Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

What should you do if you are concerned about a child?

If you have a concern about the welfare or safety of a child during the office hours of 9am-5pm, you should contact the Tower Hamlets MASH:

Tel: 020 7364 5006 option 3
Extensions: 5606/5601/5358/7796


If a child is in immediate danger, please call the police on 999.

Your responsibility is to report your concerns. A Social Worker will follow these up with any necessary investigations or assessment or alternatively contact:

Emergency Duty Team (EDT) – Out of hours service
Tel: 020 7364 4079 (after 5pm and at weekends).

Write to the following address:

Tower Hamlets Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub

Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
E1 1BJ

Professionals are asked to download and complete the Tower Hamlets Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF).


A Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is a team which brings together agencies (and their information) in order to identify risks to children at the earliest possible point and respond with the most effective interventions.

MASH allows the multi-agency safeguarding team to carry out a joint confidential screening, research and referral of vulnerable children.

Agencies work together to ensure vulnerable children are identified and properly cared for and protected.

How to respond to a child or young person who tells you about abuse

If a child talks to you about abuse, neglect or mistreatment they are experiencing, it is important that you remain calm and reassuring so the child feels listened to and understood. It is also important that the person they speak to responds appropriately to get the child the support they need.

All disclosures must be taken seriously and reported to Children’s Social Care as above.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse falls into several different categories. These can include the following:

  • Physical abuse – deliberating hurting a child e.g. hitting, punching or physical chastisement, causing injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts.

  • Emotional abuse – ongoing emotional maltreatment of a child including rejection, constantly threatening, or criticising a child so that they feel unloved and worthless. This can also include exposure to domestic abuse in the home.

  • Sexual abuse – forcing or persuading a child to take part in sexual activities, including inappropriate touching, kissing or sexual intercourse. This can also involve causing a child to look at or be involved in pornographic material

  • Exploitation – using a child for gain, either sexual or criminal

  • Neglect – failure to care for a child’s basic daily needs including food, clothing, medical care, shelter, keeping them safe, education and nurturing

More information on the different types of abuse can be found on the NSPCC website.

Signs to look out for

Although not an exhaustive list, some signs to look for in contact with individuals at risk of harm of abuse include:

  • unusual injuries, including bruises, burns, fractures, bite marks or signs of self-harm

  • consistently poor hygiene, poor living conditions or inappropriate clothing

  • communicating aggressively or using sexual language

  • appearing withdrawn, guarded, anxious or frightened, particularly around certain individual

  • hearing or seeing shouting, violence, or intimidation

  • adults keeping children from view

  • unsupervised children visiting a house where only adults live.

Enquiries which can wait until the next working day

  • When a professional or practitioner would like to contact Tower Hamlets MASH Child Protection Advice Line (CPAL) to have a conversation about a concern they have for a child that might lead to a referral – but the child or young person is not at immediate risk of harm 

  • When a professional or practitioner would like advice

  • For cases that are NOT open to Tower Hamlets, any issues around contact arrangements between children and their parents

  • For cases that are NOT open cases where one parent has been taken to hospital, but the other parent or family members are caring appropriately for the child

  • *Note: If a/your child has an allocated social worker, please call the allocated social work directly or ask to speak to the team’s Business Support Officer.

Visit Tower Hamlets function/explanation and the privacy notice page to read the children service social care notice.