Child abuse is the term used when an adult harms a child or young person under the age of 18.

Child abuse can take several forms - all of which can cause long-term damage to a child: physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and sexual abuse.

Bullying, racism and domestic abuse are also forms of child abuse and further advice and information can be found in alternative areas of our site.

Working with our partners we have created the Know and see website for young people which gives advice about identifying the signs of abuse.

Signs of abuse

The NSPCC says that a child may be experiencing abuse if he or she is:

  • Crying constantly
  • Frequently dirty, hungry or inadequately dressed
  • Left in unsafe situations or without medical attention
  • Constantly ‘put down’, insulted, sworn at or humiliated
  • Seems afraid of parents or carers
  • Severely bruised or injured
  • Displays sexual behaviour which doesn't seem appropriate for their age
  • Growing up in a home where there is domestic violence
  • Living with parents or carers involved in serious drug or alcohol abuse.

Voice your concerns

Don't be afraid to voice your concerns to the Police, Children's Social Care or the NSPCC - they are there to help you.

The majority of child abuse involves a family member or someone else known to the child.

Research by the NSPCC found that 72% of sexually abused children do not tell anyone about what happened at the time, and that 31% still have not told anyone by early adulthood.

NSPCC Underwear Rule

The NSPCC have campaign called the 'Underwear Rule' which encourages parents and carers to have conversations to help keep children safe from sexual abuse.

The campaign promotes the use of the 'PANTS' rule:

Privates are private
Always remember your body belongs to you
No means no
Talk about secrets that upset you
Speak up, someone can help

The rule is explained in the below video:

If you have concerns about a child's welfare

If you have concerns about a child's welfare, or feel they may be being abused, you have several options:

Call the Police

Call Cheshire Constabulary on the non-emergency number 101

Contact Children's Social Care

Contact Children's Social Care in the following areas:

County

Area

Telephone number

Out of hours
emergency number

Cheshire East

Crewe
Congleton
Knutsford
Macclesfield

0300 123 5010

0300 123 5022

Cheshire West and Chester

Chester
Ellesmere Port
Neston
Northwich
Winsford

0300 123 8123

01244 977 277

Halton Borough Council

Runcorn
Widnes

0151 907 8305
9am - 5pm Monday to Friday

0151 907 8314

Warrington Borough Council

Warrington

01925 444 239
9am - 5pm Monday to Friday

01925 444 000

Other helpful contacts

Childline

Childline is the free and confidential helpline for children and young people. Their number is 0800 1111, you can also visit the Childline website for further information.

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

The NSPCC has a helpline for adults on 0808 800 5000 and the counsellors are all trained child protection officers. You can also visit the NSPCC website for further information.

Other helpful contacts

Childline

Childline is the free and confidential helpline for children and young people. Their number is 0800 1111, you can also visit the Childline website for further information.

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

The NSPCC has a helpline for adults on 0808 800 5000 and the counsellors are all trained child protection officers. You can also visit the NSPCC website for further information.