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Report a concern about a child

How to report a concern

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 (Mon - Fri 8.30am - 5pm)

0191 456 2093 (Outside of the above time)

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

Are you a child or young person?

For more information, see advice for children and young people.

Anything you notice can help a child at risk

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

Many people do not 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.

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  • Communication: such as talking aggressively, self harming or becoming secretive and withdrawn.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 to do if you suspect

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, it is important to tell someone. 

  • Some people prefer to talk to their partner, a family member or a friend before they make a report, and that is perfectly fine.
  • Contact us on 0191 424 5010 or 0191 456 2093 (out of office hours).
  • Or, if you are worried about a child's immediate safety, contact the police by dialling 999.

 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.

What is abuse?

  • 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.
  • Child sexual exploitation - Find out more at Safety advice for children and young people
  • Bullying - Some examples are; calling names, damaging property, stealing, spreading rumours, cyber bullying, hurting, getting people into trouble
  • Domestic violence - When one adult in a family or relationship threatens, bullies or hurts another family member, either physically, psychologically, emotionally, sexually or financially. Find out more about Domestic violence and abuse.

We are supporting the Department for Education - Together we can tackle child abuse campaign. 

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