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Care Certificate Standards Guide » Care Certificate Standard 11 – Safeguarding Children

After reading the Care Certificate standard 11 – safeguarding children, you should be able to:

  • Have more understanding on the importance of safeguarding children
  • Have more awareness on the types of abuse and the possible signs and symptoms
  • Have understanding on how to make a referral.


The Care Certificate Standards detail what you must achieve and be assessed against to meet these learning outcomes.

If you have any concerns or queries, you should discuss these with your employer and/or assessor.

What is safeguarding?

The Care Act 2014 defines safeguarding as “protecting an adult’s (or child’s) right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.” This means that in general terms, safeguarding aims to protect vulnerable adults and children from abuse and neglect in all circumstances. Safeguarding involves putting processes into place to ensure that vulnerable people are not subject to harm, abuse or exploitation.

Safeguarding also means that individuals (including children) are adequately supported to access care and support where this is needed so that they are able to stay well and maintain a high quality of life. This is achieved by different organisations working successfully together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect.

Safeguarding aims to balance the right to be safe with the right of the individual to make informed choices and to have their well-being promoted at all times.

In overall terms, safeguarding (including child protection) is the responsibility of everyone not just the people who are directly involved in working with children. Safeguarding children means that they are protected from harm using appropriate measures.

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Child protection in England

In England, the Department for Education is responsible specifically for child protection. It sets out policy, legislation and statutory guidance on how the system for protecting children should work.

In 2018, changes were made at local levels where the old safeguarding children’s boards were replaced by ‘safeguarding partners’ who are responsible for child protection, policy, procedures and guidance.

Three statutory safeguarding partners lead the local safeguarding arrangements:

  • The local authority – who must follow up a complaint or concern about child abuse and get involved with a family where child abuse is suspected
  • The clinical commissioning group – who are responsible for working together to provide the best outcome for the child or children involved
  • The police – who must follow up complaints about concerns regarding a child and report concerns to the local authority.


Together with other agencies, these three must coordinate and ensure the effectiveness of safeguarding procedures to protect and promote the welfare of children, which includes any form of arrangement that will support them and identify when they may be at risk of harm.

Standard 11 Care Certificate Safeguarding Children

Child protection in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Executive through the Department of Health, is responsible for child protection. They set out policy, legislation and statutory guidance for how the child protection system works.

The Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland coordinates the work of those responsible for safeguarding to ensure the protection and the promotion of welfare of children.

The Board includes representatives from:

  • Healthcare
  • Social care
  • The police
  • The probation board
  • Youth justice
  • Education
  • District councils
  • The NSPCC.


The Board is also responsible for the development of policies and procedures to improve how these agencies should work together.

Child protection in Wales

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 provides the legal framework for service provision in Wales.

At a local level, regional safeguarding children boards coordinate and ensure the effectiveness of work, which sets out to protect children and promote their welfare. It is also responsible for local child protection policy, procedure and guidance.

Boards include representatives from the following:

  • The local authority
  • Chief officer of police
  • Local health board
  • NHS Trust
  • The provider of probation services that fall within the local safeguarding board area.
Care Certificate Standard 11

Child protection in Scotland

The Scottish Government is responsible for child protection in Scotland. It sets out legislation and statutory guidance on how the child protection system should work.

Child Protection Committees are responsible for multi-agency child protection and within each local authority, the Committees work with local agencies such as children’s social work, health services and the police to provide protection to children against abuse.

Child abuse statistics

Did you know…

  • 1 in 10 children have experienced neglect
  • Around 1 in 5 children have been exposed to domestic violence
  • 1 in 5 teenagers have been physically abused by a girlfriend or boyfriend
  • 1 in 20 children in the UK have experienced sexual abuse
  • 1 in 4 children have been physically abused

What are the Risk factors that make children more susceptible to abuse?

