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Concerned about a child's safety or welfare?

There are different types of abuse. These include:

·         Physical Abuse - such as hitting and shaking. Children can also suffer physical harm when caught in the middle of parental domestic abuse.

·         Neglect - such as not being properly fed or medical needs not being met.

·         Sexual Abuse - including inappropriate sexual behaviour, language and assault.

·         Emotional Abuse - e.g. when a child is constantly criticised or humiliated or from witnessing domestic abuse of a family member.

·         Child Exploitation- There are two types of exploitation.

·         Child Criminal Exploitation occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual.

·         Child sexual exploitation happens when a child or young person is coerced, manipulated or deceived into sexual activity in exchange for things that they may need or want like gifts, drugs, money, status and affection. Children and young people are often tricked into believing they're in a loving and consensual relationship so the sexual activity may appear consensual.

Who has the responsibility to protect children? We all do. Whether we are: Family, Friends, Neighbours, members of the public or people who work with children and young people.

Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

Is part of St Helens Council's Children and Families Service.

The MASH provides a 'first point of contact' for Early Help and Children's Social Care (CSC) enabling members of the public and professionals to raise concerns about the safety and welfare of Children. This may include Children identified as potentially needing support or as suffering abuse.

Operates between 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday and can be contacted via email or by dialling 01744 676767 option 2. Members of the public should always make contact by telephone.

MASH is a group of multi-agency professionals that work together as one team. Some of the agencies represented in the MASH are Children's Social Care, Health, Education, Housing, domestic abuse support, drug and alcohol support, probation, and the Police. Agencies work together with the Early Help Team and Children's Social Care to provide information about families and help to make decisions regarding a child's welfare and safety.

Professionals who work with children and who need to raise a concern should use the Service Request Form (SRF). If there is any sense of urgency in respect of the concern being raised (level 4 concern) the form should be sent following a phone call to MASH on 01744 676767 option 2, in order to highlight the urgency of the case.

If you contact MASH by telephone you will be asked a series of questions, this is to ensure as much information as possible can be gained to evidence the level of need and action required. Therefore please make sure you have the key details of the child and family to hand during the call. If you are a practitioner or other professional that works with children, you will also be asked to complete a Service Request Form (SRF) following the call. Members of the public should not use this form and should always make contact by telephone.

What is a contact?

A contact is information sent to Children's Social Care requesting services for a child or young person. The information is normally received by a Contact Cares advisor or directly by the MASH team. It is recorded electronically and sent to a manager to make a decision about what should happen next.

What is a referral?

Where a manager decides further information and action is required the contact will progress to a 'referral'. An assessment must then be undertaken before a service can be provided. The assessment establishes whether the child is in need of social care services.

Emergency Duty Team (EDT)

At all other times the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) acts as the 'first point of contact' for Children's Social Care. EDT can be contacted on 0345 050 0148. EDT will only respond to Emergencies that cannot wait until the next working day. This is usually circumstances where there are immediate concerns regarding the welfare or safety of Children or there is a risk of family breakdown, and the Child/children are being placed in 'care'. If you contact EDT and the concern is not immediate it is likely you will be asked to complete a service request form which MASH will respond to within daytime hours.

Please note if you believe a child or young person is at immediate risk of harm, you should contact the police urgently, CALL 999 in an EMERGENCY.

Other Services that can support 24 hours a day are:

Drug and alcohol Support (CGL) call 01744 410 752

Domestic abuse support (Safe to speak) call 01925 220541

Mental health support call 0800 145 6570