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Recognising and Reporting Child Abuse

Information for professionals about reporting child abuse and concerns

Worried about a child or young person? Report your concerns now.

When should I report a concern about a child?

All adults share the responsibility to keep children safe. If you think a child or young person is suffering harm, or is at risk of harm, you should report it.

Early help for children can break the cycle of abuse and improve the chances of good outcomes for the child and the family.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse takes different forms. It may be physical, emotional, sexual or neglect. These are explained in more detail in the Icon for pdf Categories of Registration for abuse and neglect [516KB] .

Bullying and domestic violence are also forms of abuse.

Signs of abuse

There are many different ways in which a child's behaviour or circumstances might lead you to think that the child is experiencing some form of abuse. For example, a child may be suffering abuse if they:

  • have bruises or injuries that are unexplained
  • appear afraid of parents or carers
  • mention being left alone in unsafe situations
  • are growing up in a home where there is domestic violence
  • display sexual behaviour or knowledge that is unusual for their age
  • are dirty, hungry or poorly dressed
  • are self-harming
  • suddenly have money or expensive gifts

You can find a more complete guide to signs of abuse in the NSPCC Spotting the signs of child abuse webpage.

Working together to safeguard children

Section 13 of the Children Act 2004 requires each local authority to establish a local Safeguarding Children Board for their area. In West Berkshire, this is the Berkshire West Safeguarding Children Partnership (BWSCP), and it is made up of organisations which work with children and young people.

The Berkshire West Safeguarding Children Partnership is the key mechanism for agreeing how local services and professionals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The BWSCP website offers information for both professionals and families and explains the child protection procedures in West Berkshire.

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