Some of the risk factors that make children more susceptible to abuse include:

  • Disability: a child who is disabled is significantly more likely to experience abuse than a child who is not. This may be because they are less able to report what is happening to them and less able to defend themselves against physical and sexual abuse. Some signs of abuse are sometimes mistaken for symptoms of the disability and for this reason, may not be identified and acted on. Children who have learning disabilities may not understand what is happening and may be easier to convince that what is happening is not wrong; some abusers are able to convince children that what they are doing is normal.
  • Isolation: children who are isolated, perhaps due to disability or mental health difficulties are more susceptible to abuse as they have less opportunity to report abuse. Being isolated means that a child is on their own more often and this increases the opportunities for an abuser to be alone with them.
  • Being in the care system (looked after children): a child who is in a local authority’s care system may already have been subject to abuse, making the possibility of this happening again more likely. Children who are looked after may have problems with confidence and self-esteem and may live with mental health difficulties that have been exacerbated by the reasons why they have been taken into care.
  • Has a parent who has substance or alcohol misuse issues: not all parents who drink alcohol and/or take drugs will harm their children but children who live with parents who have substance misuse issues are at more risk of both abuse and neglect. This may be because the effects of substance misuse can leave parents unable to care for their children both on a practical and an emotional level, meaning that their needs are unmet.
Safeguarding Children Standard 11 Care Certificate

The different Legislation and policies surrounding children’s rights, safety, and protection

Legislation and policy exist to ensure that children have rights and that these rights are upheld so that they can live their life free from abuse, harm and exploitation. Much of the legislation and policy protects both children and adults but some is specific to children, particularly that which is related to local authorities who have a duty to ensure that measures are in place to protect children from abuse and to act on any suspicions or reports of abuse.

Legislation can be complex and difficult to understand so it is important that if a child is identified as being at risk of harm that they are enabled to exercise their rights by agencies and professionals who will support them to keep them safe and ensure the best outcome possible for them both in the short and long terms.

The Children Act 2004

This Act ensures that local authorities and professionals work in an appropriate way with children, young people and their families to promote child safety and protection.

The main principles of the Act maintain that:

  • Local authorities have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their local area who are identified as being in need
  • Local authorities must assess a child’s needs and promote the upbringing of children by their own families, if it is safe for them to do so
  • Care and supervision orders must be in place to protect the safety and welfare of children who have been identified as being at risk.
  • The local authority must provide accommodation for any child in their local area of they do not have a parent or guardian or if they have been abandoned or their parent or guardian can no longer house them.

Equality Act (2010)

The Equality Act 2010 aims to protect people or groups of people who have one or more ‘protected characteristic’. These protected characteristics are features of people’s lives upon which discrimination, in the UK is now illegal.

The protected characteristics listed in the Act are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Sex
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion and belief.


This means that equal and fair treatment to everyone must be applied in a variety of aspects of everyday life including work, leisure and health and social care.

It stipulates the following with regards to how individuals should be treated equally and fairly:

  • Every individual has the right to be treated equally and fairly and not be discriminated against regardless of any ‘protected characteristic’.
  • Every individual has the right to be treated with respect and dignity.
  • Health services have a duty to ensure that services are fair and meet the needs of everyone, regardless of their background or current circumstances.

GDPR (2018)

In line with GDPR regulations, children have specific protection in terms of their personal data as they are less likely to be aware of the risks, consequences and safeguards in relation to how data about them is processed.

It also maintains that any information given to a child or communicated with them must be in a clear style and language which is easy for them to understand.

In a change from previous data protection laws, GDPR states where a child asks a child to provide a service (such as downloading an app or a game online), for which payment would normally be made, a parent must give consent unless the child is 16-years old or over.

Any information held about children is subject to the principles of GDPR, which states that it must be:

  • Lawful, fair and transparent
  • Used for its purpose only
  • Proportionate to need
  • Accurate
  • Stored correctly and discarded when no longer needed
  • Confidential.

Children and Families Act 2014

This Act aims to ensure that greater protection is available for children who have been classed as vulnerable.

It includes children who may be in foster care and those who are looked after or have additional needs. The Act also ensures that an Education, Health and Care Plan is produced for any child who has been identified as having additional needs.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1992)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) underpins many pieces of legislation that relate to the roles of individuals who work with children, such as the Children Act (2004) and the Equality Act 2010.

The UNCRC highlights the importance of treating every child as a unique person, which helps to ensure that all of their needs are met in a way that is specific to them, enabling them to have a high quality of life.

The Human Rights Act (1998)

Human rights within the United Kingdom are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998, which means that if an individual believes that their human rights have been breached, they can take action against this in a court of law.

