Reporting Safeguarding Concerns: How to Protect Children

We’re all responsible for looking after children’s welfare. We’ve put together a quick guide on reporting safeguarding concerns with regard to children.

Reporting safeguarding concerns


Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults is of the utmost importance, and is at the heart of what the DBS aims to do.

Each of the UK’s four nations has its own legislation and guidance in place to identify children who are at risk, and take action to protect them.

Over 49,000 children were identified as needing protection from abuse last year in England, and over 390,000 children received support from children’s services.

Identifying a child protection issue

To understand what constitutes a child protection issue, we need to define what constitutes child abuse.

The Children’s Society defines it as:

  • A deliberate act of ill-treatment that can harm or is likely to harm a child or young person’s safety, well-being and development. Abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional.
  • Neglect of a child or young person, which can be defined as failing to provide or secure for a child or young person the basic needs of physical safety and well-being.

Reporting safeguarding concerns

If you suspect a child is in need of protection from abuse, or is at risk of abuse, you can report your concerns in one of the following ways:

  • To the local authority child protection team for the area the child lives in. You can find local authority contact information on
  • Via your organisation’s child protection procedure. If you work or volunteer with children, the organisation you work for should have guidance in place on reporting safeguarding concerns.
  • Through the NSPCC’s helpline, which provides advice and support for those who feel their child protection concern cannot be addressed by their employer. You can contact the helpline anonymously on 0800 028 0285.
  • To the local police. If you think a child is in immediate danger, call 999.

What happens following a report?

When a child protection concern is reported to the police or NSPCC, it will usually be transferred to the child protection team.

Following the report, the child protection team will first assess whether the child is at immediate risk of danger and take appropriate action if necessary.

If the child isn’t in immediate danger, the child protection team will investigate the child’s needs and risk of harm, and act accordingly.

Reporting safeguarding concerns: a summary

This blog gives a brief overview on identifying and reporting safeguarding concerns with regard to children.

For more detailed information, head to the NSPCC’s website.

DBS checks are a key part of safeguarding children. If your organisation carries out DBS checks on its employees, we can help. Get started now with our simple online system.