The social worker acts as the principal point of contact for children about whom there are child welfare concerns. Contact can be made directly by parents or family members seeking help, concerned friends and neighbours, or by professionals and other agencies. There are a number of reasons why a family may be facing difficulty and the Social Worker will listen to your concern sympathetically and hopefully be able to support you and your family to overcome the current difficulties. If you have an emergency after office hours and need to contact the social worker urgently please call the police on 999.
Are you a child or young person who is scared or worried about something that is happening to you? If you are a child or young person who is being hurt it is important that you talk to someone you trust and get support and help for what is happening. You may feel frightened, confused or angry and may feel you are to blame in some way for what is happening. You may feel that nobody will believe you but you will find that there are people who are willing to listen, to give you support and help and who will believe you.
- Talk to your parents. If for any reason you feel you cannot do this then think about who you could talk to – perhaps a teacher at school, a youth worker, a family member, a friend, a helpline.
- You can call the Ascension Island Childline number on 66789 which is manned 24 hours a day.
- You can email the Social Worker or call on 64691. Emails are only looked at during office hours so if you need more urgent support you should contact an adult you trust and ask them to help you.
- You could visit the UK Childline website
Are you concerned about a child’s safety or welfare? Children rarely tell if they are being abused. However there may be signs which make you concerned and may be an indication of a child being abused. For example, the child may:
- have unexplained bruising or bruising in an unusual place
- appear afraid, quiet or withdrawn
- appear afraid to go home
- appear hungry, tired or unkempt
- be left unattended or unsupervised
- have too much responsibility for their age
- be acting out in a sexually inappropriate way
- be misusing drugs or alcohol
The adult (parent or carer) may:
- be acting in a violent or sexual manner towards a child
- be misusing drink or drugs while caring for a child
These are some examples of what might make you worried. On their own, they do not necessarily mean a child is being abused. You may know of other concerns. If in doubt, you should check it out to ensure the child is safe. What should I do if I am concerned? If you are concerned about a child speak to someone. This might be the social worker, the police, a teacher at school, a doctor or a leader of a voluntary group. What if the child is in immediate danger? Please call 999 and seek immediate help. Will I have to give my name? If you feel very strongly that you cannot give your name, you need not do so – your concerns for a child will still be examined. We will make every effort to keep your name and address confidential, however, sometimes we are unable to do this. What happens once I have reported my concerns? The person you speak to will take your concerns very seriously and refer the matter to the Social Worker, specially trained in child protection, who will contact you. Enquiries often start with asking a teacher or a doctor who knows the child. In most cases there will be a discussion with the parents and the child. Sometimes it becomes clear at a very early stage that concerns are not founded. If initial enquiries do reveal significant concerns about the child’s welfare, then the formal child protection enquiry procedures will begin immediately.