Safeguarding children

If you have concerns about a child call:

  • West Sussex MASH - 01403 229900
  • Urgent out of hours calls regarding children or young people - 0330 222 6664
  • Contact an approved mental health professional out of hours to consider an urgent Mental Health Act Assessment for all age groups - 01903 843239

Health services have a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people, as set out in the Children Acts of 1989 and 2004. Safeguarding children is defined in national guidance as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment;
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes (Working Together 2013)

A person may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to prevent harm.  Children and young people may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger.

Because of the range and spread of health services, practitioners are in a good position not only to recognise situations that may indicate that a child is ‘at risk’ of maltreatment, but also to offer early help where there are concerns about the welfare of a child.

Protecting children is everybody’s business and adults have a responsibility to report abuse.