A UK charity fighting to end child abuse says cases could go unreported during lockdown despite the increased risks.
The NSPCC says more than one in four adults in the north of England are unsure where to go for advice if they fear that a child is being abused or neglected.
adults are unsure where to go for advice if they fear a child is being abused or neglected.
There is growing concern for the safety of vulnerable children during the coronavirus crisis, particularly as support systems like teachers and social workers have limited contact.
Councils are seeing a 50% decline in referrals from social care of children who are most at risk, according to the Local Government Association.
The NSPCC has launched a nationwide campaign, backed £1.6million of Government funding, to ensure more people know they can raise concerns about child safety and wellbeing to its Helpline.
NSPCC Helpline: 0808 800 5000
Spotting the signs of abuse or neglect may be more difficult in the present climate, but indicators can include:
aggressive or repeated shouting
hearing hitting or things being broken
children crying for long periods of time
very young children left alone or are outdoors by themselves
children looking dirty or not changing their clothes
children being withdrawn or anxious.
Kam Thandi, Head of NSPCC Helpline, said: “It is terrible to think that cases of child abuse and neglect may be going unreported because people don’t know where to go to for help and advice.
“At the moment, we’re increasingly reliant on the public to come forward with their concerns and if reports drop we fear abusers will have free reign to harm children, both physically and emotionally.
“Even if you are not 100% sure, we urge any adult who is worried for the safety or wellbeing of a child to contact our helpline.
"We can answer any questions and concerns, provide reassurance or importantly take quick action if we feel a child is in danger.”