Back to The duty to report a child at risk of abuse, neglect and/ or harm

Reporting concerns about a child at risk of abuse, neglect and/or harm

Practitioners are expected to report to the relevant local authority social services department for children at risk. The relevant authority is the one in which the safeguarding concern is thought to have occurred. This may mean reporting to a local authority that is not in the same area as that in which the practitioner works.

If a practitioner is unsure which local authority to report to, they should contact their local social services department for advice.

Example: A family who are resident in one part of Wales are holidaying in a caravan park in another part of Wales. The child is taken to the local A&E with a fracture to the arm that occurred that day. The paediatrician suspects non-accidental injury and contacts the local social services in which the caravan park is located – the paediatrician has a duty to report this to the local authority in which the caravan park is located.

Contact outside of office hours

Local authorities must ensure effective arrangements are in place 24 hours a day seven days a week to allow other agencies, practitioners and members of the public to report concerns about a child at risk of harm that may require a response within and outside office hours.

The emergency duty team should be contacted out of office hours if, a decision is made by the practitioner and agency that a child is at risk.

Practitioners working outside office hours must be aware of the circumstances under which the police must be called in a safeguarding emergency.

If a practitioner is unable to contact a member of the emergency duty team and believes a child/young person is at immediate risk of harm and delay could increase this risk, they should contact the police.

Example: A young person has indicated to a youth worker their father has been sexually abusing them whenever their mother is away. She is away that night and the young person does not want to go home. The father is due to collect the young person at the end of the evening. – The practitioner must contact the out of hours service and make the report, immediately.