Child abuse concerns | A Guide for Practitioners

Children Services
Domestic Abuse
Planning and Intervention Skills
Safeguarding: CYP

Posted: 26 April 2019

Child abuse concerns: guide for practitioners help identify what to do if worried a child is being abused.

About this advice:

This advice is non-statutory, and has been produced to help practitioners identify child abuse and neglect and take appropriate action in response. This advice replaces the previous version of What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused, published in 2006, and complements Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) statutory guidance.

Who is this advice for?

This advice is for anyone whose work brings them into contact with children and families, including those who work in early years, social care, health, education (including schools), the police and adult services. It is relevant to those working in the statutory, voluntary or the independent sector, and applies in relation to all children and young people irrespective of whether they are living at home with their families and carers or away from home. 


  • Summary 3
  • About this advice 3
  • Who is this advice for? 3
  • Guiding principles 4
  • Understanding and identifying abuse and neglect 5
  • Physical abuse 7
  • Emotional abuse 7
  • Sexual abuse and exploitation 8
  • Neglect 9
  • Taking action 11
  • Being alert to signs of abuse and neglect 12
  • Questioning behaviours 12
  • Asking for help 13
  • Referring to children’s social care 14
  • What happens after a referral has been made to children’s social care? 16
  • Protection orders and powers 16
  • Further information 17
  • Useful resources and external organisations 17
  • Other relevant departmental advice and statutory guidance 17

Credit: © Crown copyright 2015

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