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Understanding NICE guidance
Information for people who use NHS services
When to suspect child
This booklet explains what NICE (the National Institute for Health and
Clinical Excellence) has said about the signs of possible child maltreatment
(alerting features). It is written for members of the public.
The booklet does not describe child maltreatment or give details about what
to do if you are a child or young person who is being maltreated or
if you think a child or young person is being maltreated.
You can get more information from your local social services department
and the organisations listed on the back page. Terms printed in bold type
are explained on page 5.
Information about NICE clinical guideline 89
Issue date: July 2009

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Page 2

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The advice in the NICE guideline covers the alerting features in children
and young people (under 18 years) of:
· physical, sexual and emotional abuse
· neglect
· fabricated or induced illness.
The guideline does not specifically look at:
· risk factors for child maltreatment
· the identification of child maltreatment and procedures for supporting
the child or young person
· education and information for parents or children or young people
· training for healthcare professionals
· child protection procedures.…read more

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What the guideline says
The NICE guideline provides a summary of the alerting features that You can get
healthcare professionals might come across that suggest a child might be more information
being maltreated. The purpose of the guideline is to raise awareness and
from your local
help healthcare professionals who are not specialists in child protection to
identify children who may be being maltreated. The guideline does not social services
give healthcare professionals recommendations on how to diagnose, department and
confirm or disprove child maltreatment.…read more

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Communicating with and about children
or young people
Good communication between healthcare professionals and the child Healthcare
or young person, as well as with their families and carers, is essential. professionals
When communicating with a child or young person, healthcare
have a duty to
professionals should consider factors such as physical or learning disabilities,
sight or hearing problems, or difficulties with reading or speaking English.…read more

Page 5

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Explanation of terms
Emotional abuse Behaviour of a parent or carer towards a child that The versions of
is likely to cause severe and long-lasting negative effects on the child's the guideline
emotional development.…read more

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More information
The organisations below can provide more information about child
maltreatment. NICE is not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any
information or advice provided by these organisations.
· ChildLine, 0800 1111 (helpline for children and young people)
· National Association for People Abused in Childhood, 0800 085 3330
· NSPCC, 0808 800 5000 (helpline for adults who are worried about a child)
· Survivors UK, 0845 122 1201
· The Survivors Trust
www.thesurvivorstrust.…read more


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