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Safeguarding is the protection of people’s health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect.

Those most in need of protection are:

  • children
  • young people
  • adults whose have additional care and support needs which makes them vulnerable

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and, as an organisation, we are committed to ensuring that all recruitment of staff is undertaken fairly, effectively, safely and in accordance with legislation.

All adults who come into contact with children, young people and vulnerable adults in their work have a duty of care to safeguard and promote their welfare.

For more information, visit New advice for Staying Safe at Home.

We are working closely with the two multi agency Safeguarding Boards which develop and review the Safeguarding policies and procedures which are used across Southend, Essex and Thurrock (SET Procedures).     

Fore more information, visit Essex Safeguarding Children's Board (ESCB).

If you're concerned that a child or young person is being harmed, neglected or at risk, you should contact Essex Social Care on 0345 603 7627.

They are available Monday to Thursday, 4:30pm, Friday-9am Monday, Out of hours from 5:30pm to 9am, and Bank Holidays 0345 606 1212 or 0300 1230 770. You can also email

If there's an immediate risk of harm to a child or young person, call the Police on 999.

Clare's Law

Clare's Law is a scheme which allows you to request information from the police if you believe your partner may be a danger towards you. Both men and women can request information about their partner. Also, friends or relatives can make requests if they have concerns about a friend or relative's partner and want to find out if someone has a record of abusive offences or presents a risk of violence or abuse.

Coercive Control

Coercive control refers to a pattern of different actions that seek to exert dominance and control over an individual through psychological and emotional manipulation. It’s a form of domestic abuse which is illegal in England and Wales, and it can be reported to the police.


Grooming is when a person builds a relationship with a child, young person or an adult who is at risk, so they can abuse them and manipulate them into doing things. Grooming is manipulative behaviour that the abuser uses to gain access to a potential victim, coerce them to agree to the abuse, and reduce the risk of being caught.

If you have concerns that a vulnerable adult may be being harmed, neglected or at risk of abuse you should contact Essex Social Care Direct on 0345 603 7630 or out of hours on 0345 606 1212.

Child sexual exploitation

The definition of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)  is “The sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something’ (for example, food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of performing, and or others performing on them, sexual activities.

Children and young people who are victims of this form of sexual abuse often do not recognise they are being exploited. However, there are a number of signs that could indicate a child is being groomed for sexual exploitation and, as a parent or carer; you have an important role in recognising them and protecting children.

These signs include:

  • Going missing for periods of time or regularly returning home late
  • Regularly missing school or not taking part in education
  • Appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions
  • Associating with other young people involved in exploitation
  • Having older boyfriends and girlfriends
  • Suffering from sexually transmitted infections
  • Mood swings or changes in emotional wellbeing
  • Drug and alcohol misuse
  • Displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour

What can I do as a parent or carer?

Discussing the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships with children and young people is really important in helping highlight potential risks to them.

Help and support

Early Help and Advice Hub and Initial Response Team – 0345 603 7627 Out of Hours 0345 606 1212

If you're concerned that a child is at immediate risk, you should call 999.

Domestic abuse

What is domestic abuse and violence?

The government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional
  • Controlling behaviour

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Abuse is not normal or acceptable. A caring relationship should make you feel loved, respected, safe and free to be yourself. Domestic abuse and social isolation rob people of their confidence, self esteem and their hope for the future. An abusive relationship can make you feel scared, controlled and intimidated. If you think you are suffering from domestic abuse then you probably are.

Domestic abuse does not only happen between male and female partners, it can happen to anyone in an intimate or family type relationship.

Women’s Aid Chatline

Online chat now available

Women’s Aid have launched a message service online. Open Monday to Friday, 10am to 12pm. Visit

If you think you might be in danger, call the police immediately on 999

The Silent Solution - 999

There is a system in place for victims of domestic abuse who might be afraid of further danger and escalation of harm if they are overheard when calling 999 in an emergency. When somebody calls 999, an operator will ask which emergency service is required. If the caller is unable to audibly signal to the operator, the call will be forwarded to an operating system.  If 55 is pressed by the caller, the system will detect this. The operator will then transfer the call to the relevant police force as an emergency.

Office for Police Conduct guidance

Help and support

In Brentwood, Safer Places provides the domestic abuse support services, They offer a comprehensive range of services for everyone; both for men and women and their children, support for those of all ages, those who are from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTQI) community, or who are Black, Minority, Ethnic or Refugee (BMER). Their aim is to ensure the safety, improve the quality of life and reduce repeat victimisation of adults and children fleeing from or living with domestic abuse.

Safe accommodation

Safer Places can offer safe accommodation for those who need it; single women and for those with children, accommodation suitable for disabled people, for men and their children and for those with complex needs.

Support services

Safer Places offer a range of different support services:

  • Emotional support, counselling and specialist programmes
  • Drop-ins and one to one support
  • Practical support, advice and signposting
  • Safety Planning
  • Support within the community
  • Safe accommodation/respite if you need to leave your home
  • Free legal advice
  • Opportunities for volunteering, training and employment
  • Support for family members

For advice, support, information, refuge accommodation call 03301 025811 or visit the Safer Places website


If you, or a member of your family, are threatened with homelessness because of actual or threatened domestic abuse, please use the housing advice form below or telephone us on 01277 312500

Whilst we recognise that victims of domestic abuse would prefer to remain in the current area that they reside in, it is highly recommended that you approach an area or authority that you have no known local connection to ensure your future safety for you and your family.

