Report a concern about a child (safeguarding and abuse)

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  • Communication: such as talking aggressively, self harming or becoming secretive and withdrawn.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