A local campaign to raise awareness of child abuse has had a huge impact – raising the number of calls to a national helpline by 36%. Earlier this year, Richmond Council announced a campaign that aimed to raise awareness of child abuse – encouraging members of the public to report instances of abuse and neglect and overcome the barriers that stop people reporting.

In a report released today by the NSPCC, over the past 12 months there has been 36% increase in Richmond upon Thames in the number of contacts it refers to external agencies e.g. the Council (via Achieving for Children – its council-owned company) and police. That is a rise from 33 contacts in 2012/13 to 45 in 2015/16.

The NSPCC have attributed the rise to an increase in calls from members of the public worried about the safety of young people.

In March this year, the Council and Achieving for Children joined the national ‘Together, we can tackle child abuse’ campaign and together with key partners the local CCG and Police, targeted children’s centres and local schools – especially in more deprived areas of the borough.

Cllr Stephen Speak, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said:

“We have worked hard over the past six months to raise awareness of the signs of child abuse, starting with this campaign. Urging members of the public to come forward if they have concerns.

“It is not just up to social services, doctors and the police to identify the signs of abuse and neglect. Members of the public are in a unique position to spot concerns. We will keep raising awareness of this issue and hope that the public also keep coming forward – no matter how small their concerns.”

Deborah Lightfoot, Independent Chair of the Richmond and Kingston LSCBs, added:

“No child should ever be abused. However, we know that behind closed doors it does happen. We can only help if we know. By spreading the message across the airwaves we hope it will make more people aware of how to identify child abuse and what to do if they are concerned about a child or young person.”

If you’re worried about a child, visit Gov report child abuse to get the number for your local authority. Or if you’re worried about a child’s immediate safety, contact the police by dialling 999.

— from a Richmond Council press release – 12 October 2016