If you've been accused of child abuse

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

If you’ve been accused of child abuse, you should get advice about what to do. 

If you’ve been wrongly accused of child abuse at work, you can contact the FACT helpline on their website.

If you’re being investigated by the police 

If the police think a child is at risk of harm, they have a legal duty to investigate the situation. 

If you’re being investigated or prosecuted for child abuse, it’s important you get legal advice. You might get legal aid.

When the police are deciding whether or not to prosecute you, they'll check things like: 

  • police records and intelligence about you

  • previous allegations of abuse against you - even if you weren’t prosecuted

  • your association with other people

You can check what happens when child abuse is reported to the police.

If you’re being investigated by your local council 

Your local council must protect and promote the welfare of vulnerable children in its area.

If you’ve been accused of abusing your child, your local council might investigate. They will try to offer you the support you need and take every step to keep your child at home. In some cases, they might apply for a court order if they think it would be in your child’s best interests. 

Court orders give the local council power to protect your child. There are different types of court orders. For example, a care order gives social workers parental responsibility, so they can take decisions about your child’s life.

You can check the different types of court orders and what they mean for you.

It’s important to cooperate with your local council. It’s a good idea to write down all your dealings with them - for example, what date you had meetings, who was there and what you discussed during them. 

If you’re worried about the local council being involved with your family, you can get help from the Family Rights Group on their website. In some cases, you might need specialist legal advice from a family solicitor. You might get legal aid.

You might also get legal aid if your local council has started court proceedings - it doesn’t matter how much money you have.  

If your child has been taken into care

You can check what to do if your child is taken into care

If you want to make a complaint about your local council

If you’re unhappy with how the local council has handled your case, you can complain. You can check how to complain about your local council’s involvement with your family.

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse

If you’re a woman in this situation, you might want to consider moving with your children to a women's refuge. You can contact the National Domestic Abuse helpline on the Refuge website. 

If you're a man, you can contact the Men's Advice Line on their website.

You can check what to do if you’re affected by domestic abuse.

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Page last reviewed on 01 July 2021