Hathershaw College

Risks & Signs to Look Out For

Risks & Signs to Look Out For

Below is summarised NSPCC advice for parents/carers regarding spotting the signs of abuse in your child:

"The signs of child abuse can be hard to spot. The NSPCC can help you to recognise the signs of abuse and support you if you have concerns about a child.

What are the signs of child abuse?

The signs of child abuse aren't always obvious, and a child might not feel able to tell anyone what's happening to them. Sometimes, children don't even realise that what's happening to them is abuse.

There are different types of child abuse and the signs that a child is being abused may depend on the type. For example, the signs that a child is being neglected may be different from the signs that a child is being abused sexually.

Types of child abuse include:

  • Bullying and cyberbullying
  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Child Trafficking
  • Criminal Exploitation and Gangs
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Grooming
  • Neglect
  • Non-recent abuse
  • Online abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse

More information on these types of abuse can be found at:



Some common signs that there may be something concerning happening in a child’s life include:

  • unexplained changes in behaviour or personality
  • becoming withdrawn
  • seeming anxious
  • becoming uncharacteristically aggressive
  • lacks social skills and has few friends, if any
  • poor bond or relationship with you as a parent/carer
  • knowledge of adult issues that are inappropriate for their age
  • running away or going missing
  • always choosing to wear clothes which cover their body

These signs don’t necessarily mean that a child is being abused, there could be other things happening in their life which are affecting their behaviour. "

At The Hathershaw College, specialist safeguarding staff can help you to assess the situation with your child.  You can also contact the NSPCC for this support on 0808 800 5000.

You may also notice some concerning behaviour from adults who you know have children in their care, which makes you concerned for the child/children’s safety and wellbeing.  If the child attends The Hathershaw College, please contact us for advice.

Alternatively, if the child/children do not attend The Hathershaw College, please contact social services to have a conversation about your concerns.  Conversations can be anonymous and you can speak frankly and honestly for their advice.

Remember, if you believe a child is at risk of significant harm/immediate harm, then please contact the police immediately.  Please discuss your concerns with school only after this report has been logged with the police.