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Report concerns about a child

Contact Health and Social Care Connect

All adults have a responsibility to protect children from harm. This includes not only parents and professionals but also family members, friends, neighbours and members of the public.

When would a child be at risk?

There are many different reasons why a child would be considered at risk of harm / abuse. There are different forms of abuse which may make you concerned:

  • physical abuse - includes hitting, shaking, burning, drowning and cutting - this type of abuse may be easier to identify
  • physical neglect - the signs can be a child who is under fed, poorly clothed and with poor hygiene
  • sexual abuse - this may be more difficult to identify unless you have directly observed the abuse taking place. Some signs would include the child behaving in an inappropriate sexual manner or using inappropriate sexual language
  • emotional abuse  - the signs of this include a child who feels frightened or in danger, a child who is constantly criticised, ignored or humiliated
  • child exploitation and trafficking - exploitation is when a child is groomed, forced or coerced into doing something for someone else's gain, against their will. This is primarily sexual and criminal exploitation, however it can also include being forced to work against their will and without proper pay and conditions. A trafficking victim does not have to cross international boundaries. Trafficking can take place within Scotland, in our towns and cities.

There will seldom be one single reason why you would have concerns. More often it will be several things which on their own seem to be relatively unimportant but when you look at them alongside other circumstances in the child's life they cause you to be concerned.

What are the signs I should look out for?

Some signs which may make you concerned include the child:

  • having unexplained bruising or bruising in an unusual place
  • appearing afraid, quiet or withdrawn
  • appearing afraid to go home
  • appearing hungry, tired or unkempt
  • being left unattended or unsupervised
  • having too much responsibility for their age
  • misusing drugs or alcohol.

It may be that you are worried about a child because of the behaviour of an adult who is caring for them, or involved in their life. The adult may:

  • act in a violent way to other adults, within or outwith the household
  • use drugs or alcohol chaotically
  • struggle to manage mental health problems.


What should I do if I suspect a child is at risk of harm?

If you are worried that a child is at risk or being harmed, it is important to tell someone. Your report will be treated in confidence. Everyone has a right to be safe.

Make sure they are safe - if immediate help is required phone 999.

During office hours, you can contact Health and Social Care Connect by phone on 0141 287 0555

Outwith office hours you can phone Glasgow and Partners Emergency Social Work Services on Phone 0300 343 1505.

You can also phone Scottish Police non-emergency on 101.

You can also speak to a health professional (for example your doctor or a health visitor), a teacher or the police. They will take your concerns seriously.

Don't assume that someone else has already reported it. The child being harmed or neglected may not be able to report it themselves.

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Last modified on 29 April 2024

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