what is the role of social services when a child has been abused or harmed
It can be hard to detect long-standing abuse by an adult the child is close to. It is often very difficult for the child to tell anyone about it, as the abuser may have threatened to hurt them if they tell anybody. [ A child may not say anything because they think it is their fault, that no one will believe them or that they will be teased or punished. The child may even love the abusing adult,
they want the abuse to stop, but they don't want the adult to go to prison or for the family to break up.
If you suspect that a child is being abused, you may be able to help them to talk about it. Your local Social Services Child Protection Adviser will be able to offer more detailed advice.
Where can I get help?
First and foremost, the child must be protected from further abuse. Social Services will need to be involved to find out:
what has happened
if it is likely to happen again
what steps are needed to protect the child.
After investigation, Social Services may be satisfied that the problems have been sorted out, and that the parents can now care for and protect the child properly. If so, they will remain involved only if the family wants their help. If Social Services are concerned that a child is being harmed, they will arrange a child protection case conference. The parents and professionals who know the child will be invited. A plan will be made to help the child and family and ensure that there is no further harm.
Help to look after the child
When a child has been abused within the family, the person involved is sometimes able to own up to what they have done and wants help. They can then be helped to look after their child better. Occasionally, the child may have to be taken away from the abusing adult because the risks of physical and emotional harm are too great. This can be for a short time, until things become safer, or may be permanent.
Many children need specialist treatment because of the abuse they have endured. Some receive help from family centres run by social services. ]
There are no new answers.