Safeguarding is Everyone’s Business. If you have a concern about a child, don’t ignore it, report it.

This page is to help you if you have any concerns about a child as a parent or carer and to point you in the right direction if you need any help or advice.

The safety and welfare of children – or safeguarding – is everybody’s responsibility. Safeguarding means protecting children from physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect in all environments including at home, in school, on the street and in the digital world. It also means helping children to grow up into confident, healthy and happy adults.

Most children generally enjoy happy childhood experiences within their own family. Unfortunately for some, this is not the case. As a parent, carer, neighbour or anyone in contact with children and families you may at times have concerns about the welfare of a child. These could be concerns about their development, appearance or behaviour which may indicate signs of abuse.


If you are suspicious or have any concerns that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, including any form of mistreatment or abuse, see our reporting concerns page.

What is Abuse?

‘Child abuse is any action by another person – adult or child – that causes significant harm to a child. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can just as often be about a lack of love, care and attention. We know that neglect, whatever form it takes, can be just as damaging to a child as physical abuse. An abused child will often experience more than one type of abuse, as well as other difficulties in their lives. It often happens over a period of time, rather than being a one-off event. And it can increasingly happen online. We estimate that over half a million children are abused in the UK each year.’

Abuse can happen to a child or young person at any age. It can happen in any family, from any ethnic background. It can happen to children and young people whether they have a disability or not.

Abusers can be adults but not just parents, grandparents or carers, abuse often occurs within a relationship of trust e.g. a teacher, carer, family friend or youth leader. Other children and young people can also be abusers

Abuse can happen because of the way adults or other children and young people behave towards a child or young person. It can also result from adults failing to provide proper care for the children they look after. A child or young person can suffer different kinds of abuse at the same time.

According to the law, there are 4 main types of abuse that could cause harm or neglect. These are:

  • Physical Abuse – When an adult deliberately hurts a child, such as hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning or suffocating.
  • Emotional Abuse – When a child is being unfairly blamed for everything all the time; or told they are stupid and made to feel unhappy.
  • Sexual Abuse – Where a child is forced to take part in sexual activities; or in taking rude photos.
  • Neglect – When a child is not being looked after properly; for example, not getting enough to eat, or being left alone in dangerous situations.

Child Exploitation

Child Exploitation, or CE is a term which encompasses all the ways by which children and young people can be exploited. It includes Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and County Lines.


Domestic Violence

Domestic abuse is more than just violence and is defined by the Government as ‘…any violence between current or former partners in an intimate relationship, wherever and whenever the violence occurs. The violence may include physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse’

Private Fostering

A ‘Privately Fostered’ child is a child under the age of 16 (18 if disabled) who is cared for and accommodated by someone other than a parent or for more than 28 days. It does not include children and young people who are Looked After by the local authority and cared for by approved foster carers.

Safer Sleeping

Sadly, across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, there continues to be infant deaths attributed to parents co-sleeping with their babies and other causal factors (i.e. babies sleeping on the sofa, parental alcohol behaviours). All of these infant deaths could probably have been prevented through ‘Safer Sleeping’.