Report child abuse

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If you are being harmed or abused, or you’re worried about somebody else, please report it. If you report a concern and it turns out that nothing has happened you won’t get into trouble if you really thought there could be a risk.


Child abuse can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect.

  • Physical abuse is where someone injures or hurts a child – this includes all forms of physical harm.
  • Sexual abuse is where someone makes a child take part in sexual activities, whether or not they use force.
  • Emotional abuse is where adults treat a child badly over time in ways that damage their emotional development, making them feel
    • afraid
    • insecure
    • worthless and unloved
  • Neglect is where adults fail to meet a child’s basic needs; this could be by leaving them alone, not sending them to school, not keeping them clean or not providing:
    • food
    • shelter
    • clothing
    • medical care
    • protection from danger
  • If a child wants to talk to you, give him or her time and space; listen to them carefully – and in private if possible. Don't try and investigate yourself; don't question the child at length, or put words in their mouth. Reassure the child, and tell them that they are not to blame in any way.
  • Write down exactly what you have seen or heard; use the child's own words. Write down what you said to them as well.
  • Make it clear to the child that you will only be sharing the information they gave you with someone who can help them: don’t promise to keep a secret  - that might not be possible.
  • If you work with children, contact your line manager immediately. If you don't, contact Children's Services.

You can ask that your name is not given to the family you are worried about, and this will be respected. You should also be told later whether your call has been followed up – you probably cannot be given any other details, as these will be confidential.

You may be worried or afraid about sharing the concerns you have, and what will happen as a result – especially if you’re in contact with the family. You may not be sure that a child is actually being harmed, or think that you do not have enough information to pass on.

But remember...unless you tell someone, there’s no way of checking whether or not that child needs help, and abuse may continue. You may have a key piece of information that will help Children's Services to make the best decisions about a child. Your referral may also ensure that support is given to a family.

If you are unsure about whether or not to make a referral, please talk to the duty social worker, and decide together on the best course of action for the child.

If you are a child or young person and you are unhappy about your life

or if you are worried about a friend, or someone else at school

or if you or a friend are being bullied

tell someone that you trust:.

  • a friend
  • someone in your family
  • your teacher or a school nurse
  • or phone one of our contact numbers

Report Abuse

If you see or hear someone being harmed or abused, or someone has told you they are being harmed or abused:

In an emergency, don’t wait – call 999.

  • Do get medical help if they have been hurt
  • Do call the police if you suspect a crime
  • Do listen and reassure the victim
  • Do preserve evidence (the police will tell you about this)
  • Don’t push for information about what happened

To report any concerns, please call us:

01597 827666 (office hours)

0845 054 4847 (out of hours)

For Professionals only

More Information

Links to other websites:




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