When child protection is needed

Physical injury, sexual or emotional abuse and bullying - children can be abused in many different ways.

What is child abuse?

Children can be physically injured, for example by shaking, punching, hitting or kicking or by any other means involving violence. They can be abused sexually, which means they have been subjected to inappropriate sexual behaviour or language by others.

Emotional abuse, where a child is constantly criticised, ignored or humiliated, also causes harm. Neglect, where a child is not properly fed, cared for, clothed or sheltered, kept clean or safe or does not receive medical treatment when they need it.

Children can also be exposed to domestic abuse where one person hurts or bullies another person who is or was their partner or who is in the same family.

What signs should I be concerned about?

Children who have been abused rarely tell, but there are signs which may make you worry that a child has been abused.

The child may have unexplained bruising, or bruising in an unusual place, seem afraid, quiet or withdrawn, be afraid to go home, or seem hungry, tired or unkempt. You may be concerned if a child is left alone or unsupervised, has too much responsibility for their age, is acting in a sexually inappropriate way or is misusing drugs or alcohol.

You may also see behaviour in an adult which makes you worry about any children they care for. For example, an adult may be acting violently or sexually towards a child or someone else, misusing drugs or alcohol while caring for a child or be verbally abusive towards a child.

What will happen next if I report suspected child abuse?

We treat all information seriously and will act on what you tell us. We may check the records we already hold, or gather new information. We may speak to the child and family to help assess the situation.

The first priority for everyone is making sure that the child is safe. If extra help is needed to support a family in looking after their child safely, our service teams will all work together and plan out how best to provide this. Read more about MASH - our integrated working service.

We will make sure the child is safe, and we will get back in touch to let you know that we have taken the appropriate action.

  • Contact us if you have any concerns you would like to report: 020 8937 4300 (or call 020 8863 5250 if out of hours).

Further advice and information can be found on Brent’s Local Safeguarding Children Board’s website.