If you are not in an emergency situation but you are worried that a child may be at risk of abuse, harm or neglect, you can make a referral to us.
You can do this whether you are a member of the public or a professional.
What is child protection?
Child protection is about protecting a child who may be experiencing child abuse already or is at risk of experiencing abuse in future.
What is child abuse?
Child abuse falls into several different categories. These can include the following:
Physical abuse SHOW
Described by the NSPCC as “deliberately hurting a child causing injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts”. Physical abuse may include hitting, punching, burning, poisoning, attempted drowning and smothering.
Emotional abuse SHOW
Described by the NSPCC as “the ongoing emotional maltreatment of a child”. It can mean repeatedly rejecting a child, constantly threatening or putting a child or young person down so that they feel unloved and worthless.
Sexual abuse SHOW
Described by the NSPCC as “when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities”. 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.
Described by the NSPCC as “the ongoing failure to meet a child's basic needs”. It involves 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.
How to respond to a child who tells you about abuse
If a child talks to you about abuse, neglect or mistreatment they are experiencing, it is important that you remain calm and reassuring so that the child feels listened to and understood. It is also important that the person they speak to responds appropriately to get the child the support they need. Some tips on how to respond are:
- Take any disclosure seriously and report it no matter how unlikely it might seem
- Make notes about what has happened - when and where the discussion happened, who was present and what the child said
- Once you have decided to report it, do not ask further questions. Let professionals take over from here
You might find the NSPCC resources on helping children disclose abuse helpful.
What to do if you think a child is being abused
If you have concerns about a child, you can report this to us by filling in the online referral form.
Should you wish to discuss your concerns first, you can call us.
Members of the public can phone us on 023 8083 3004.
If you are a professional, please contact us on 023 8083 2300.
Telephone number for members of the public: 023 8083 3004
Telephone number for professionals: 023 8083 2300
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are not a professional involved with the child or family, you do not have to give your name and your conversation will be treated confidentially.
NSPCC Freephone Child Protection Helpline: 080 8800 5000