All children have a right to grow up in a caring and safe environment and all adults have a responsibility to protect children. 

This includes:

  • Parents
  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Neighbours
  • Members of the public 

You may become concerned about your own child, a child you care for or a child you know. 

This may be for the following reasons:

A child has told you something is worrying them.  It is very important that children and young people are listened to and taken seriously when they tell adults what is happening to them. The most important thing to remember is to listen to the child telling you what has happened without asking lots of questions.

You may feel that you need additional help to support the child with the issues they have raised – you can ask for assistance from the child’s school or nursery, health visitor, or you can contact social work services or local police office.   

  • To listen
  • To explain to the child/young person that you will require to pass the information on in order that they get the help and support they need.
  • To pass on the information given to you by the child/young person timeously.

You have noticed an injury which you are concerned about, or a child seems particularly unhappy, dirty or withdrawn.  In these situations it is often best to pass on your concerns quickly. You need not give your name if you prefer not to, and should contact your local social work office or the police directly in these circumstances.

What might make you concerned?

Children rarely tell if they are being abused, however, there may be signs which give you cause for concern.

The child may:

  • Have unexplained bruising or bruising in an unusual place
  • Appear afraid, quiet or withdrawn
  • Appear afraid to go home
  • Appear hungry, tired or unkempt
  • Be left unattended or unsupervised
  • Have too much responsibility for their age
  • Be acting out in a sexually inappropriate way
  • Be misusing drugs or alcohol

The adult/s may be:

  • Acting in a violent or sexual manner towards a child
  • Misusing drink or drugs while caring for a child
  • Verbally abusive towards a child

If you notice any of these signs and/or are worried, please take action to protect the child or young person.

If you are concerned about a child or young person it is really important that you speak to someone.

This might be a health visitor, nursery staff, teacher, family doctor, social worker, police officer or children’s reporter.

If the child is at risk, this information you give will be shared with other agencies. This is so that the professionals involved can build as good a picture as possible of what might be happening in order to plan how best to approach the child or their family.

As stated above you need not give your name, however all information received is treated confidentially and with discretion. Any details received, including your name, will not be revealed unless the child’s safety requires it. 


It is everyone’s responsibility to keep children safe. If you have a concern, passing on information is the right thing to do.  It is not interfering or being nosey, and all concerns will be followed up sensitively and with discretion.