West Berkshire Council

Recognising and Reporting Abuse

This information is for professionals

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.

WORRIED ABOUT A CHILD OR YOUNG PERSON? REPORT YOUR CONCERNS NOW.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse takes different forms. It may be physical, emotional, sexual or neglect. These are explained in more detail in pdf icon Categories of Registration [204kb]. Bullying and domestic violence are also forms of abuse.

What are the 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 he or she:

- has bruises or injuries that are unexplained

- appears afraid of parents or carers

- mentions being left alone in unsafe situations

- is growing up in a home where there is domestic violence

- displays sexual behaviour or knowledge that is unusual for their age

- is dirty, hungry or poorly dressed

- is self-harming

- suddenly has money or expensive gifts

You can find a more complete guide to signs of abuse in the NSPCC (2014) Recognising signs of abuse at different stages of a child's development.

Working together to safeguard children

Section 13 of the Children Act 2004 requires each local authority to establish a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) for their area. West Berkshire LSCB is made up of organisations which work with children and young people. The LSCB is the key mechanism for agreeing how local services and professionals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The LSCB website offers information for both professionals and families and explains the child protection procedures in West Berkshire.