Family Members & Carers

We all have a role to play in protecting children and young people from child abuse and neglect.

The warning signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect can vary from child to child. Disabled children may be especially vulnerable to abuse, because they may have an impaired capacity to resist or avoid abuse. They may have speech, language and communication needs which may make it difficult to tell others what is happening.

By understanding the warning signs, you can respond to problems as early as possible. It is important to recognise that a warning sign does not automatically mean a child is being abused. There are several signs of child abuse or neglect which people can look out for:

  • Appearancesuch as frequent unexplained injuries, constant poor hygiene, matted hair, unexplained gifts, or a parent regularly collecting children from school when drunk.
  • Behaviour – such as demanding or aggressive behaviour, frequent lateness or absence from school, avoiding their own family, misusing drugs or alcohol, or being constantly tired.
  • Communication – such as sexual or aggressive language, self-harming, becoming secretive and reluctant to share information or being overly obedient.

If you are worried or have a concern about a child or young person contact:

Northumbria Police on 101. If there is immediate danger contact 999.

For advice or to make a referral about a concern for a child or young person contact: 

The Children’s Social Care Initial Response Service on 0191 277 2500 or the Emergency Duty Team on 0191 278 7878.

Anonymous referrals can be made by members of the public.

Get advice

To find out more about government advice visit their website

Contact the NSPCC if you want to discuss your concerns and get further advice: