Safeguarding children

The safeguarding of children is everyone's responsibility.

As commissioners we strive to ensure that all services, we commission have good safeguarding arrangements in place to safeguard and promote the welfare of children living in our communities.

We aim to be an inclusive organisation firmly placing families at the heart of commissioning and delivery of services. We work in partnership with children, young people, parents / carers and colleagues in other agencies making sure that every child matters.

The NHS Cheshire and Merseyside statutory safeguarding duties are outlined in national and local guidance and reflected in the organisation's safeguarding documents.

As commissioners we:

  • Ensure that the organisations we commission services from provide a robust system that safeguards children at risk of abuse or neglect.
  • Ensure robust processes are in place to learn from cases where children die or are seriously harmed and / or abuse or neglect is suspected.
  • Work in partnership with the local authorities to fulfil its duties to promote the health and wellbeing of children in care as their corporate parent.
  • Meet our statutory requirement, alongside our Local Authority Partners to share responsibility for and be active members of the Child Death Overview Panels.
  • Share an equal and joint responsibility with the police and the local authorities to be active members of the Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships. The Partnerships have a duty to make arrangements to work together, and with other partners locally, to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area.

See the child. Change the system.

Types of child 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

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 in-so-far 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 cyber bullying), 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

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.

It 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 can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can 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

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