The campaign urges key workers visiting homes, including those involved in restaurant food delivery, to look out for signs a child could be at risk amid fears that abuse is going undetected due to lockdown and with schools still closed to most pupils.
The campaign, which encourages people to ‘Know, Look, Act’, identifies a number of signs that a child could be at risk, including:
- Guarded behaviour around particular individuals
- Sudden changes in behaviour
- Bruises, burns, bite marks or fractures
- Children appearing withdrawn, anxious or frightened
- Hearing or seeing shouting and violence towards a child
- Children seen carrying or using drugs
- Children being late or arriving home late in different cars
- Unaccompanied children visiting a house where only adults live
It comes as most pupils face an extended summer break, with schools now not set to fully reopen until September.
“It’s a real worry that horrific child abuse and exploitation, which might be picked up on quickly in ordinary times could be going under the radar right now,” says James Simmonds-Read, national prevention programme manager at The Children’s Society.
“We can all play a vital role in protecting vulnerable children, which is why we are urging anyone with concerns - be it a pizza delivery driver, gas engineer or a worried neighbour - to take responsibility and report them.
“If something doesn’t feel right, it might not be and by speaking out you could help a child escape a really dangerous, traumatic situation.”