Derbyshire Victim Services

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Child Abuse

What is it?

Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger for example, via the internet. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children. There can be many different forms of abuse:

Physical abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.

It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women also commit acts of sexual abuse, as do other children.


Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.

Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:

● provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);

● protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;

● ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or

● ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

FGM is defined as ‘all procedures (not operations) which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons’. It is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and 15 years old. It is now mandatory to report any person that has or believed to be having FGM if they under 18 years old, so if you’re worried that a girl or young woman is at risk or is a victim of FGM please contact the NSPCC FGM helpline anonymously on 0800 028 3550. For further help and advice please contact the organisations listed below.

Female Genital Mutilation Order

An FGM Protection Order is a civil measure which offers the means of protecting victims or potential victims from FGM under the civil law

Applications for an FGM Order can be made by:

  • The girl or women to be protected (in person or with legal representation);
  • A Relevant Third Party such as local authorities or
  • Any other person with the permission of the court (for example, this could be the police, a voluntary sector support service, a healthcare professional, a teacher, a friend or family member

What should I do?

If you have concerns for the safety and wellbeing of a child, seek advice and guidance from your local safeguarding board, the police or by contacting your local authority’s Children’s Social Care team:

It is important to raise your concerns – the information you provide could help protect the child. Don’t worry about making a mistake, it’s better to be sure that the child is safe.

How to report it?

In an emergency situation, always dial 999. To report a crime in any other circumstances, contact police on the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively, you can contact any of the organisations below.

Where can I get help?

The Police and Crime Commissioner funds organisations that provide support services for victims and witnesses in Derbyshire. These are free of charge and are available to anyone who lives in Derbyshire. For child abuse these support services are provided by Derbyshire Victim Services.

If you have ever been the victim of crime, or have been affected by a crime committed against someone close to you, Derbyshire Victim Services can provide all the help and support you need. Their local team offers a friendly, free and confidential service to anyone living in Derbyshire. It doesn’t matter if you reported the crime to the Police or not they are here to help you with any practical advice and emotional support.

Derbyshire Victim Services have also been contracted by the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner to deliver a targeted support service for young people who have been the victim of crime.


GOT YOUR BACK is there to help anyone under 18 that has been a victim. It doesn’t matter when that was and it doesn’t matter if you reported it to the police or not they are there to help with whatever you need, even if that’s just someone to talk to.

0800 612 6505
TEXT ‘DVS’ TO 82228

Below are a range of other organisations that will be able to provide advice and support:


There to support children and young adults who have been a victim of crime
0845 60 999 60


CEOP (Child Exploitation Online Protection) provides advice about staying safe online for both children and parents, and allows victims to report any online behaviour they are uncomfortable with.

NSPCC Female Genital Mutilation

A helpline specialising in responses to FGM operates 24/7 and is to be staffed by specially trained child protection helpline counsellors.
0800 028 3550 

Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Helpline

 If you are suffering from domestic violence and wish to speak to someone in the Derbyshire area please contact the domestic violence helpline

0800 198 668

FGM Health Services

This page provides information on health services for those who have been affected by FGM.

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