Do you have concerns about a child?

It is everyone's responsibility to protect children

All children have a right to grow up in a caring and safe environment. All adults have a responsibility to protect children.

If you are concerned about a child speak to someone. This might be a health visitor, nursery staff, teacher, GP, police officer, your social worker or a member of staff from our social work locality offices.

If the child is in immediate danger you should contact the police (999).

What might make me concerned?

Children rarely tell if they are being abused, however, there may be signs which make you concerned and may be an indication of a child being abused or neglected:

The child may:

  • have unexplained bruising or bruising in an unusual place
  • appear afraid, quiet or withdrawn
  • be afraid to go home
  • appear hungry, tired or unkempt
  • be left unattended or unsupervised
  • have too much responsibility for their age
  • be acting out in a sexually inappropriate way
  • be placing themselves in danger (for example misusing drugs or alcohol or running away)
  • be living with violence in the home
  • be being exploited by adults or others

The adult (parent or carer) may:

  • be acting in a violent or sexual manner towards a child
  • be constantly criticising, ignoring or humiliating the child
  • be misusing drink or drugs while caring for a child
  • have other difficulties which interfere with their ability to care for or protect their child (for example mental health problems)

These are some examples of what might make you worried. On their own, they do not necessarily mean a child is being abused. You may know of other concerns that are happening which means you need to take action to protect the child. 

What should I do if I am concerned?

Children can't always get help for themselves, they may need you to get help for them.  Remember - if you are concerned speak to someone. 

What happens next?

All information received is treated seriously.  The first priority for everyone is making sure the child is safe. 

If help is needed to protect the child and support the family to meet the needs of the child, staff from agencies like health, education, social work and police will work together and agree how best to provide this.

In most cases, we can help children by providing extra support to them and their parents or carers. In a very small number of cases, children can be best helped by living somewhere else; we can support most of these children to return home safely.

Just remember: if you are concerned about a child speak to someone. This might be a health visitor, nursery staff, teacher, GP, police officer, your social worker or a member of staff from our social work locality offices.

If the child is in immediate danger you should contact the police (999).

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