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Are you worried about child abuse?

Information for children and young people


If you’ve got a problem or are worried about someone, it can be hard to know what to do.  But you don’t have to cope on your own. As a child or young person you have the right to grow up safe from people hurting you.  All adults have a responsibility to protect you.

This web page gives you information about who you can contact if you are worried or concerned about yourself or another child or young person.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse is when a child or young person is being harmed or isn’t being looked after properly by a parent, carer or family member.

Remember, being abused is never your choice and never your fault.  Child abuse is never right.

What should I be worried about?

You or someone you know might be worried, frightened or scared and not know what to do to get help. This could be for a number of reasons, including:

  • Not being properly fed or looked after.
  • Being continuously criticised, ignored or humiliated.
  • Being asked to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Being frightened when left alone without an adult to look after you.
  • Being hit, kicked or punched.
  • Being sexually abused (this can include inappropriate sexual behaviour, language or touching).

What should I do?

You should talk to someone, for example an adult who you trust and you know will try to help you.  Who you talk to will depend on the adult who is causing you concern.  You can talk to:

  • Your parent or carer;
  • A relative;
  • A neighbour or friend;
  • A professional such as a teacher, school nurse,
    youth worker, health visitor, social worker, police officer or children’s counsellor.

Several helpful contacts are listed below.

You may find it difficult to tell someone about how you feel.  Perhaps you will feel embarrassed or worried about what might happen. Although it might be difficult, it is important that you talk to someone.  If the person you speak to does not take you seriously, speak to someone else.

What happens next?

Whoever you speak to should listen and decide the best way to help.  The person you speak to cannot always keep what you say private, as they will probably need to share what you have said with someone else who has more experience of keeping children safe.  It may take time to involve the necessary people and to decide the best action to take. You should be involved in any decisions as much as possible and told what will happen next.  This will be different for different situations, but might include:

  • A family being offered support and advice so that the parents can better care for their child.
  • A social worker taking action under the Children Act 1989 (a law passed by the Government) to ensure a child is protected from harm.

Need to talk to someone?

To speak with a social worker, contact:

MASH Team
12th Floor, Merton Civic Centre
London Road, Morden
SM4 5DX

Telephone: 020 8545 4226 or
020 8545 4227 or
020 8770 5000 (out of hours)
Fax: 020 8545 4204
Email: mash@merton.gov.uk

In an emergency contact the Police on telephone number 999.

ChildLine is the free confidential helpline for children and young people in the UK. You can call 0800 1111 to talk

about any problem. They also have a website with lots of useful advice:

www.childline.org.uk/Helpandadvice.asp

The NSPCC has a helpline 0808 800 5000 for children and young people, and two websites with helpful advice about what

to do if you are worried or scared:

www.nspcc.org.uk/kidszone

This page was last updated on Tuesday 8 April 2014

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