Renfrewshire Council

What to look out for and what to do

What should I look for?

Children will rarely tell if they are abused, but there are signs which might make you concerned. You may notice that a child or young person:

  • has unexplained bruising or bruising in an unusual place
  • seems to be afraid, quiet or withdrawn
  • seems afraid to go home
  • constantly appears hungry, tired or untidy
  • seems to be left unattended or unsupervised
  • has too much responsibility for their age
  • acts in a sexually inappropriate way
  • misuses drugs or alcohol
  • tells you something that sounds at though they've been hurt by someone

The behaviour of adults might also cause you concern if they:

  • act in an aggressive, violent or sexual manner towards a child or young person
  • misuse drink or drugs while caring for a child
  • leave their child unattended or with unsuitable adults

What should I do?

If you see behaviour which concerns you, or if a child or young person tells you something, you need to take them seriously, do something about it and speak to someone.

Raise your concerns with a teacher; a doctor; a health visitor; a social worker; a police officer; or nursery staff. You can also phone us to discuss your concerns:

  • Social work services - 0300 300 1199
  • Police Scotland - 0141 532 5900
  • Child Protection line - 0800 022 3222

To make sure a child gets the best help possible, you should:

  • give as much information as you can about the child or young person and their family/carer
  • describe what it was that you saw or heard and what it was that concerned you
  • let the person know anything else they should be aware of, for example, immediate risks to the child or young person

Will I have to give my name?

Any information about you will be treated with care. Any details, including your name, will not be revealed unless the child's safety requires it. Even if you do not give your name, enquiries can still be made into the child's care and welfare. Withholding your name may make it more difficult for those looking into these concerns.

Any information you give may need to be shared with other professionals to make sure that appropriate action is taken to protect the child.

What will happen to the child and their family?

When you contact a professional about your concerns, unless the child is in immediate danger, they will make some initial enquiries before taking action. They will check whether the child is known and what information is held.

All information will be treated seriously and acted upon. This may lead to immediate action or a more planned response.

Child protection professionals may:

  • take immediate action to secure the safety of the child
  • provide support, help or advice to the family
  • provide a service such as childcare to the family
  • conduct criminal proceedings
  • record the concern but take no further action at this time
Share this page: