I’m a child or young person concerned about neglect – what can I do?
If you are under 21 and worried about your own situation
or that of another child, there are several routes open to
If you are worried about an immediate situation, call the
police in your area or dial 999.
- Every school has a teacher who is responsible for safeguarding
children. If you're not sure who that is, you can always speak to
any teacher you think will listen to you.
- If you are an older child you can call your local Social Care
department and explain the situation. They will then assess whether
they can help you and point you in other directions for help if
not. You can find your local authority online or in the local phone
book (your library will have one if you don't have one at
- You can also call Childline which is a free, 24 hour helpline for
children and young people in danger or distress. You can contact
them on the helpline: 0800 1111 or online.
- Alternatively, it might be easier for you to talk to an adult
you trust and decide what to do from there. They may have some good
advice or help you to contact the right people.
What will happen if I speak to the Social Care department?
If you are phoning with concerns about another child/young person
you can ask for your conversation to be anonymous, which means you
don't have to give your details. However, depending on what you
tell them, children's services will have to act if you or the child
concerned are in danger and anonymity cannot be guaranteed.
If you are calling about something that is happening to you
personally then you will need to give them your details to get the
help you need. This is known as a Child Protection Enquiry and is a
legal requirement under the Children Act 1989. This is in England
If you are calling about someone else under the age of 21, Social
Care may already be working with the family concerned. If not, and
they decide to act, Social Care may first of all contact people who
know the family such as a head teacher, health visitor or family
doctor. Unless it would put the child at more risk to do so, the
family will be asked for their permission to do this. Depending on
what they learn during these enquiries, Social Care would decide if
the child needs help and what action to take, if any.
Can I call one of your centres?
Yes, please do. Our staff will listen to your concerns and offer
you appropriate advice and help. The centre closest to you may run
drop-in projects you can go to, or you may be referred to your
local authority in order for them to assess the projects available.
Please look at our services map
to see if there is an
Action for Children children's centre near you. If not, there may
be children's centres run by other organisations within your local
area; contact your local authority
For more advice from other organisations, see useful