Examples of rights that are contained within the Act, known as ‘Articles’ are:

  • The right to freedom from torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment
  • The right to liberty and security
  • The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • The right to freedom of expression
  • The right of access to an education.


Although usually associated with adults, this Act provides equal rights to children who are also protected by its content.

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)

This guidance sets out details of the local authority’s responsibility regarding the protection, safeguarding and welfare of all children. It also sets out details regarding how organisations and individuals should work together when conducting assessments of children.

The key principles from the legislation are:

  • Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility: for services to be effective each professional and organisation should play their full part
  • A child-centred approach: for services to be effective they should be based on a clear understanding of the needs and views of children.

The Children and Social Work Act 2017

This Act intends to improve support for looked after children and care givers, as well as promoting the welfare and safeguarding of children. It sets out corporate parenting principles for the local authority to be the ‘best parent it can be’ to children who are in its care.

Local authorities are, under this Act, obliged to publish their support offer to care givers and promote any educational attainment of children who have been adopted or placed in long-term care arrangements.

Children in need

Children in need are defined by law as children who are aged under 18 and who meet the following criteria:

  • Need local authority services to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development
  • Need local authority services to prevent significant or further harm to health or development
  • Are disabled.


The local authority is obliged to keep a register of children who have disabilities in its area but does not have to keep a register of all children who have been identified as being in need.

Children in need are a significant part of any local authority’s obligations to protect and promote the welfare of children and to do this, they must work together with families to provide services that will enable children to remain with their family in any instance where it is safe for them to do so.

Significant harm

The Children Act introduced the concept of significant harm, which is the time at which there should be compulsory intervention in family life, which are in the best interests of the children involved.

Significant harm means that when an intervention takes place, consideration has been given to the following:

  • The severity of ill treatment and the degree of harm a child is experiencing
  • The duration and frequency of abuse and neglect
  • The harm or likelihood of harm that is attributable to lack of adequate parental care or control
  • The extent to which abuse and neglect is premeditated.


Sometimes a single event may constitute significant harm, such as a violent attack on a child but more often it is a chain of events that are considered serious enough to interrupt, change or damage the child’s physical and psychological development.

The definition of abuse

The actual definition of abuse maintains that it is “persistently treating someone with cruelty or violence in one or more ways especially regularly or repeatedly.” (

Sadly, abuse of children is common, with recent findings by the NSPCC noting that there have been increases in police-recorded child abuse offences across the UK and an increased number of children on child protection plans and registers over the last decade.

When working with children, it is essential that anyone is able to spot the signs, symptoms and behaviours that may indicate that abuse is taking place. This can be difficult however because some children will have been told to ‘act like nothing is happening’ and will go to great lengths to conceal any sort of physical evidence of abuse if they are old enough and have the awareness of how to do this.

Younger children may not be aware that abuse is taking place and, at younger ages, children are more likely to believe an abuser’s threats of what they will do if the abuse is revealed.

Neglect (including self-neglect)

A passive form of abuse in which the perpetrator is responsible to provide care, for someone, who is unable to care for oneself, but fails to provide adequate care to meet their needs. Neglect may include failing to provide sufficient supervision, nourishment, medical care or other needs.

Self-neglect occurs when individuals are unable to maintain their own personal hygiene or unable to access basic resources such as food, water and shelter.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Constant hunger
  • Unattended medical issues
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Inappropriate clothing for the weather
  • Frequent illness
  • Being unsupervised for long periods with no explanation
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Low self-esteem
  • Failure to ensure that medication is taken
  • Living in unsafe conditions.
Care Certificate 11 Safeguarding Children Care

Physical abuse

Contact intended to cause feelings of intimidation, injury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm. Examples include hitting, slapping, pushing and restraining.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Multiple bruises
  • Fractures and dislocations
  • Scratches and cuts
  • Loss of clumps of hair
  • Black eyes or bruised ears
  • Scalds or burns
  • A history of unexplained minor falls or accidental poisonings
  • Explanations which are not consistent with injuries
  • Deterioration of health with no obvious cause
  • Withdrawal and mood changes
  • Reluctance for the individual to be with specific people
  • Carers not allowing access to the individual.

