Reporting child abuse

Social workers and child abuse

If we learn a child is being harmed a social worker will go and talk to the parent or carer to find out what is happening. They will also see and talk to the child. If the child is very young or if he or she has difficulties communicating, they will need to spend some time with them.

If the social worker thinks that the child is at risk they will discuss what needs to happen to make them safe.

The professionals investigating the referral will make a decision about the amount of risk that the child might be in. The decision will be sent in writing to the parent or carer.

If the decision is that the child is not being harmed or at risk of serious harm, we may be able to offer the parent or carer some extra help or support. A social worker may then visit again to see how they are getting on.

If it is decided that the child or young person is being harmed or is at risk of serious harm, there will be a Child Protection Conference and action will be taken to protect the child.

A Child Protection Plan will be developed to reduce the risk to the child, who will be allocated a social worker.

The social worker will let you know the outcome of your concerns.

Taking a child into care

This will only be done if the police and social worker think the child or young person is in immediate danger and/or the plan to protect the child is not working. The social worker has to get permission from the court before any child can be removed from home. This is called a Care Order. This will only be done if there is no other solution. Extended family or friends are always the preferred option and will always be explored as alternative carers.

Many people worry that their child will be taken into council care. In fact, even after a Child Protection Conference, most children stay living at home with their parents.

Everyone working in Child Protection tries to keep children with their families as long as that is a safe place for them to be.


If you are worried about an allegation, suspicion or complaint made by a child or adult against an adult who works with children or young people then you need to contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO):

Safeguarding children - Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

: 01375 652 732

Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP)

The CEOP Centre is dedicated to eradicating the sexual abuse of children and is your front door to internet safety and advice. CEOP help children to stay safe online:

Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP)
33 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2WG

: 0800 800 5000

Contact CEOP using its online CEOP contact form.