Report a concern about a child (safeguarding and abuse)

How to report a concern

If you have concerns that a child is at risk of either being harmed or abused then you must report it.

To do nothing is the worst thing you can do.

See what is abuse.

Call 999 if you are reporting a crime that is in progress or if someone is in immediate danger.

If you are suspicious or have any concerns that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, call Children and Families Social Care on:

  • 0191 424 5010
    Monday to Thursday - 8.30am to 5pm
    Friday - 8.30am to 4.30pm
  • 0191 456 2093
    Outside of the above time

For more information and advice free phone the NSPCC 0808 800 5000.

If you are a professional, you can refer your concerns using the Multi-Agency Referral Form.

What is abuse

We all have a role to play in protecting children and young people from child abuse and neglect.

Many people don't act because they're worried about being wrong.

You don't have to be absolutely certain about your suspicions; if you're concerned a child is being abused or their safety is at risk, speak to someone.

Following these simple steps and reporting your concerns to your local children's social care team could provide the missing piece of information that is needed to keep a child safe.

Child abuse. If you think it, report it.

Abuse can be:

  • Physical abuse - When an adult hurts a child on purpose, such as hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning or suffocating.
  • Emotional abuse - For example when a child is being unfairly blamed for everything, or told they are stupid and made to feel unhappy.
  • Neglect - Where a child is not being looked after properly, for example, not getting enough to eat or being left alone in dangerous situations.
  • Sexual abuse - For example where a child has been forced to take part in sexual activities, or in the taking of rude photos.

Signs to spot

To spot the signs of child abuse or neglect look out for changes in these characteristics:

  • Appearance: Unexplained injuries, cuts or bruises or consistently poor hygiene.
  • Behaviour: such as demanding or aggressive behaviour, frequent lateness or absence from school. Being constantly tired.
  • Communication: such as talking aggressively, self harming or becoming secretive and withdrawn.

For more information visit NSPCC: Child abuse and neglect

What happens next

When you contact us, we will:

  • Listen: Your concern will be listened to carefully and assessed.
  • Gather information: From many sources as your report forms one part of a bigger picture.
  • Assess: If concerns are raised about a child, a social worker will make an assessment and decide what support to provide.
  • Decide: It may be that the concerns are unfounded and that no further action is necessary, although all concerns are taken seriously.