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Keeping children safe

father and daughter

We know that parents are responsible for their children’s safety. However, child protection is everyone's responsibility.

  • Social workers become involved once concern is shared.
  • Before making decisions about abuse we will carry out careful assessments.
  • On the whole, it is recognised that children / young people are best cared for by their own families.
  • We want to work in partnership with families.
  • Very few children or young people are removed from home following allegations of abuse.

Very few adults harm children deliberately and usually when harm does happen, families need support, not punishment or the removal of their children.

Social workers and other professionals get involved when parents may be unable to protect their child from harm and need some help. In some cases the Police Child Protection Unit will need to investigate with social workers to help protect children and decide whether an offence has been committed against a child or young person.

Things you should know:

  • Child abuse is not easy to recognise, prevent or stop.
  • It is rarely possible to definitely say that a child or young person has been harmed or by whom.
  • A careful assessment is needed to find out what has happened and what support and protection will best help the family.
  • As a result it can be difficult to avoid some intrusion into family life.
  • A social worker will ask questions about the family circumstances, consider the frequency and the seriousness of the incident and the effect on the child or young person.
  • All of these factors will help to decide what should happen next to support and protect the child / young person and their family.

We are all responsible for keeping children safe

Professionals are not solely responsible for protecting children. Traditionally, social workers have been expected to make sure that children and young people are safe. In order to do this well, they rely on information from parents, family, other professionals and the local community who all play an important part in identifying concerns about those close to them. This helps to make sure that they are offered support before the situation becomes far worse.

Any information you give will be treated with care. Any details including your name will not be revealed unless the child's safety requires it.

Even if you don't give your name, we can still make enquiries into the child's care and welfare. But withholding your name may make it more difficult for those looking into the concerns.

Will the child be removed from home?

Reporting concerns about a child rarely results in the child being removed from home. This is not the main aim of child protection investigations and rarely happens. Social workers can only remove children from home with a court order, having demonstrated that there is serious and immediate risk. In emergency situations the police have power to remove a child for no more than 24 hours.

Don't wait for someone else to report it, act now. If there is nothing to worry about our assessment will reveal this.

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