Emotional abuse

Threats or actions to cause mental or physical harm, humiliation or isolation. Emotional abuse can include threatening an individual or trying to coerce them through harassment, verbal abuse or isolation.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Reluctance for the individual to be with specific people
  • Continual references to the individual in a derogatory way by others
  • Being overly affectionate to strangers
  • Lack of confidence
  • Severe anxiety
  • Aggression towards others
  • Individual not allowed to speak their opinion
  • Disturbed sleep patterns.
Standard 11 of the Care Certificate Safeguarding Children

Sexual abuse

The forcing of undesired sexual behaviour by one person upon another. This can be direct abuse of the other person such as rape or sexual touching or by making someone watch images of a sexual nature.

Sexual abuse comes about when sexual acts have not been consented to or where an adult has been pressured into them.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Bruises around the genital area
  • Bite marks or scratches
  • Recurrent sexually transmitted infections
  • Blood in underwear
  • Abdominal pain that has no apparent cause
  • Pregnancy
  • Provocative and inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • Self-harming
  • Aggression towards others
  • Refusal to undress in front of others
  • Reluctance for the individual to be with specific people
  • Sexual abuse of others.

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is any type of behaviour that is controlling, violent, bullying or threatening between people in a relationship.

Domestic abuse also involves ‘honour-based’ violence where individuals are targeted because they have brought shame to a family or they have violated cultural or religious rules.

Children living in domestic abuse households can be affected.

The signs and symptoms include:

  • Problems in school or trouble learning
  • Tantrums
  • Withdrawal
  • Seeming afraid to displease their parents
  • Low confidence and self esteem
  • Significant changes in personality.
Safeguarding Child Standard 11 Care Certificate


Repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological aggressive behaviour by a person or group directed towards a less powerful person or group that is intended to cause harm, distress or fear.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Withdrawal
  • Reluctance to be with certain individuals
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Loss of or destroyed valuables
  • Aggression towards others
  • Being afraid to voice opinion
  • Lowering of confidence and self-esteem.

Munchausen syndrome by proxy (fabricated or induced illness – FII)

This form of abuse is serious but quite rare. It occurs when a parent or carer (most often a child’s biological mother) exaggerates or deliberately causes the symptoms of illness in the child.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Attempting to persuade healthcare professionals that their child is ill when it is evident that they are perfectly healthy
  • Exaggerating or lying about symptoms
  • Manipulating test results, such as putting sugar in a urine test to suggest a child has diabetes
  • Deliberate inducement of symptoms, such as poisoning a child
  • Repeated hospitalisation with strange symptoms.
Children Being Safeguarded

Female genital mutilation (FGM)

FGM is the partial or total removal of female genitalia, through cutting, injuring or changing when there is no medical reason to do so.

It is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before the onset of puberty. It is illegal in the UK.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Difficulties with urination
  • Constant pain
  • Incontinence
  • Frequent vaginal, pelvic or urinary infections
  • Menstrual problems
  • Kidney damage
  • Cysts and abscesses
  • Discomfort when sitting or standing
  • Appearing anxious or depressed
  • Reluctance to undress or undergo medical examinations
  • Unusual absences from school or college.

Who might be an abuser?

It is possible that anyone can become an abuser but some factors do increase the likelihood of this taking place. It is however important to note that just because someone may have an increased risk of becoming abusive, this does not mean that it is inevitable and this should never be assumed, based solely on the factors that follow.

  • Someone who has experienced abuse themselves: although this is not the case for all people who have experienced abuse, a cycle of abuse is thought to come about when children have been exposed to abuse either directly or through witnessing it, such as children living in a household where domestic violence is prevalent.
  • A carer: being a carer can be an extremely challenging role and, in some circumstances, carers may resort to abuse as a means of communicating their distress. Carers may be resentful if they have been forced into a caring role and this may make them hostile to the individual for whom they are providing care. Children who have complex needs and disabilities are much more susceptible to abuse than those who do not.
  • A substance misuser: although people who misuse substances are vulnerable to abuse themselves, the loss of control experienced when under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol may make them more likely to be abusive.
  • Someone living with a serious mental illness: as with substance misuse, the experience of a mental illness can mean that someone becomes more likely to be abused but may also be more likely to be abusive. Mental illness can mean that people are not in full control of their behaviour or may not fully understand its consequences.
  • Someone undergoing significant stress: anyone undergoing stress is more likely to be agitated and possibly aggressive because of how they are feeling. This can mean that they are less able to cope with the behaviour of other people, such as when someone is living with a child who has autism and whose behaviour is challenging.

