Concerned about a child?

If a child or young person is in immediate danger, you should call the Police on 999.

If you believe the situation is urgent but does not require the police, please contact York Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

Anyone can make a referral to the York (MASH) if they are worried about any child or young person and think they may be a victim of neglect or abuse, whether as a member of the public or a parent.

You can also contact York MASH or the Family Information Service if you would like information and advice on accessing help for your own family.

Contacting York MASH

Phone: 01904 551900

Email: MASH@york.gov.uk

Post: MASH, West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

Outside office hours, at weekends and on public holidays contact the emergency duty team telephone: 01609 780780

When contacting by telephone, you will be presented with 3 options:

Option 1 – If you have an allocated social worker, or know the name of the social worker you want to speak to, please press 1.

Option 2 – If you would like to find out ways that you can access help for your own family, or if you would like advice about how to support a family you are working with, please press 2 to speak to Early Help.

Option 3 - If you have a safeguarding concern about a child and would like to speak to a social worker, please press 3.

Family Information Service

The York Family Information Service is a free and impartial information service for mums, dads and carers of children and young people aged 0-19 (or up to 25 for disabled children) and are part of the Local Area Teams Information Service and Information Service for Young People.

The service can help with anything and everything around family life, including:

  • Childcare and help with childcare costs
  • Childrens Centres
  • Disability and Additional Needs
  • Healthy Child Service and Midwifery
  • Information, support and courses for families
  • Summer holiday activities

What is abuse?

Child abuse is not easy to recognise, prevent or stop and is a very difficult subject to deal with, especially when you know the child, young person or family. Child abuse can take many forms:

  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • online abuse
  • neglect

Not all forms of abuse have visible signs and this can make recognising abuse difficult. Even when a child has been injured it can be difficult for members of the public to know how those injuries have been caused.

Protecting children is everyone's responsibility.

Signs of abuse

  • unexplained changes in behaviour or personality
  • becoming withdrawn
  • seeming anxious
  • becoming uncharacteristically aggressive
  • lacks social skills and has few friends, if any
  • poor bond or relationship with a parent
  • knowledge of adult issues inappropriate for their age
  • running away or going missing
  • always choosing to wear clothes which cover their body.

These signs don’t necessarily mean that a child is being abused, there could be other things happening in their life which are affecting their behaviour.

You may also notice some concerning behaviour from adults who you know have children in their care, which makes you concerned for the child/children’s safety and wellbeing.

What will happen if I report child abuse?

All childcare agencies believe that children and young people are best cared for by their parents. They are rarely removed from their parents and most families are given the help and support they need. A Child Protection Conference may be held, the members of which will:

  • share information between all the professionals who are working with the child and their family
  • decide what future action should be taken to keep the child safe
  • decide whether or not a child protection plan should be drawn up

A child protection plan sets out how the child can be kept safe, how things can be made better for the family and what support they will need. The childs parent will be told:

  •  the reason for the plan
  • what they should do to make sure the child is protected
  • what services are being offered
  • who they should contact for more information

Effects of abuse and neglect

Child abuse, especially when it continues over a long period, can have major effects on a child's health, development and well-being. Sustained abuse has a deep impact on a child's self image and self esteem lasting into their adult lives. This is known as Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Evidence and the accounts of adults who have been abused as children show that it can have damaging effects on an adult's ability to make and sustain close relationships and their ability to develop the necessary skills and attitudes to be a good parent.

In extreme circumstances child abuse can result in death or serious or permanent injury.