Protecting a child

Bullying and harassment

Bullying is behaviour by an individual or group that happens repeatedly over an extended period of time that hurts another person either physically or emotionally.

Bullying is never a normal part of growing up, character building or something that only happens to children. Whatever form it takes, bullying is always wrong but it can happen to anyone, both within school and outside in the wider community at any time.

Get support

For local support contact the family support adviser (FSA) or headteacher in your school. You can also contact Youthline or Kooth for free confidential counselling services for young people.

Effect of bullying on children and young people

The effects of bullying may differ between individuals. However it is clear that bullying can be enormously destructive. Often it has a negative impact on a child or young person’s development.

Bullying can:

  • have a damaging impact on self-esteem and confidence
  • result in powerful and conflicting emotions
  • make children and young people feel overwhelmed by feelings of fear and anger, whilst feeling powerless at the same time

In any situation involving bullying, it is important to listen to children and young people and help them to find the support that they need.

There are resources online that parents and carers may find useful:

Child sexual exploitation

Sexual exploitation affects thousands of children and young people across the UK every year. It is an illegal activity by people who have power over young people and use it to sexually abuse them.

This can involve a broad range of exploitative activity, from seemingly ‘consensual’ relationships and informal exchanges of sex for attention, accommodation, gifts or cigarettes, through to very serious organised crime.

As a parent or carer, you could have an important role to play in protecting children from exploitation, helping to cut them free from this horrific form of child abuse.

Barnardos have produced information for parents and carers and young people to help them spot the signs of sexual exploitation. There is also support and more information for parents at Pace UK.

If you think that a child or young person may be at risk of sexual exploitation, please contact Children’s Social Care or the police straight away. For more information see our report child abuse page.

Domestic abuse in teenage relationships

Abuse in relationships can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race, disability, faith, or family situation.

Visit the NSPCC for more information about domestic abuse.

For more local support and advice see our domestic abuse pages. To speak to someone in confidence, call Berkshire Women’s Aid on 0118 950 4003.

Drug and alcohol misuse

Many parents worry about their child becoming involved with drugs. They feel that they don’t know enough about drugs to help prevent their child from coming to harm.

If you are worried about a child, Talk to FRANK, has more information and help if you are worried that your child may be using drugs or drinking too much alcohol.

Visit Talk to FRANK

For local help and advice visit our drug and alcohol advice section or contact New Hope on 01344 351653.

Safe handling of babies

Rough handling of babies can cause serious injuries.

The NSPCC have supplied advice on safe ways of holding and caring for a baby.

For local help or support contact your health visitor or children’s centre.

Bruising to immobile children

Immobile children are those who cannot move around by themselves.

It is difficult to cause bruising to immobile children with day-to-day activities such as feeding and nappy changing. Even where babies fall or get knocked it is unusual for them to bruise (unlike children who are crawling or walking who often get bruises).

In Bracknell Forest any professional who comes across bruising in an immobile child is required to refer the child to a specialist child doctor (paediatrician) as it can be a sign of a health condition, a blood disease or an infection.

The child will also be referred to Children’s Social Care, who will work with the specialist child doctor to decide what further steps, if any, need to be taken.

If you think that a child or young person may be at risk of harm or neglect, please contact the MASH team on 01344 352005.

Staying safe online

The internet is an exciting and fun place for adults and children to use and explore educationally and socially. The challenge for parents and carers is to make sure children are aware and understand how to be safe when using the internet and related technologies.

The Childnet know it all guide will help you to understand online safety issues and give you practical advice as you talk to your children so they can get the most out of the internet and use it positively and safely.

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