All the professionals involved in the care of your family, including midwives and public health nurses (health visitors), have a responsibility to protect children and keep them safe from harm. This is known as safeguarding.
Health professionals are trained to recognise when a child is at risk, and have a responsibility to work with other agencies, including social care, to respond to identified concerns. If they do have concerns, a referral to social care or early help services will ensure that you and your family get access to the right support at the right time, preventing the concerns from getting worse.
Wherever possible, health professionals seek your consent before a referral is made and will be open and honest with your family. However in certain circumstances this may not be possible.
- protecting children from abuse and maltreatment
- preventing harm to children’s health or development
- ensuring children grow up with safe and effective care
- taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes
Safeguarding children and child protection guidance and legislation applies to all children up to the age of 18.
What is child abuse?
Child abuse is any action by another person that causes significant harm to a child. Abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can be about a lack of love, care and attention which indicates neglect. Neglect also includes not attending medical appointments. Physical abuse has been linked to aggressive behaviour in children, emotional and behavioural problems and educational difficulties. It is important to note that differing cultural practices are not a defence for physical abuse.
- More information from the NSPCC about how organisations work together to keep children safe from harm
- Parent leaflet explaining what happens next if a baby has a bruise, skin discolouration or mark
- Women’s Aid Leicestershire
Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called Chat Health. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health nurse (health visitor/school nurse) within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.
Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.
Leicester City: text 07520 615381
Leicestershire & Rutland: text 07520 615382