National Safeguarding Unit (NSU) - Safe Activities For Everyone

It is vital to take whatever action in order to safeguard a child's well being 

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The support you need 

We recognise that it can be difficult for people who have concerns about the safety and well being of a child to seek help. You may be worried in case you are wrong or do not know what to do for the best.

The Law

The Children Act 2004 is the legislation designed to protect a child or a young person who is under the age of 18 from abuse and neglect. 
If social workers are made aware that a child or young person might be at risk, they are under a duty to investigate to find out whether that child needs to be protected.

What to look for
A concern should be raised if any of the following circumstances have or are happening to a child:

These types of abuse can often overlap, so in some cases a child may suffer from more than one type of abuse.
For example - a child could be suffering from physical and emotional abuse due to:

  • family violence or family substance misuse
  • psychiatric illness or mental ill health - signs of the child's stability and development have been impaired
  • actions or behaviour of which may place them at risk of harm
  • the child being abandoned or not cared for adequately. 

Before you make your final decision, consider:

  • how vulnerable the child is?
  • whether the child's parents are aware of any concerns and able to look after the child or take action if necessary to help keep the child safe
  • whether the parents use support services for extra help
  • any family history of concerns with this child or other children in the family.

Young boy playing table tennisRecord Keeping
Good record keeping or documentation is very important, clear accurate records ensure that there is documented account of an agency's, staff, volunteers and other children's involvement if a allegation has been recorded precisely.

This will help when individuals are unavailable or change role/job and provide an essential tool for others who are responding to the incident.
Try and colate your findings in chronological order, demonstrate how the process has been managed and show actions taken (by who, when and why).
Records are a good source of evidence for enquiries and could also be used in court proceedings.

You should use clear, straight forward language when recording, be concise, and be accurate not only in fact, but also in differentiating between opinion and judgement.
 Sample incident report form

Who can i consult with about my concern?  
'Discuss your concerns with someone about the alleged incident'
Before you consult it is good practice to ask the child why they are upset or how a cut/bruise was caused. This may clarify any vague concerns and may result in you taking action as a result.

If staff or volunteers are concerned they should share their concerns. Initially they should talk to their line manager, Designated Safeguarding Person (DSP) or another member of staff who is responsible for safeguarding children in the organisation.
Further to this you could contact your
local Children and Young People's service
A consultation with them will decide what action is necessary.

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