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Child Protection - I am a Child

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Bullying

Bullying is something that affects many children and young people. Some children are bullied by others, some children behave in ways that are bullying to others, and some children can be upset when they see friends being bullied.

There are lots of behaviours that can be described as bullying including

  • being called names, teased or having lies told about you or people you love
     
  • being pushed, hit, kicked or physically hurt
     
  • having money or belongings stolen
     
  • cyber-bullying is the name given to bullying that happens on email, mobile phones, websites and gaming machines where someone sends unkind messages, shares images or photos without your permission or uses the internet to tell tales about you.

Everyone falls out with friends from time to time and sometimes friends can argue or disagree but when the argument or disagreement turns in to name calling, hitting or unkind behaviour which is upsetting to you, it can turn into bullying.  Bulling can be very hard to cope with, it can make you think you've done something wrong or that you deserve to be treated badly.  It can make you not want to go to school, see friends or do activities you usually enjoy.

If you or someone you know is being bullied, it can help to talk to someone you trust like a parent or carer, a family member or someone at school like a teacher.

School

Many children have a good time at school, they enjoy seeing their friends, learning new things and like their teachers and staff at school.  Sometimes things can go wrong and you might start feeling worried about going to school, feel like you're getting everything wrong or like you're always in trouble.

Whatever your worry, teachers, parents and carers want you to be happy at school.  It's likely that your teacher will have helped other children with the same kind of worries you have so, if you can, it's worth giving them a chance to help you.

Friends

Having friends is an important part of growing up.  Spending time with people who like the same things you do, that you enjoy spending time with and who are fun to be around can help you feel good about yourself.  Good friends will try to cheer you up when you feel sad, will help you when you are having a hard time and will encourage you to do your best.

Sometimes friends can fall out with each other or disagree about things.  You might feel angry or annoyed or sad about what has happened and need some time to calm down before talking to them again.  Disagreements don't always mean that you can't be friends any more.  Sometimes it helps to talk about how you feel to someone who isn't involved in the argument, like a parent, carer, brother or sister.

Family stuff

There a lots of things that can happen in a family to make us feel worried, someone might be sick or in hospital, you might be worried because your parents are fighting or have decided they can't live together any more.  You might be finding it hard because you're helping to care for someone else at home or you just don't feel like you fit in. Whatever the problem is, talking to someone can help.

It may be that you can talk to someone in your family, like you parents or grandparents, or an aunt, uncle or cousin that you have a good relationship with.  Sometimes people don't realise there's a problem without being told and talking about it might be enough to change things.  Some problems really need the help of people outside of your family and there are lots of workers whose job it is to help you and keep you safe.  You could talk to your teacher, a youth worker, sports coach, or someone at your church, mosque or other faith or community group who might be able to help you think about what happens next.

Computers

The internet is a great place to play games, meet friends and learn about all kinds of things.  Like anywhere though, the internet can also be a place where children might be bullied or hurt by other people.

There are some rules that can help you enjoy using the internet knowing that you're as safe as possible. The simple rules are:-

  • Don't give your full name, address, school or information that might help people recognise you.  Use a nickname and cartoon picture for sites that ask for a name.
     
  • Don't say anything that you wouldn't say to someone in person. Being on-line can make us feel more confident about saying things to others, and it's easy to get carried away.  Everything you say stays on-line, you can't take it back and what you say can still hurt other people badly.
     
  • Tell an adult what you're doing on the computer, let them have a look at the sites you enjoy going to and ask them to help you stay safe.
     
  • If someone you don't know contacts you online, tell a trusted adult and let them see what has been sent to you.  Don't reply to it unless an adult you know tells you it's safe.

Feeling safe

We all have lots of different feelings.  You might have warm, cosy feelings when someone shows you love and care, butterflies in your tummy when you feel a bit nervous or maybe a tingling feeling when you're excited about something good happening.  Sometimes your feelings warn you that something isn't OK, you might get a funny feeling in your tummy, or feel a lump in your throat that makes it hard to talk.  It's important to listen to how you feel, because your feelings are trying to tell you something.

Sometimes your feelings are telling you that you aren't safe, that someone is being hurtful or harming you in some way.  Sometimes the person hurting you is a parent or carer or someone else that you know and love, sometimes you might get that feeling about someone you've only just met.

If someone is making you feel uncomfortable, scared or unhappy it's important that you are able to tell someone you trust.  We know it can be hard to find the right words to explain what it is you're unhappy about.  Here is some information about the kinds of things that can happen to children that might make them feel scared or sad.

Abuse and neglect mean lots of things, but generally those words mean that someone isn't being treated well by someone who should care for them. There are different kinds of abuse:-

  • Physical abuse happens when someone is punched, slapped, kicked, beaten or shaken
     
  • Emotional abuse happens when someone is made fun of, disapproved of or blamed for things
     
  • Sexual abuse happens when someone touches your private parts or asks you to touch them in a way that doesn't feel OK.  They might ask you to keep it a secret or trick you into doing things you don't want to
     
  • Neglect happens when a parent or carer doesn't look after you properly, making sure you have clean, warm clothes, healthy food and somewhere clean and safe to live

If you think you, or someone you know is being abused or neglected, it's important you are able to tell someone because it will keep happening unless someone is able to help you.  On this website, there's a section called "Keeping Safe" that tells you what to do if you don't feel safe.

Keeping safe

Children and young people have a right to be safe and protected from harm, sometimes you might not feel safe, or be worried that someone you care about isn't safe.  You might be worried about the adults that look after you because you've seen something or been told something that upsets you.

If you are worried about your own safety, or confused about what might be happening to you or a family member, you can talk to someone and ask for help.  Perhaps you could think about people who you know would want to help you, they might include:-

  • A parent or carer
     
  • An aunt, uncle or other family member
     
  • your teacher
     
  • your doctor or school nurse
     
  • a police man
     
  • a social worker
     
  • a Minister, Imam or other community leader

It might be worth you making a list of all the people around you that you could talk to if you needed help.

It can be hard to talk to someone you know about things that are worrying you, it might help to talk to ChildLine on 0800 1111.  Their counsellors will listen carefully to what's on your mind and help you think about the kind of help you need.

Sometimes adults aren't able to look after their children, and sometimes they might hurt or harm their children.  When there is a worry that a child might not be safe at home, there are people who have the job of offering help and support - they are often called "professionals" and include people like social workers, health visitors, school nurses, support workers, police officers and teachers.  Their main job is to make sure that children are cared for and kept safe.

You might have professionals involved at home if your parents can't look after you.  They may need to talk to you to make sure they understand what has been happening and the kind of help you might need.  It can be scary to talk to people about your worries but it's important to try and explain as best you can so that they can help you the best way they can.   Here is some information to help explain what may be happening:

 Keeping You Safe - Child protection information for children [1Mb]

 What is the Child Protection Register? [72kb]

 What is a Child Protection Case Conference? [56kb]