Concerned about a child?
If you are concerned that a child is being abused or neglected, in an emergency, contact the Police on 999. If you think there has been a crime but it is not an emergency, call the Police on 101.
To contact Children’s Social Care, please select from the list below based on the child’s home address.
- Reading: 0118 937 3641
- West Berkshire: 01635 503090
- Wokingham: 0118 908 8002
- For all these areas, contact the Emergency Duty Team on 01344 351 999 outside of normal working hours.
Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards
Each area is a member of the Berkshire West Safeguarding Children Partnership, their website can be found here.
Female Genital Mutilation risk and the summer holidays
FGM is the practice of removing part or all of the external female genitalia, by cutting with a blade, for non-medical reasons. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. This highly distressing act is usually performed by a non-medically trained person, often a female elder in a community, often with rudimentary instruments and no anaesthetic.
FGM is solely a cultural practice, with no basis in any religious teachings. It is highly distressing, can cause severe long term physical and psychological issues including bleeding, infection and even death.
Everyone has a duty to safeguard children and the issue of FGM requires services to be vigilant to the signs that a girl may be at risk of this extremely damaging and illegal act. The Summer holiday period is a particularly vulnerable time for girls from practising communities, as the long absence from school allows time for them to heal after being cut. Girls are often taken out of the country to undergo FGM, however it is now thought that cutting can happen here at home, so we all need to be aware of signs and indicators that a girl is at risk of being cut, or has actually been cut.
The Berkshire Procedures online for FGM is here. This provides clear pathways of what to do if you are worried.
It is vital that front line staff in all domains are vigilant to girls who may be from communities who practice FGM (world-map-prevalence) and any potential risk posed where an extended family holiday to their homeland is planned. The list of countries on this map is not exhaustive. It is important that we are open minded.