With the current government restrictions limiting social contact, there is more chance that signs someone is being abused or neglected will be missed. The Bracknell Forest Safeguarding Board is urging residents to look out for family, friends and neighbours and report any concerns they have.
Abuse can happen to anyone of any age and there are many different types of abuse:
- sexual abuse
- financial abuse
- discriminatory abuse
- emotional abuse
- psychological abuse
- neglect (and acts of omission)
- organisational or institutional abuse
- domestic abuse
- modern slavery
Any form of abuse is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Bracknell Forest.
If you have concerns about the welfare of a child or adult in the borough and suspect they may be being abused, or if you are concerned about yourself, you need to report it. Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility.
If you’re unsure of the signs that a child may be being abused, visit the nspcc website.
For help with signs that an adult may be at risk, visit the social care institute for excellence website.
Bracknell Forest’s safeguarding partnership is jointly led by the council, the NHS and Thames Valley Police.
Brian Boxall, Chair of the Bracknell Forest Safeguarding Board, said:
"During this period of self-isolation, the usual opportunities for professionals to have face-to-face interactions with adults and children are significantly reduced. This means there is an increased risk to adults and children of unreported or hidden harm.
"The Safeguarding Board continues to work with all partners to make sure safeguarding remains at the forefront of services, but now more than ever, we’re also reliant on the public.
"While some restrictions are being lifted, the risks still remain and will do for some time, it is therefore essential that family, friends and neighbours continue to be the eyes and ears of the vulnerable and report any concerns on their behalf.
"Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the potential types and signs of abuse so that you can recognise them and report anything that doesn’t seem right. Please trust your gut instinct and say something if you see something.
"Rest assured, your concern will be handled in confidence and investigated thoroughly so please do not hesitate to report – it might just save a life."
How to report abuse
Report concerns about a child
Email email@example.com or phone 01344 352005 (8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or 01344 786543 (outside office hours).
Report concerns about an adult
Phone 01344 351500 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or 01344 786543 (outside office hours).
Or use our online form report adult abuse.
If you think someone is in immediate danger, please phone emergency services on 999. Do not put yourself or anyone else at risk.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse or are concerned someone you know might be, visit our domestic abuse pages or phone Berkshire Women’s Aid on 0118 950 4003.