Safeguarding Children

Child protection and safeguarding children

If you have concerns that a child is at risk of harm you must act.

Concerned about a child in Warwickshire?

Warwickshire MASH 01926 414144

Concerned about a child in Coventry?

Coventry MASH: 024 7678 8555, or 024 7683 2222 in an emergency outside of office hours

You may not have enough information to determine this and may need to speak to other agencies or professionals involved with the child and family, these may include teachers, health visitor, GP, other carers, children’s Centre’s. You should still share your concerns

Do not assume someone else will act, safeguarding is your business.

What are the roles of the named and designated doctors for safeguarding?

Designated and named professionals have specific roles and responsibilities for safeguarding children. All CCGs have a designated doctor, and nurse, to take a professional and strategic lead on all aspects of the health service contribution to safeguarding children.  

For support in decision making around child protection cases contact the designated/named nurses for child protection on 01926 353700. If you have a concern about a child you should follow guidance above on

Who do I discuss my concerns with?

All NHS Trusts have a named doctor, and nurse, for child protection / safeguarding, who will provide advice and expertise for fellow professionals and promote good practice within their organisation. The CCG will monitor that these roles are in place.

GP practices have a lead GP for Safeguarding and support for the lead GP is available from designated professionals.

Designated/Named nurses for Safeguarding can be contacted via the CCG on 01926 353700 ext 68865/68866




Categories of Abuse


Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.

A child is defined as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday (includes the term young person).

Physical abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.

Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.

Bruising in Pre-Mobile Babies.

Bruising is the commonest presenting feature of physical abuse in children.

  • The younger the child the higher the risk that the bruising is non-accidental, especially where the child is under the age of 6 months.
  • Bruising in any child ‘not independently mobile’ should prompt suspicion of maltreatment.
  • Bruising in any pre-mobile baby, and concerns of physical abuse for any child, should prompt an immediate referral to Children’s Social Care via Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224, who will arrange an urgent medical examination by a senior paediatrician

Emotional Abuse

  • Persistent emotional maltreatment of a child (causing severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development).
  • Conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.
  • Not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate.
  • Age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.
  • Bullying behaviours.

Sexual Abuse

Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.

The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing.

They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).

Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.


Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.

Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.

Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food and clothing; shelter, including exclusion from home or abandonment; failing to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; failure to ensure adequate supervision including the use of inadequate care-takers; or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

For further information see:

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