Taking Action

There are four key steps to follow to help you to identify and respond appropriately to possible abuse and/or neglect. ​

It may not always be appropriate to go through all four stages sequentially. If a child is in immediate danger or is at risk of harm, you should refer to children’s social care and/or the police. Before doing so, you should try to establish the basic facts. However, it will be the role of social workers and the police to investigate cases and make a judgement on whether there should be a statutory intervention and/or a criminal investigation.

You should record, in writing, all concerns and discussions about a child’s welfare, the decisions made and the reasons for those decisions.

Did you know?

If you think a child is in immediate danger, you should refer to children's social care and/or the police

the four step process

BEING ALERT to signs of abuse and neglect. The first step is to be alert to the signs of abuse and neglect. To have read this training programme and to understand the procedures set out by your local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements. You should also consider what training would support you in your role and what is available in your area.

QUESTIONING BEHAVIOURS - The signs of child abuse might not always be obvious and a child might not tell anyone what is happening to them. You should therefore question behaviours if something seems unusual and try to speak to the child, alone, if appropriate, to seek further information.



If a child reports, following a conversation you have initiated or otherwise, that they are being abused and neglected, you should listen to them, take their allegation seriously, and reassure them that you will take action to keep them safe. You will need to decide the most appropriate action to take, depending on the circumstances of the case, the seriousness of the child’s allegation and the local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements in place. If you are not sure please speak with Chaz and seek guidance.



You might refer directly to children’s social care and/or the police, or discuss your concerns with others and ask for help. At all times, you should explain to the child the action that you are taking. It is important to maintain confidentiality, but you should not promise that you won’t tell anyone, as you may need to do so in order to protect the child

ASKING FOR HELP Concerns about a child’s welfare can vary greatly in terms of their nature and seriousness, how they have been identified and over what duration they have arisen. If you have concerns about a child, you should ask for help.



You should discuss your concerns with your manager - Chaz, a named or designated professional or a designated member of staff.



Within a schools (both teaching and non-teaching), concerns should be reported via the schools’ or colleges’ designated safeguarding lead. The safeguarding lead will usually decide whether to make a referral to children’s social care;



For Nurseries and Early Years settings, the Early Years Foundation Stage sets out that providers should ensure that they have a practitioner who is designated to take a lead responsibility for safeguarding children who should liaise with local statutory children’s services agencies.



 All designated safeguarding officers within settings should be easy to locate on posters and notice boards around the settings.

REFERRING TO CHILDREN'S SOCIAL CARE - If, at any time, you believe that a child may be a child in need, or that a child is being harmed or is likely to be, you should refer immediately to local authority children’s social care. This referral can be made by any practitioner. If you see further signs of potential abuse and neglect, report and refer again.



When referring a child to children’s social care, you should consider and include any information you have on the child’s development needs and their parents’/carers’ ability to respond to these needs within the context of their wider family and environment.


It is important to remember that throughout the four stages, sharing information is an intrinsic part of any practitioner’s role. The decisions about how much information to share, with whom and when can have a profound impact on people’s lives. You should weigh up what might happen if the information is shared against the consequences of not sharing the information. Early sharing of information is key to providing effective early help where there are emerging problems.


At the other end of the continuum, sharing information can be essential to put in place effective child protection services. For more information on sharing information which includes a myth-busting guide, please click here.


Did you know?

Sharing information plays a critical part in the child receiving the help they need. However, you should NOT share information with everyone. This is still critical and sensitive information.

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