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What is abuse?

Child abuse is not easy to recognise, prevent or stop and is a very difficult subject to deal with, especially when you know the child or family.  Child abuse can take many forms:

  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • neglect

Not all forms of abuse have visible signs and this can make recognising abuse difficult.  Even when a child has been injured it can be difficult for members of the public to know how those injuries have been caused.

Protecting children is everyone's responsibility.  If you are concerned that a child is being abused or appears unhappy act now using the contact numbers provided below. 

How to report abuse

Contact the Warwickshire Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 01926 414144.  Lines are open Monday to Thursday 8am - 5.30pm, Friday 8.30am - 5.00pm.

If you need to get in touch out of usual office hours, please contact the Emergency Duty Team immediately on 01926 886922

If you think that a child is at immediate risk, contact the police immediately by dialling 999.

What will happen if I report child abuse?

Childcare agencies believe that children are best cared for by their parents.  Children are rarely removed from their parents and most families are given help and support.  Social Workers can only remove children from home with a court order and only after they have demonstrated that the child is at serious risk.

If a child has been abused and is at risk of further abuse, a Child Protection Conference may be held.  The purpose of a Child Protection Conference is to ensure that all agencies work together with the family to protect the child.

A Child Protection Conference may decide to make the child subject to a child protection plan which is reviewed regularly.

Effects of abuse and neglect

Child abuse, especially when it continues over a long period, can have major effects on a child's health, development and well-being.  Sustained abuse has a deep impact on a child's self image and self esteem lasting into their adult lives.

Evidence and the accounts of adults that have been abused as children show that it can have damaging effects on an adult's ability to make and sustain close relationships and their ability to develop the necessary skills and attitudes to be a good parent.

In extreme circumstances child abuse can result in death or serious or permanent injury.

Talking to someone

If you have a concern, you can talk to someone in confidence by contacting the NSPCC helpline or Childline:

NSPCC Helpline - provides help and support to parents, professionals and families either by phone or online. 

  • Telephone 0808 800 5000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Childline - a free 24-hour helpline for children and young people.

  • Telephone: 0800 1111
  • Textphone service: 0800 400222 (for children who are deaf or find using a regular phone difficult)


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