The council has a legal duty to look into a child’s circumstances when somebody suspects abuse or neglect is occurring. A social worker usually does this job for us. The social worker will need you to give them relevant information so they can plan the best way of checking the child is safe and, if necessary, draw up plans for further action.
You should always report your concerns, even if the person you suspect is abusing or neglecting a child is your partner, a member of your own family or someone you know well.
Abuse can take different forms. Common types are:
- Neglect – the persistent lack of essential care for a child including enough love, stimulation, safety, food, clothing, shelter, medical care or education. It can also mean leaving a child alone and at risk.
- Emotional abuse – can mean repeatedly rejecting a child, constantly threatening or putting a child or young person down so that they feel unloved and worthless.
- Physical abuse – including hitting, punching, burning, poisoning, attempted drowning and smothering.
- Sexual abuse – forcing or persuading a child or young person to take part in any kind of sexual activity. It can include inappropriate touching, kissing or sexual intercourse. It can also involve causing a child to look at, or being involved in pornographic material or videos.
A child may experience more than one type of abuse or neglect.