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NSPCC urges nurse vigilance over child welfare


The NSPCC is urging nurses to call their free Helpline if they are ever uncertain about a child’s welfare.

The NSPCC has stressed the importance of nurses and any group working regularly with children and young people to have a clear child protection procedure to follow if a child discloses abuse. 

The NSPCC Helpline’s advisors understand that professionals want to be sure they are acting in the best interests of the child and that it is not always easy to assess a child safeguarding issue. The Helpline’s trained child protection advisors can provide advice about the situation and talk you through the steps you need to take to safeguard the child’s welfare.

Over the next three years the charity plans to grow the Helpline and its ChildLine service through the Child’s Voice Appeal, so that it can protect more children. For further information, or to donate to the Child’s Voice Appeal visit

You can call the Helpline on 0808 800 5000, or email:, in confidence any time of day or night.


Readers' comments (2)

  • Wednesday, July 22, 2009
    Grandparents are best for early detection of child abuse.

    Guidance aims to spot child abuse

    A watchdog has issued guidance to help healthcare workers spot early signs of child abuse to avoid another Baby P.

    Experts say the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence advice could mean more referrals of children who may not be at risk.
    But it will ensure more of the right children are referred early for protection from abuse and neglect.

    Last year's 538,000 child referrals to social services is an underestimate of the numbers maltreated, they say.
    Up to one in 10 children will suffer some form of maltreatment during their childhood, which includes neglect and emotional abuse as well as physical and sexual abuse.

    But it can be difficult to spot when a child is at risk and what constitutes abuse.
    The guidelines were in development long before the case of Baby Peter, who died in 2007 aged 17 months after suffering more than 50 separate injuries.

    They give a summary of some of the signs to look for that should alert a healthcare worker that abuse might be occurring.

    Warning signs
    Unusual injuries without a suitable explanation, or a child who is consistently dressed in clothes or shoes that are inappropriate, tells the GP or other health worker to consider maltreatment and to keep a close eye, for example.


    Some signs, such as bruising in the shape of a hand or a child who is persistently smelly and dirty or There are unexplained bruises on non-bony parts of the face or body, including buttocks
    One or more unexplained fractures with no medical cause for fragile bones
    Unusual sexualised behaviors in a child before puberty

    A child is persistently smelly or dirty suffering persistent infestations such as scabies or head lice, are more suspect and should prompt referral to
    A child who repeatedly scavenges, steals, hoards or hides food social care, says the guidance.

    This guidance is also about identifying the parents who need more help to look after their children

    Dr Danya Glaser, chair of the guideline development group

    The authors say the advice is to protect children and not to punish parents.
    Dr Danya Glaser, chair of the guideline development group and a consultant and child and adolescent psychiatrist at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: "Parenting is difficult, parents often do not intend to harm their children and this guidance is also about identifying the parents who need more help to look after their children."

    Dr Sheila Shribman, the national clinical director of children, young people and maternity services, said: "Spotting the signs of child maltreatment and protecting vulnerable children is an important but often difficult challenge for healthcare professionals."

    For example, a GP may be concerned that action may lead to more harm to the child or the relationship with the family.

    Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said GPs played a crucial role, as they were often the first port of call for children and their families.

    Grandparents Apart UK have been saying for years that all the organisation for children only know of the abuse after it has happened “usually too late”

    Who does all these guidlines any way.

    Who saves more children from abuse and neglect than any other organisation yet are regarded as irrelevant persons by law in children’s lives.

    Who does Woman’s Aid say can be well placed for early detection of abuse in the family.

    Who does Children 1st say should have rights to information about children’s welfare for spotting abuse?

    Who knows a family’s faults and weaknesses better than anyone else in the whole wide world?.

    Who picks up the pieces when drugs or alcohol are involved and children are neglected?

    Who can be your most valuable asset in child caring. And are available 24/7 when children are in crisis, abused or homeless?

    Who are the most carers of children usually free or grossly underpaid?

    !!!! Grandparents !!!!

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  • Yes Jamie, the role of grandparents is grossly ignored when it comes to PROTECTING children. The child protection guidelines & helplines react to abuse that has taken place.
    Many nurses are prepared to turn a blind eye to clear signs of neglect. The real reason being,that the intensive time involved in following the guidelines, can interfere with the targets they have been given for other things.
    How do I know this? I lost my job as a school nurse in 2003 because I followed the guidelines. Most of my colleagues were unfamiliar with the guidelines eventhough child protection was the key part of our role. My clinical nurse manager subjected me to extreme intimidation, with the support of the Medical Director, Principal Nurse of a childcare NHS Trust, Human Resource Department & Union. I know that the principle nurse,HR & union would not have colluded if they knew the facts. But they were prepared to listen to a corrupt clinical manager & a Medical Director who wanted targets met.
    On one occasion, I reported evidence of abuse to a consultant paediatrician and received a hostile response. This was the same consultant, who was instrumental in creating the guideline that I was following. But then it was a Friday evening!! & I should have known better than to disturb her, eventhough she was on call.
    Guidelines are theoretically great, but the reality of the situation is why shocking reports reach the headlines regularly.
    Sadly this will continue as long as the NHS & other statutory services maintain a culture of bullying.
    Involving & supporting grandparents would be a first step in prevention. But that might interfere with the attention craved by those specialising in management of child abuse.

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