Our housing advice staff have been trained to respond sympathetically and give advice on your housing options. When approaching the council you have the right to request an interview by an officer of the same sex if you so wish.

We will need to make appropriate enquiries and obtain information from the police, your GP or any other agency involved. It is a good idea to keep written records of what has happened, as this will support your case.

Whilst enquiries are being carried out, we will assist you with finding refuge accommodation which may be anywhere in the county. This is to ensure your safety and to ensure you receive the ongoing specialist support and guidance you will need during this difficult time. Many victims appreciate the support of safe accommodations during this time. Safer Places can help, and we would encourage you to approach them directly..

You can approach any council that you wish to help you with housing. If you have no local connection with the council that you approach then you may be referred to a council where you do have a local connection, but it can't be to an area where you would be at risk.


If you have made the decision to leave an abusive relationship try to take the following with you:

  • Proof of identity for yourself ie, passport, driving licence, birth certificate
  • Any supporting evidence, ie police incident reference numbers, support agencies, court documents or evidence such as threatening text messages/letters etc.
  • Birth certificates and proof of child benefit for your children
  • Clothes for yourself and your children
  • Medical cards
  • National Insurance number
  • Proof of residency (i.e., where you have been living)
  • Mortgage/tenancy details
  • House keys

If you are in immediate danger, just leave or call the Police

There is more information available on the Essex Safeguarding Adults Board website which also has a directory of support services.

Elder abuse

If you’re worried about whether an elderly person close to you may be suffering from the effects of being abused, you can call a new anonymous reporting phone line to help crack down on elder abuse: 0800 032 7644.

The free 24/7 reporting line aims to encourage members of the public to report any incident of suspected abuse of elderly people, whether it’s in a care home, hospital or the individual’s own home.

More information can be found on the Crimestoppers website.

For all other safeguarding concerns not relating to elder abuse you can continue to use Ask Sal, telephone 08452 66 66 63.

Honour based abuse

Honour Based Abuse is an international term used by many cultures for justification of abuse and violence. It is a crime or incident committed in order to protect or defend the family or community ‘honour’. Honour based abuse will often go hand in hand with forced marriages, although this is not always the case. Honour crimes and forced marriages are already covered by the law, and can involve a range of criminal offences.

Female genital mutilation
This is a collective term used for procedures, such as female circumcision, which include the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs, or injury to the female genital organs for a cultural or non-therapeutic reason.

Forced marriage
A forced marriage is when one or both parties do not consent to the marriage, and people are forced into marriage against their will. There could be both physical and emotional abuse used to coerce you into the marriage.
Forced marriage is an abuse of human rights.

This is not the same as an arranged marriage, where you have a choice as to whether to accept the arrangement or not. The tradition of arranged marriages has operated successfully within many communities and countries for a very long time.

If someone you know is being forced into a marriage either in the UK or abroad you can contact either Essex Police on 101, or the Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151 or by emailing .

If you wish to find out more about the Forced Marriage Unit visit: Forced Marriage

Warning signs
Warning signs of someone being at risk of a forced marriage include:

  • extended absence from school/college, truancy, a drop in performance, low motivation, excessive parental restriction and control of movements, a history of brothers/sisters leaving education early to marry
  • poor attendance in the workplace, poor performance, parental control of income and limited career choices
  • evidence of self-harm, treatment for depression, attempted suicide, social isolation, eating disorders or substance abuse
  • evidence of family disputes/conflict, domestic violence/abuse or running away from home.

Help and support

Essex Police: Emergency number: 999 Non emergency number: 101
If you require any help, support or advice please ring Essex Police. If there is an immediate threat to life, or the immediate threat of being taken abroad, ring the emergency number, or the forced marriage unit.

Human trafficking

What is Human Trafficking?

The trafficking of people is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat of or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Trafficking = movement + exploitation

Child trafficking is child abuse

Types of trafficking

  • Sexual exploitation - Brothels, massage parlours, night clubs, child abuse images, mainly girls
  • Domestic servitude – Household chores, caring for children/elderly, link to private fostering arrangements
  • Forced Labour – Agriculture, restaurants, construction sites, long hours, hazardous
  • Forced criminality – Pick pocketing, ATM theft, cannabis farms, organised crime run gangs
  • Fraud – benefit fraud, illegal adoptions
  • Forced marriage – to marry older men, sexual and domestic servitude
  • Organ trafficking – evidence may only be seen in a health setting

Help and support

If you suspect a child (anyone under 18) or adult has been trafficked then you should contact Essex Social Services or the Police.

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) will start the process to identify individuals who may be potential victims of Trafficking and provide them with protection and support. This process starts when a referral is made to either the UK Human Trafficking Centre which will deal with referrals from the Police, Local Authorities and Non Government Organisations or to the Home Office which will deal with referrals identified as part of the immigration process.

Free advice line Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB)

T: 020 7735 8941 Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4.30pm

W: Children and Families Across Borders website


Online safety

For more information on online safety visit the Essex Safeguarding Children's Board website