Suspicions of child abuse or neglect

Explain what you must do if you suspect a child or young person (met in any circumstances) is being abused or neglected.

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

If you come into contact with children as part of your work, it is your duty and responsibility to ensure that their well-being is safeguarded and they are protected from harm, even if you do not work with them directly.

Therefore, it is important to understand what you must do if you suspect that a child or young person (under 18) is being abused or neglected.

NOTE: This follows on from Standard 10: Safeguarding Adults.

If you have concerns about a child’s well-being, you should report it to your manager and write up a factual statement of your concerns, which is signed and dated. Ensure your report is objective, accurate and legible. You should also ensure you follow your organisation’s policies and procedures, for example the Safeguarding Policy.

Your organisation may also have a head of safeguarding or child protection and you should also report your suspicions to them.

If you feel that your concerns are not being treated seriously, you should escalate them to the next level of management. It may also be necessary to contact Social Services Children’s or Safeguarding Team at your local authority.

If the situation is urgent or an emergency or  if you feel these channels will be too slow, you should contact the police by calling 999. They will be able to keep the child(ren) safe whilst your suspicions or allegations are investigated.

Always remember that your duty and responsibility ends with reporting your concerns – it is the job of the police and social services to investigate and follow up.

Further information may be gained from co-workers, other professionals and websites such as the NSPCC.