Covid-19: Safeguarding Children

Whilst the pandemic has presented many challenges to how we work, most services that work to safeguard children have continued to operate. You should contact the allocated social worker or use one of the numbers given below to discuss any worries or issues.

If, during the pandemic, you have taken part in a meeting regarding the safety or wellbeing of a child please take part in our meeting survey. We are keen to know what you think and how we can improve. This survey is for everyone, whether you are a child, a parent or a professional.

Information for practitioners

The Newcastle Safeguarding Children Partnership recognises that the COVID-19 virus is putting increasing pressure on all services providing support to children, young people and families. In this changing landscape safeguarding continues to be a priority, however we recognise that we will all have to consider ways of doing things differently.

Government guidance may change over the coming days and weeks so please make sure you are kept informed and up to date with any new advice or guidance being produced and adjust your ways of working as appropriate. We will update this page as more information is made available.

As practitioners we need to consider how we can maintain appropriate contact with the children, young people, and families we work with, provide support at this difficult time as well as maintain business as usual as much as possible.

Please follow your own agency’s contingency plans for providing services to children, young people and families, however in what may be challenging circumstances we would remind practitioners to:

  • Speak to families regarding any difficulties they may be experiencing due to spending more time together than usual, and signpost to where they can receive additional support.
  • Remain vigilant for the signs and indicators of abuse, including neglect and domestic violence, and raise any safeguarding concerns in line with your agency’s procedures. Emeritus Professor Jan Horwath has put together advice for practitioners around the current situation and working with child neglect during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • If you suspect that a child or young person is being or is at risk of being significantly harmed because of abuse or neglect, you must report this immediately in line with your agency’s procedures. See the latest information on what to do if you’re Concerned About a Child.
  • Remember to Think Family –  we need to understand the needs of the wider family when we are working with a child, parent or adult, talking more, continuing to effectively work together and making sure that all the people working with children, young people and adults in a family, plan and coordinate their work.
  • If you are using alternative methods such as social media and technology to keep in contact with children, young people and families, remember to do this in line with your agency’s policies and in a safe and appropriate manner.
  • Review your safeguarding policies and ensure that they reflect the current situation in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. This could include adding a coronavirus addendum or annexe to existing policies and procedures. Information regarding what to consider is available from the NSPCC.

During this current time, to adhere to Government guidance, the NSCP is not in a position to provide face to face learning and development sessions. Therefore to support practitioners with their learning a Virtual Learning and Development offer has been developed including online training and links to other learning resources. 

For local information about Covid-19, please visit Newcastle City Council’s webpages

Information for children and young people

COVID19 has not changed how we respond to children who need help, support or protection.

If you have been hurt by anybody, or an adult or another young person has done something that makes you feel upset or scared, it is important that you tell somebody so that you can get the support and protection you need.

Everybody who works or volunteers with children and young people has a responsibility to protect them from harm. Tell an adult you trust (for example someone at your school, youth club, doctor’s surgery or any other place you attend). Tell them about what is happening and what you are worried about, and they should know how to get you the support and protection you need.

You can contact Children’s Social Care on telephone 0191 277 2500 (Weekdays, 8:45am to 5pm), you don’t need to give your name if you don’t want to.

Out of office hours – if the issue cannot wait until the next working day, call our Emergency Duty Team on 0191 278 7878

Or you can speak to someone at Childline on telephone 0800 1111 (calls are free and confidential), or through the Childline website.

Information for parents and members of the community

If you are worried about a child or young person living in Newcastle call Children’s Social Care on 0191 277 2500. Out of office hours – if the issue cannot wait until the next working day, call our Emergency Duty Team on 0191 278 7878

We get calls from parents, relatives, friends and neighbours, and people like teachers, health visitors and doctors. The law says we must find out if children need our help to keep them safe.

We work with families to understand what support a child or young person may need from us or other organisations to be healthy and safe.