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What to do if a child tells you about abuse

Keeping children safe is everybody’s business - we all have a responsibility both in our private and professional lives.
Are you worried about the safety or welfare of a child?

If you think a child or young person may be in immediate danger, call 999. Otherwise contact us on 020 8314 6660 or out of hours call 020 8314 6000.

If you are unsure and would like to talk through your concerns, or would like support, you can contact the NSPCC.

Action for Children has a useful list of questions which may help you decide what action to take if you are concerned about neglect

If a child or young person tells you about abuse:

  • stay calm and be reassuring
  • find a quiet place to talk
  • believe in what you are being told
  • listen, but do not press for information
  • say that you are glad that the child told you
  • if it will help the child to cope, say that the abuser has a problem
  • say that you will do your best to protect and support the child
  • if necessary, seek medical help and contact the police or children's social care
  • if the child has told another adult, such as a teacher or school nurse, contact them.
  • acknowledge that the child may have angry, sad or even guilty feelings about what happened, but stress that the abuse was not the child's fault.
  • you may consider using the school as a resource, as the staff will have a network of agencies they work with, and be able to give you advice.