Concerned about a child?

If you think that a child or young person is being abused or neglected you must inform Children’s Social Care or the police.  Click here for details : How to report abuse


What is abuse?

Child abuse is not easy to recognise, prevent or stop and is a very difficult subject to deal with, especially when you know the child, young person or family. Child abuse can take many forms:

  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • neglect

Not all forms of abuse have visible signs and this can make recognising abuse difficult. Even when a child has been injured it can be difficult for members of the public to know how those injuries have been caused.

Protecting children is everyone's responsibility. If you are concerned that a child or young person is being abused or appears unhappy act now.


What will happen if I report child abuse?

All childcare agencies believe that children and young people are best cared for by their parents. They are rarely removed from their parents and most families are given help and support. Social workers can only remove children or young people from home with a court order and only after they have demonstrated that they are at serious risk.

If a child has been abused and is at risk of further abuse, a Child Protection Conference may be held. The purpose of a Child Protection Conference is to ensure that all agencies work together with the family to protect the child.

A Child Protection Conference may decide to make the child subject to a child protection plan which is reviewed regularly.

Effects of abuse and neglect

Child abuse, especially when it continues over a long period, can have major effects on a child's health, development and well-being. Sustained abuse has a deep impact on a child's self image and self esteem lasting into their adult lives.

Evidence and the accounts of adults who have been abused as children show that it can have damaging effects on an adult's ability to make and sustain close relationships and their ability to develop the necessary skills and attitudes to be a good parent.

In extreme circumstances child abuse can result in death or serious or permanent injury.

Talking to someone

You can talk to someone about a concern in confidence on the NSPCC helpline or ChildLine.

ChildLine is the free 24-hour helpline for children and young people in the UK. Children and young people can call our helpline on 0800 1111 about any problem, at any time - day or night. Children who are deaf or find using a regular phone difficult can try our textphone service on 0800 400 222. ChildLine's counsellors are there to help you find ways to sort things out.

ChildLine is confidential - which means we won't tell anyone about your call unless you want ChildLine to talk to somebody for you, or you are in danger. Our lines can be busy but please keep trying and you will get through.

NSPCC helpline
Call 0808 800 5000 to speak to a Helpline adviser, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.