Bedfordshire Police have urged Bedfordians to be mindful of children who may be at risk of abuse and neglect during the coronavirus pandemic
With children no longer at school during the week, and many families isolating at home, police say many children and young people may be heightened risk of abuse and neglect.
School is often regarded as a safe place by children who are victims of abuse.
But, with the country in ‘lockdown’, they are no longer regularly interacting with trusted adults, such as teachers, social workers, grandparents, and neighbours.
Which reduces the chances that safeguarding issues will be reported.
Detective Superintendent Zara Brown, Head of the Public Protection Unit at Bedfordshire Police said: “Cases of child abuse and neglect are taken extremely seriously by our force.
“We are working closely with the local authorities and our partner agencies on the best ways we can keep children safe during this difficult time.
“With schools and activity centres closed and everyone staying at home, it’s becoming harder for people to spot the signs of abuse or neglect.
“This is why I want to encourage you to be our eyes and ears and if you see or hear something you don’t think is right.
“For example from neighbours in your street or through speaking with friends, then please report it, even if you’re not sure, as this could potentially save a child’s life.
The force also highlighted that children or young people who may need help, or are concerned about younger family members, still have support if they need it.
“Safeguarding is everyone’s business and now, more than ever, we all need to be doing our bit to keep children safe,” added Detective Superintendent Brown.
If you are worried or have any concerns about a child, whether that be a neighbour, relative or friend, please call us on 101 or you can report through Bedfordshire Police’s online reporting tool.
ChildLine also has information for any child or young person who is struggling with issues at home, or you can call 0800 1111.
You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.