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Child protection

Child protection involves taking steps to safeguard vulnerable children and young people at risk or suffering from physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Hackney / NSPCC helpline

The Council, City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group and the NSPCC are working together to help residents who are worried that a child or young person is being exploited.

Signs which may suggest physical abuse

  • any bruising to a baby – pre-walking stage
  • multiple bruising to different parts of the body
  • bruising of different colours indicating repeated injuries
  • fingertip bruising to the chest, back, arms or legs
  • burns of any shape or size
  • an injury for which there is no adequate explanation

Signs of possible sexual abuse

  • something a child has told you
  • something a child has told someone else
  • a child who shows worrying sexualised behaviour in their play or with other children
  • a child who seems to have inappropriate sexual knowledge for their age
  • a child who may be visiting or being looked after by a known or suspected sexual offender

Signs which may suggest emotional harm

The following signs may be present in children whose parents are over-critical and emotionally distant, or who are unable to meet their child’s emotional needs:

  • children whose behaviour is excessive. For example, excessive bedwetting, overeating, rocking, head banging
  • children who self harm. For example, they may cut or scratch themselves or overdose
  • children who attempt suicide
  • children who persistently run away from home
  • children who show high levels of anxiety, unhappiness or withdrawal
  • children who usually seek out or avoid affection

Signs which may suggest neglect

  • squalid, unhygienic or dangerous home conditions
  • parents who fail to attend to their children’s health or development needs
  • children who appear persistently undersized or underweight
  • children who continually appear tired or lacking in energy
  • children who suffer frequent injuries due to lack of supervision

What to do if you are worried

If you are unsure that a child may be suffering but are worried, or if you are concerned that a child has suffered harm, neglect or abuse, please contact us. Please also see

If you are in any doubt as to the immediate safety of any child call 999.

The City and Hackney Children’s Safeguarding Board (CHCSB)

The CHSCB is the key statutory body overseeing arrangements for safeguarding children and young people across the City of London and the London Borough of Hackney.

Made up of senior leaders from a range of different organisations, the CHSCB has two basic objectives; to co-ordinate the work of agencies in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people to ensure that this work is effective.

Are you worried about a child or young person?

The Council, City and Hackney Safeguarding Children’s Board and the NSPCC are working together to help residents who are worried that a child or young person is being exploited.

There are lots of reasons why a child or young person might start acting differently. But a change in behaviour could be a sign that they’re at risk. Gangs, sexual exploitation and radicalisation can all be dangers for young people.

Possible signs that a child or young person is affected:

  • “They’ve started hanging around with people I don’t know, and some of them are older.”
  • “I don’t know how they’re affording all these new things.”
  • “I don’t understand why they’ve got a second mobile phone.”
  • “They’ve become so intolerant of people who think different things to them.”
  • “They’ve become really interested in knives and guns.”
  • “They’ve been going missing overnight and skipping school – I don’t know where they go.”
  • “I can’t understand why their groups of friends spend so much time in this one place.”
  • “They’re suddenly so interested in politics and foreign affairs and I don’t know where they get their strong views from.”
  • “They’re always online and have become more secretive about what they’re doing”
  • “I’ve noticed cuts, burns and bruises on them and I’ve no idea how they got them.”

If you’ve noticed any of these signs, it doesn’t mean that a child is definitely at risk. However, please talk to us about anything you’ve noticed that you’re worried or uncertain about. We can give you free advice and support, and help you keep them safe.

Call the NSPCC helpline for free on 0808 800 5000, email or text us on 88858. You can remain anonymous if you wish.

For more information on the NSPCC helpline, see the NSPCC as well as the City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Board.

Service providers and partners

To see a list of other providers and partners who offer this service in Hackney see the Hackney Directory – child protection.

More information

Page updated on: 4 July 2019

Children and Young People’s Access and Assessment Social Work Service


Hackney Service Centre
1 Hillman Street
E8 1DY