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

When to contact the police

If a member of the public or a [practitioner]](#tooltip) has reasonable cause to suspect that a child, including an unborn child, is at risk the report must be made as soon as possible to the local authority. However, if there are immediate concerns about a child’s safety or a criminal offence against a child, they must contact the emergency services without delay to protect the child/children from the risk of serious harm.

Example: A health visitor calls at a flat and a child, who says they are four years old, comes to the door and tells the health visitor she is on her own with her baby sister and does not know when mummy and daddy will be back. – the Health Visitor must immediately contact the police

If in doubt as to whether an offence has occurred, seek advice from the police.