Safeguarding Children and Young People in Herefordshire

You may be concerned about a child or young person. You may or may not know them, or even their name.

Don’t assume that someone else will take responsibility and make that phone call. You could help to save a child’s life. If you are worried, report it.

If the child or young person is in immediate danger call 999

If there is no emergency but you think a crime may have been committed:

Telephone: West Mercia Police 101

If you think that a child has been harmed or is being neglected, contact the MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) or the Police using the details below:

Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

To speak to the team – (01432) 260800

To email the team – ReferralsCYPD@herefordshire.gov.uk

If you are a professional, complete the Multi-agency Referral Form (MARF) to make a referral to the MASH. The MARF and accompanying guidance can also be found on the West Midlands Child Protection Procedures website.

Emergency Duty Team

(01905) 768020 (out of hours number for when MASH are unavailable)

Safeguarding children and young people is the action that is taken to promote their welfare and protect them from harm. It is important because every child and young person has a right to equal protection from abuse, exploitation, and neglect. Safeguarding also helps children and young people to grow up in a safe and caring environment and to achieve the best outcomes in life.

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.

If you are worried that a young person is being exploited or abused, here are some key points to know:

  • Exploitation and abuse can take many forms, such as physical, psychological, financial, sexual, or criminal.
  • Exploitation and abuse can happen anywhere, such as at home, in a care setting, in a public place, or online.
  • The person causing the harm may be someone the young person knows and trusts, such as a family member, a friend, a carer, or a professional. They may also be a stranger or someone who targets vulnerable young people for criminal purposes, such as gangs or traffickers.
  • A young person may be at risk of harm if they have a disability, an illness, a mental health issue, or any other condition that makes them dependent on others or unable to protect themselves.
  • Signs of exploitation and abuse may include injuries, bruises, burns, changes in behaviour, mood, or appearance, isolation, fear, anxiety, or depression.

If you suspect that a young person is being exploited or abused, you should report your concerns to the local authority’s children’s social care team or the police. You can also contact other organisations that provide support and advice for young people, such as NSPCCChildline and Barnardo’s.

You should not ignore or dismiss any signs of exploitation and abuse, as they may have serious and lasting consequences for the young person’s health, wellbeing, and safety.

You should not confront the person causing the harm, as this may put you or the young person at risk of further harm.

You should not promise to keep the young person’s situation a secret, as this may prevent them from getting the help they need. You should explain to the young person that you are concerned about them and that you want to help them by contacting the appropriate authorities or services.

Remember safeguarding children and young people is everyone’s responsibility.