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When to be concerned about a child

young girl pink to facing forward

There are a variety of ways concerns about a child can come to light.

These include:

  • a child telling you or someone about an experience
  • observation of changes in a child's behaviour and/or presentation
  • concerns expressed by a third party - for example, neighbour, other child, parent
  • witnessing an incident involving the child and/or parents

    If a Child Discloses  

    If a child appears to be telling you about an abusive experience it is important to listen carefully to what the child is saying.

    If it is not your job to question the child in detail about their alleged experiences; do not pry or ask unnecessary questions.  However, you may have to clarify with the child what they are saying to ensure you fully understand what you are being told.

    Observations of a Child's Behaviour    
     
    Children can communicate their experiences without words.  A child may become withdrawn or upset.  You may notice a deterioration in their physical appearance or health.

    While it is important that we do not leap to conclusions about the cause of the changes, you should record and pass on your concerns to your line manager.

    Concerns from a Third Party  

    Concerns about a child's welfare may be raised by someone other than the child themselves.

    Other children may wish to talk to you because they are worried about a friend or inadvertently allude to something which raises your concern.

    In all of the above scenarios, the concerns should be recorded and passed on immediately.

    Witnessing an Incident  

    There may be times when you witness an incident that raises concerns about a child's welfare.

    In such instances consideration must be given to the immediate safety of the child.  You should seek immediate assistance and the Police may need to be contacted to prevent harm to the child.