Advice for Members of the Public


Advice for Members of the Public

We all have a responsibility to keep children and young people safe. Find advice here on what to do if you are worried about a child or young person.

All children and young people have the right to be protected from harm and abuse. Safeguarding means:

  • Protecting children from abuse or neglect
  • Preventing harm to children’s health and development
  • Making sure children grow up with safe and effective care
  • Taking action to make sure that all children have the best outcomes

Reporting a Concern

If you are worried about a child or young person, you can speak to the Children and Families Hub for advice.

You can also Report a Concern

In an emergency, call the Police on 999.

Abuse can include:

Physical Abuse

This includes hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.  Physical harm may also be caused when a parent fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.

Sexual Abuse

This includes forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (eg rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. Sexual abuse includes non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, including online and with mobile phones, or in the production of, pornographic materials, watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. In addition, sexual abuse includes abuse of children through sexual exploitation.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent effects on the child’s emotional development, and may involve:

  • Conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person
  • Imposing age or developmentally inappropriate expectations on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction
  • Seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another eg where there is domestic violence and abuse
  • Serious bullying, causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger
  • Exploiting and corrupting children.


Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance misuse, maternal mental ill health or learning difficulties or a cluster of such issues. Where there is domestic abuse and violence towards a carer, the needs of the child may be neglected.