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What to do if you are concerned
about a child’s welfare

Home > Home > Responding to Covid-19 > Staying safe online > Accountability and what to do if you are concerned about a child’s welfare

Being online can make it harder for everyone to be held accountable for their actions.

Individuals can sometimes feel safer to share inappropriate and harmful comments, or disclose difficulties they are experiencing. Children and young people may disclose abuse.

During this challenging time for everyone, you need to be ready to be held to account for the actions you will take in response. This includes knowing what action will be taken if a child protection issue occurs.

Use the risk assessment for the session to clearly outline what will be done if action is required.

The Child Friendly Cities & Communities team strongly recommends the following action where necessary:

  • If someone is in immediate danger or requires urgent medical assistance, contact emergency services via 999.
  • Where a child or young person has shared a child protection concern but is not in immediate danger, contact your local authority’s children’s services department to make a referral as soon as the concern is known. If you do not know the local authority’s details, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.
  • Where a child or young person has said something that requires follow up outside of the session, such as a request for more information about a service, link in with that child’s supporting adult, for example their teacher.
  • Record and inform your line manager of any issues that arise during the session. Ensure that you too are supported.

Individuals can come across distressing or problematic images of people they do not know. It is important that you refer the concern to the appropriate organisation.

For more information, visit:

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection command

UNICEF’s guide for young people to reporting and safety online

NSPCC Online Safety for Organisations and Groups

UK Safer Internet Centre

BASW Digital Capabilities for Social Workers