Safeguarding children with disabilities

Available evidence around child abuse suggests that children who have disabilities are at increased risk of abuse and that if a child has multiple disabilities that they are more vulnerable to both abuse and neglect. It has also been suggested that children with disabilities are significantly less likely to be consulted when routine assessments (such as a single assessment) take place.

Reasons why children with disabilities are especially vulnerable to abuse

Many factors can make a child more vulnerable to abuse when they live with disabilities, which include:

  • Having fewer outside contacts
  • Receiving intimate care
  • Being unable to recognise abuse
  • Being fearful of complaining and losing services already being provided
  • Being less able to defend themselves
  • Depending on carers
  • Having problems with communication
  • Living away from home
  • Having abusers who believe they are less likely to be found out
  • Signs of abuse being misinterpreted as signs of the disability.


Safeguards for children with disabilities

The safeguards for children with disabilities should be the same as for all other children but with a heightened level of awareness to the higher risks of harm that they are exposed to. It is good practice to try and enable children and their families to employ their own safeguarding strategies in order for them to be able to increase independence and therefore reduce dependence on others.

Additional safeguarding measures for children with disabilities should:

  • Be able to make known their wishes and feelings in respect of the services that they receive
  • Be able to receive appropriate levels of education including that about relationships and personal care
  • Be enabled to raise concerns where they exist and enable them to communicate in their preferred way with adults
  • Ensure that all agencies who provide services are committed to understanding the safety and welfare of the children in their care
  • Develop the support services that children and their families need.


Any concerns about a child with a disability should be acted on in the same way as for another child and the same thresholds of action apply as well.

Responding to abuse

It can be extremely difficult for some children to speak out about the abuse that they are experiencing; some children may not report abuse for many months or even years after it has started.

Even if a child cannot verbalise that something is happening to them, there may be other indicators that abuse is taking place and those people who work with children need to be able to recognise the signs of this and know how to respond appropriately.

All about disclosures?

Disclosure is the process by which a child will let someone know that abuse is taking place. This may not happen all in one go and may be a slow process that takes place over a long period of time.

Children may disclose abuse in one or more of several different methods, each of which is likely to be very difficult for them and so when working with children, it is important to know how to support a child through what is likely to be a distressing time.

  • Direct disclosure: this is a specific statement made by a child about the abuse that is happening to them.
  • Indirect disclosure: one or more ambiguous statements, which imply that something is wrong.
  • Behavioural disclosure: deliberate or inadvertent behaviour that indicates that something is wrong.
  • Non-verbal disclosure: writing letters, drawing pictures or trying to communicate in any other way than verbally to let someone know that something is wrong.


Sometimes, a partial disclosure of abuse will take place but this does not mean that it should be taken less seriously than a full disclosure.

Barriers to disclosure

Often children are reluctant to speak up about what is happening to them because they face a barrier to disclosing information, which may be one or more of the following:

  • They fear that no one will believe them
  • They are embarrassed to say what is happening to them (especially in cases of sexual abuse)
  • They worry that the perpetrator will find out
  • They have been threatened by the perpetrator
  • They feel that they cannot trust anyone enough to tell them
  • They fear what the consequences might be of speaking up
  • They worry that they will cause trouble and make things worse
  • They don’t understand that they can speak to someone and get help.


Responding to disclosures

The NSPCC recommends several steps to be taken when a child makes a disclosure of abuse:

  • Listen carefully – the person taking the disclosure should not interrupt the child and should never ask leading questions, which can affect the outcome of any future legal proceedings. There should also never be a reaction from the receiver of the disclosure as this may cause the child to stop speaking or to say that they were joking or making the information up.
  • Reassure the child – let them know that they have done the right thing and that what is happening to (or has happened to) them is not their fault.
  • Let the child know they are being taken seriously – often children worry that no one will believe them. A reassurance that they are being taken seriously can be of great comfort and may enable them to speak more about their experience.
  • Do not contact the alleged abuser: to do this can put a child at even greater risk of harm.
  • Explain what will happen next: children will be further reassured by knowing what will happen next and that support will be put into place for them as quickly as possible.
  • Never tell the child that the information will be kept a secret: children must be told that the information has to be passed on to keep them safe.


