The police and NSPCC have said that during the coronavirus pandemic some children and young people may be in danger of abuse and exploitation.

The organisations say that children can be made to believe that they should never tell anyone and the abuse is their fault. Shut in with their abusers, they have little chance to escape or to tell anyone.

They have put out guidance on what people should be looking out for in order to spot abuse and exploitation of children at home and as neighbours or key workers visiting homes, they may be the only people able to spot the abuse and to report it.

Signs of abuse in children can include:

Guarded behaviour of a child around particular individuals, or sudden changes in behaviour;

Children with bruises, burns, bite marks or fractures;

Children appearing withdrawn, anxious or frightened;

Hearing or seeing shouting and violence towards a child;

Children seen carrying or using drugs;

Children being late or arriving home late in different cars, or unaccompanied children visiting a house where only adults live.

The advice is to stay curious and look beyond the obvious. If something does not feel right, it might not be and even if you are unsure it is better to report your concerns.

However, they do not advise the public to attempt to intervene themselves. If there is a safeguarding manager/lead in your organisation, notify them. Alternatively the public should contact the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency or call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.