National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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NICE guidelines aim to improve how children at risk of abuse or neglect are helped and supported

NICE is producing new guidelines to help people who work with children spot and stop abuse or neglect.

It outlines how social workers, teachers and police officers, along with others working outside healthcare, can spot the signs of abuse or neglect and how they should act faced with a range of differing circumstances.

The guidelines includes physical, mental and sexual abuse as well as newly recognised forms of abuse such as female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual exploitation, child trafficking and forced marriage.

It outlines soft signs that in themselves do not indicate abuse but warrant further consideration and harder warning signs that professionals should investigate.

The draft is available for public comment in a consultation.

Often cases of child abuse or neglect will go unreported because children feel ashamed or do not fully understand the wrongdoing. Therefore it is difficult to know exactly how many children are suffering.

Professor Corinne May-Chahal, a leading researcher in child protection at Lancaster University and chair of the guideline committee said:

“Our awareness of the different forms of child abuse and neglect is developing all the time but it is difficult for professionals to keep track of the best ways to assess abuse and intervene effectively.

"This guideline is important as it will help professionals spot the warning signs and focus on what early help and interventions can be provided.”


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