Covid-19: Reporting child abuse and neglect

Covid-19: Reporting child abuse and neglect

While most of the nation has gone into lockdown, there has been a concern for vulnerable children, and rightly so. In this post, we’re going to take a look at reporting child abuse and neglect in further detail. If you are concerned about the welfare or safety of a child, it is critical that you report it. Even if you’re not sure, it is best to tell professionals about your concerns so that they can investigate it. 

Who should you contact?

If you suspect child abuse, the first thing you need to do is determine who to contact. In Northern Ireland, you should get in touch with the Gateway Services for Children’s Social Work at the Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust in the location the child lives. You should do this if you think a child is likely to suffer harm, has been harmed in any way, or is being abused. You can also get in touch with the NSPCC via their confidential and free 24-hour helpline service. 

What will you be asked?

When you get in touch with the right department, you are going to be asked a number of different questions. This includes where the child lives and your concerns. If you are able to, you should also provide the person you are speaking to with details regarding the child’s family or personal details, as well as information about who cares for them. Of course, we understand that you may not know this information. All calls about the concerns regarding the safety of a child are treated in confidence and taken very seriously. Whether or not you want to give your name is completely up to you. Social services should then investigate your concerns in a timely manner, ensuring the right course of action is taken so that the child is protected. 

Child Protection disclosure arrangements

If your concerns are because you feel that someone has access to a child who shouldn’t – because they are a risk – then you can get in touch with the police and find out whether the person in question has a criminal record for violent or sexual offenses. In order to apply, please do not call the police station directly. There is a form that needs to be completed. You can download this form on the PSNI website. Make sure you download it, print it, fill it in, and then take it to the police station in person. You will need acceptable photographic identification to prove your identity once at the police station, for instance, an electoral ID card, driving licence, or passport. 

Hopefully, you now have an understanding of the steps that you need to take when reporting child abuse and neglect. There is no denying that this is something we should all be careful about over the coming months, as some children may be forced to stay at home in abusive families whereby they have no escape in the form of school and other activities. Should you suspect any form of neglect or child abuse, it is important to report it. 
At McPartland & Sons Solicitors, we are fully committed to you throughout your dealings with us, and treat each client on a case by case basis so that you get tailored legal advice for whatever family law issue you need assistance with.  Our solicitors in Lurgan and Lisburn are dedicated to providing you with first class legal assistance, and have many years of experience in negotiating agreements and settlements to the satisfaction of our clients. For more information, visit our contact us page.