Norfolk County Council is today (Thursday 8 April) calling on those with concerns about the safety of a child to get in touch as part of a new campaign – See Something, Hear Something, Say Something.
The county-wide campaign encourages neighbours, extended family, those working to provide essential services and volunteers to look out for the county’s children, as the coronavirus lockdown continues.
Schools, nurseries and colleges are currently closed to the vast majority of children. In addition, children cannot currently visit relatives and friends, or go to their usual clubs and activities. They are spending more time behind closed doors and isolated from those who might normally support them. Pressure at home will be greater than usual and the council is concerned that children who might be at risk will not be able to get the help they need.
The campaign, backed by the Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership, is calling on communities to help keep Norfolk’s children safe. It is asking for everyone that might still be seeing or hearing children to look out for them. The message is See Something, Hear Something, Say Something. If something doesn’t seem right and if you feel a child or young person may need help you can contact the council on 0344 800 80 20.
Signs to look out for may include:
- aggressive or repeated shouting
- hearing hitting or things being broken
- children crying for long periods of time
- very young children left alone or outdoors by themselves
Sara Tough, Executive Director of Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council, said: “These are difficult times for all of us. There are families that were struggling with health problems, financial issues, domestic abuse and other challenges before the COVID-19 outbreak and they will be feeling the pressure even more intensely now.
“We are here to help. If you are concerned about a child, please contact us. Our social workers and partners are still carrying out visits and working incredibly hard to support children and families.
“Schools have been doing fantastic work to stay in touch with and support their more vulnerable children whilst they are at home, but we need Norfolk to pull together at the moment to make sure our children are safe and free from the fear of violence and abuse.”
Referrals and contacts into Children’s Services have dropped over the last two weeks since schools, colleges and early years’ providers closed to the majority of children.
The Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership is ensuring that all agencies are pulling together to respond.
Chris Robson, Chairman of the Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership, said:
“At this incredibly difficult time it’s important that we make every effort we can to keep our children safe. The situation we find ourselves in as families and communities brings unprecedented challenges and safeguarding professionals need us all to play our part to ensure that help is still able to reach those who need it. To make sure this happens we want to know if you see or hear anything that causes you concern about a child or young person’s safety. If you ‘hear something or see something, then say something’ by calling 0344 800 8020. Thank you in advance for helping to safeguard Norfolk’s children.”
Norfolk County Council is currently recruiting social workers returning to the profession, to support children, young people and families in the coming months.
The council wants to increase frontline support, so that it is well prepared for the weeks ahead and is searching for social workers who are qualified with at least one year’s experience.
Cllr John Fisher, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council, said: “We know that school is a safety net for very many children and with schools closed we want to make sure that those children and their families are getting any help they need.
“These are challenging times and the public sector is busy responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, but I don’t want people to think we are too busy to help those that need us. If you are worried about a child, please do call us. If you see something or hear something, say something.”
Anyone with concerns about a child or family, should contact the County Council on 0344 800 8020. In an emergency contact the police on 999. In a non-emergency the police can be contacted on 101.
Any children that need help can also call Childline on 0800 1111.