Reporting child abuse

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

If you think someone is abusing a child, you should report it immediately.

There are many warning signs that a child might be being abused, even if they don’t tell you directly. If you’re not sure, you can check what kinds of behaviour are child abuse

You might be concerned a child is being abused by someone:

  • in your own family

  • outside your family, like a teacher, sports coach or babysitter

  • on the internet - for example, if you think your child is being groomed or bullied on social media websites

If your own child is being abused, you have a legal responsibility to get help to keep them safe. If you don’t take steps to protect your child, your local council might investigate and take action. 

Important

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse

There are things you can do to get help and keep children you live with safe. Check what you can do about domestic abuse.

How to report child abuse

If you want to report something you think is child abuse, it's usually best to contact:

  • the police - call 999 in an emergency or otherwise 101

You can also report child abuse to a person or organisation that works with children. For example, a school, GP or youth worker - they have to report concerns to social services or the police. 

To report abuse you can also:

If you're worried that a child is being abused online, you can contact the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) on their website. This is a national police agency that protects children from abuse online.

If you report child abuse, you don’t have to give any identifying information such as your address, telephone number or last name. 

If you do give any identifying information to a person or organisation, they have to pass on that information to the local council or police if they’re concerned that:

  • a child is at risk

  • a person has committed a criminal offence

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse

There are things you can do to get help and keep children you live with safe. Check what you can do about domestic abuse

Reporting child abuse to your local council

Your local council has to investigate reports of child abuse. 

The council should let you know if it will take further action soon after you report the abuse. They must let you know what they decide to do. 

If the council decides to investigate further, social workers will talk to people who know the child and write a report. They should complete the report within 10 weeks.

Once they’ve finished their investigation, the social worker might decide they need to: 

  • monitor the situation and continue to help the family or

  • call a child protection conference

You can check what happens at a child protection conference

Reporting child abuse to the police 

The police have a legal duty to investigate reports of child abuse. 

You can check what happens if you report child abuse to the police

Page last reviewed on 01 July 2021