Concerned about a child?
If you suspect that a child or young person is being harmed or is at risk of being harmed then you have a duty to report it immediately.
If you are ever concerned that a child is in immediate danger please call the police on 999.
Child abuse can have major long-term effects on all aspects of a child’s health and well-being. Children and young people are dependent on others for their survival and have a right to be protected and to have someone who will act on their behalf. If you are a member of the public you may first like to discuss your concerns with someone who works with children and families, such as your health visitor, social worker, school nurse or teacher (as all schools have a teacher responsible for child protection).
Please act promptly!
It can be very difficult to investigate concerns if there is a delay, as some signs of abuse can disappear quite quickly.
Practitioners should first seek advice and information from their own agency line manager and agency safeguarding lead if this support is available.
When a practitioner is concerned that a child is at risk of or is experiencing significant harm, they must follow their agencies policies and procedures and ensure that a referral is made to Children’s Social Care immediately.
Call the Single Point of Access team on 01275 888 808 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).
If the issue can't wait until the next working day please contact the Children's Emergency Duty Team on 01454 615165 and provide them with as much information as possible.
Enquiries needing an immediate response:
When it is felt a child or young person is at immediate risk of harm
When a child protection investigation is needed (because of physical sexual and emotional abuse or chronic neglect)
When a child or young person needs an immediate mental health assessment
Enquiries which can wait until the next working day:
When a professional or practitioner would like to make contact with Children’s Social Work Service to have a conversation about a concern they have for a child that might lead to a referral – but the child or young person is not at immediate risk of harm. This is called a no names consultation.
Who to talk to if you are a child:
If you have been hurt by anybody, or an adult or another young person has done something that makes you feel upset or scared, it is important that you tell somebody so that you can get the support and protection you need.
You can contact Single Point of Access Team on 01275 888 808 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm), you don't need to a give your name if you don't want to. Ask to speak to the duty Social Worker. Or you can speak to someone at Childline on 0800 1111 (calls are free and confidential), or through their website.
The Seven Golden Rules for Information Sharing
- Remember that the Data Protection Act 1998 and human rights laws are not barriers to justified information sharing but provide a framework to ensure that personal information about living individuals is shared appropriately;
- Be open and honest with the individual (and/or their family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so;
- Seek advice from other practitioners if you are in any doubt about sharing the information concerned, without disclosing the identity of the individual where possible;
- Share with informed consent where appropriate and, where possible, respect the wishes of those who do not consent to share confidential information. You may still share information without consent if, in your judgement, there is good reason to do so, such as where safety may be at risk. You will need to base your judgment on the facts of the case. When you are sharing or requesting personal information from someone, be certain of the basis upon which you are doing so. Where you have consent, be mindful that an individual might not expect information to be shared;
- Consider safety and well-being: Base your information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and wellbeing of the individual and others who may be affected by their actions;
- Necessary, proportionate, relevant, accurate, timely and secure: Ensure that the information you share is necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, is shared only with those people who need to have it, is accurate and up-to-date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely (Practitioners must always follow their organisation’s policy on security for handling personal information);
- Keep a record of your decision and the reasons for it – whether it is to share information or not. If you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose. Source:- Information sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services (March 2015).