Recording concerns and disclosures

Any concerns and details from a disclosure must be accurate and as detailed as possible. These will likely need to be shared with several different professionals and agencies and may be referred to as evidence if a case of abuse goes to court.

Details that are fundamental when recording concerns include:

  • The child’s name, age and address (if known)
  • Exactly what the child said in their own words
  • Any information that has been given about the alleged abuser.


Recording concerns and disclosures

If there is evidence of physical abuse on the child’s body, a body map can be used to identify where this is and what colour the injuries are.

Details should also be given about the circumstances of the disclosure and whether or not anyone else was present at the time that the disclosure was made.

Information should be signed and dated and always written in pen so that none of it can be amended or removed at a later time. Organisations will have procedures in place that dictate how written reports should be made and most will likely have a specific form that needs to be completed in order to capture all of the information that is needed.

The information should then be passed to the relevant person as quickly as possible and in a work setting, the employee is responsible for knowing who this person is, in line with their setting’s safeguarding policies and procedures.

Sharing information

When information is shared between professionals and other agencies, it better enables everyone involved to build a clearer picture of the child’s life and therefore a better opportunity to assess the risks that are presented to them.

However, sharing information is not always appropriate, as to do so could put the child at greater risk of harm.

The times when sharing is appropriate include:

  • When a family will benefit from additional support
  • When a family has requested additional support
  • When a court requires information to be shared
  • When another agency has permission for information to be shared
  • If there is concern that a child (or another member of their family) is at risk of harm
  • If a crime has been committed or is about to be committed within a family (this includes possible acts of terrorism or radicalisation).


Not all information should be shared if this is not necessary and not all agencies and professionals involved will need to know all information. An informed decision about who to share with and what to share should be made by the people involved.

How to report a concern (also known as making a ‘safeguarding referral’)

The ways in which a concern will be reported depend on the situation in which the suspicions of abuse or disclosures of abuse come about. For example, in settings where children are present such as a school, there will be designated procedures to follow but where the concern is from a general member of the public, there will be no formal procedure by the person who is reporting the concern.

In any instance, a referral that concerns a child’s safety must be taken seriously; failure to do so would not only be unlawful but it may put a child in danger and, in extreme circumstances, their life may be put at risk as a consequence.

Suspicions and disclosures where there is a designated safeguarding lead

In a setting where there is a designated safeguarding lead, the following would apply when reporting a concern:

  • Calling 999 if the child is in immediate danger
  • Following the setting’s safeguarding policies and procedures as soon as possible if the danger is not imminent. The policies will state who the safeguarding lead is and who concerns should be reported to.
  • Contacting the local child protection services who will be those which are in the setting’s local authority, where the local authority designated officer (LADO) will take action.


Settings where there will be a designated safeguarding lead include:

  • Nurseries
  • Schools and other educational settings
  • Healthcare settings (such as GP surgeries and hospitals)
  • Social care settings (such as a women’s refuge where children may be present).


Employees are required to know who their safeguarding lead is, in the instance that a safeguarding referral needs to be made.

Suspicions of abuse by the general public

Even without any form of disclosure, any person can report a suspicion of abuse although some people may not know who they should report their concerns to.

A concern may be told to:

  • Midwife
  • Health visitor
  • GP
  • Teacher
  • Social worker
  • Sports coach
  • Police officer.


The information taken by any of these professionals will then go via the channel outlined in the previous section.

If a member of the public knows that they can directly contact their local authority about suspicions of abuse, they should do so directly and be sure to give as much information as they can:

  • Name
  • Age (if known)
  • Address (if known)
  • Why there are suspicions of abuse
  • Information about an alleged perpetrator.


The person who is reporting the alleged abuse will be asked for their identity but they do not have to reveal who they are. Some people will not want to do this for fear of the repercussions of others finding out that they have reported concerns.

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