Advice from the NSPCC
Abuse is one of the very worst things that can ever happen to a child. But it's not always easy to pick up the signs. And a child might not even know that what's happening is wrong.
You might have noticed bruises on a child that seem concerning, but you're not sure they're being abused. Or, you might be worried a child is being neglected because you often hear them crying in distress.
By being prepared, and knowing what help is available, you can make a real difference to a child's safety and wellbeing. Below you can find support and advice on what to do if you think a child's being abused.
If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, contact our professional counsellors 24/7 for help, advice and support.
What to do if you're not sure
If you're in a situation where you suspect abuse of a child but they haven't actually said anything to you, there are a number of steps you can take.
- Continue to talk to the child
- Most children who are being abused find it very difficult to talk about it. By having ongoing conversations, the time may come when they're ready to talk.
- Keep a diary
- This is a good way to keep a note of your concerns and the way your child is behaving. It can also help to spot patterns of behaviour.
- Talk to the child's teacher or health visitor
- The professionals who come into contact with the child may also have noticed them acting unusually.
- Get someone else's perspective
- Talk about your worries with a trusted friend or family member or with an NSPCC helpline counsellor. Ask what they think about your concerns.
- Talk through your worries
- You can also report your worries to our helpline on 0808 800 5000. You don't have to give your name if you'd prefer to remain anonymous.
If you suspect that someone is abusing a child, reporting the abuse may not be something you want to consider. Especially if the alleged abuser is a friend or family member.
Your initial reaction may be to dismiss it or try to prove it's not true. But it's vital that you report your concerns if you feel a child's in danger. By not reporting your concerns it could mean that the abuse will continue.