcohol;
  • is a carer such as family members and friends; and
  • is unable to demonstrate the capacity to make a decision and is in need of care and support.

Adults can be more at risk of abuse when they live:

  • alone;
  • have care and support needs;
  • depend on others for example to manage their money; and
  • find it difficult to communicate.

You can spend some time reading over case studies of adult safeguarding experiences. This can help to inform your understanding of how these abuses can occur in your community, and the impacts they can have on people. If you see the table below, you can find a list of who to contact in what instance, if you think a safeguarding issue is arising.

Information can be found here relating to Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP): along with a chance to view our MSP presentation to professionals

Organisations offering advice and support, if you think someone in your community or workplace may have safeguarding concerns:

This table shows organisations offering advice and support.
AGE UK SHROPSHIRE AND TELFORD & WREKIN Age UK work with and for older people to improve the quality of later life by:
  • Providing older people with information and advice to enable them to make choices;
  • Providing services to help older people remain independent; and
  • Campaigning both with and for older people, both locally and nationally.


POhWER offer the following services in Telford and Wrekin:

  • Independent Mental Capacity Act Advocacy (IMCA), including Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), is a statutory advocacy service to support people who lack capacity and need to make important decisions but have no representatives as defined under the Mental Capacity Act 2005;
  • Direct Payment Support and Advice Service where Direct Payments Advisors support individuals to consider receiving their personal budget as a Direct Payment so that they can fund their own care. Advisors will support will all aspects of setting up a Direct Payment account and employing Personal (care) Assistants (PA) where needed; and
  • POhWER has a website dedicated to supporting employers to find a PA, and PA's to find work. 


The Glade SARC Telford provides an initial response for victims of sexual assault living in West Mercia. Their services are available to men, women and children. 

A SARC is a 'one stop' centre where a victim can feel safe and supported and where their immediate medical needs are met. 


The role of Carers Centre is to support and enable carers to improve their quality of life and to be more confident and able in their caring role. 

Carers Centre has support workers who understand the problems and who are there to listen and offer specialist, individual and group support to carers that care for Adults with Physical Disability or Illness, Older People, Adults with a Learning Disability and Adults with a Mental Health problem.


West Mercia Women's Aid runs a 24-hour helpline, 3 refuges and a well-developed and expanding outreach service which includes the provision of community support to families, group programmes and links to education and employment opportunities, as well as Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) services.


Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering people to take a stand against scams.


The Safe Place Scheme is a nationwide initiative established by Mencap. The scheme is designed to support the needs of Adults with Learning Disabilities, but is appropriate for anyone who feels vulnerable. Locations advertise they are a Safe Place by displaying a sticker. This tells people who may become vulnerable whilst out and about, that they can receive support and assurance at that location. They will be safe. Visit the Shropshire disability website to view list of places involved locally and visit Google Maps to see where they are mapped.


The central community directory for any needs you may have, from COVID-19 support, to family support, to advice on how to find an assistant.


Support for those who live with complex disabilities, and those in their circle. Sense is also looking at the experience of loneliness for people with disabilities, which is expecially important to consider in our socially-distant times.


The ‘Stand By Me’ project looks at ways in which we across the community can stand up against hate, harassment, and discrimination.