How can child abuse be reported?

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We all have a part to play in preventing the abuse of children. If you are concerned for a child you know, it is important that you report your suspicions.

There are a number of ways to report child abuse. You can contact social services, the police or speak to a doctor, nurse, teacher or community worker.

If you are an adult and worried about a child you can call the 24 hour NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. If you are a child or young person you can also ring Childline on 0800 1111.

What they would like to know

The agency you report to will ask you for as much information as possible. The kind of thing they might want to know is:

  • Why you are concerned?
  • Is the child in immediate danger? 
  • Are there other children who may be at risk? 
  • Child’s name, age, date of birth and address.
  • Names of any adults who have care of the child.
  • Who you think has harmed, or might harm, the child and when it may have happened?

What happens next?

If you report to social services, they will make enquiries and decide if the child needs protection and what needs to be done. Their enquiries could involve interviews, family visits and/or medical examinations. Usually they will tell the parents they are making enquiries. They will discuss almost all reports with the police to see what information the police have.

After their enquiries social services, in consultation with the police, may suggest further action if they believe a child is at risk. Action may continue to a lesser extent if the allegation is one of concern, i.e. neglect etc.

Further action could include:

  • Police investigation.
  • Placing a child in care.
  • Keeping the child at home but under the supervision of the local authority or a probation officer. This means the family will get help and support. 
  • Putting the child on the child protection register.
  • The police always investigate possible cases of child abuse which are reported to them. If the child is under 16, they will always consult with social services.

In emergency situations the police can remove a child from home and take them into police protection for up to 72 hours.

Contact Numbers

  • If you are a child or young person call Childline on 0800 1111.
  • Crimestoppers: call 0800 555 111.
  • Police Scotland: call 101 (or in an emergency 999).
  • ParentLine Scotland: call 0800 028 2233 or email: parentlinescotland@children1st.org.uk. ParentLine's opening hours are from 9am - 9pm Monday to Friday.
  • NSPCC: If you are an adult and worried about a child you can call the 24 hour NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.

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Child Sexual Exploitation

The sexual exploitation of children is child abuse and any child or young person, regardless of gender, ethnicity, family background or sexual orientation, may experience this kind of exploitation.

There are children who may be deemed more at risk due to circumstances i.e.:

  • A history of abuse, neglect and/or disadvantage
  • Being looked after, or formerly looked after
  • Disrupted family life, including family breakdown, domestic violence and/or problematic parenting
  • Disengagement from education and isolation from other support mechanisms
  • Going missing from home or care environments
  • Drug and alcohol misuse
  • Homelessness
  • Poor health and wellbeing, social isolation, bullying or low self-esteem

What are the signs

The following are indicators of CSE, this list is not exhaustive but might help with spotting the signs of a victim:

  • Staying out late or episodes of being missing overnight or longer
  • Multiple callers (unknown adults/older young people)
  • Evidence of/ suspicion of physical or sexual assault disclosure of assault followed by withdrawal of a reported incident
  • Unplanned pregnancy and/or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
  • Peers involved in sexual exploitation
  • Drugs/alcohol misuse
  • Isolation from peers/social networks
  • Exclusion or unexplained absences from school or college
  • Relationships with controlling adults
  • Entering/leaving vehicles driven by unknown adults
  • Unexplained amounts of money, expensive clothing or other items
  • Frequenting areas known for adult prostitution
  • Children under 13 years asking for sexual health advice
  • Concerning use of the internet/mobile phone

For more information on spotting the signs visit csethesigns.scot

Got info – report it

If you are a child or young person call Childline on 0800 1111.

  • Crimestoppers: call 0800 555 111.
  • Police Scotland: call 101 (or in an emergency 999).
  • ParentLine Scotland: call 0800 028 2233 or email: parentlinescotland@children1st.org.uk. ParentLine's opening hours are from 9am-10pm (Mon-Fri) and 12 noon-8pm at weekends.
  • NSPCC: If you are an adult and worried about a child you can call the 24 hour NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.

 

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