Diocese of Chichester Safeguarding

I know or am worried that a child has been or is being abused

The most important thing to remember if you are worried that a child has been or is being abused, or you know that this is the case, is that child protection is everyone's responsibility. Don't think that you if you know or are worried, then someone else either knows or is thinking the same thing and hopefully they will be able to deal with it.

The second most important thing to remember is that child protection is about telling the right people, who can help the child, what is going on. It is not your responsibility to intervene, investigate, or make a proper assessment about whether an allegation of abuse is or is not true, or whether or not the allegation amounts to a crime, or whether or not the person alleging the abuse is motivated by malice, money, or anything else. It is simply your responsibility to tell the appropriate people who can effectively intervene.

If the information you have suggests that a child is at immediate risk of being harmed, you should tell the police without delay. This is an emergency and it is appropriate therefore to use the police emergency number - 999 - to make this report. A good guide to whether you are in this situation is to ask yourself this: is it safe for this child to go home? (Or to be at home right now if they are already there?) If your best answer, with the information you have available, to that is 'no', then you should phone the police.

If you are worried about a child but do not think that there is a risk of immediate harm, you should still speak to someone who can help as soon as possible. Whilst you can contact a member of the Diocesan Safeguarding Team, we are not an emergency service or a replacement for the Local Authority Children's Service teams, and our very clear recommendation is that you should approach your local Children's Services department before approaching the Diocesan Safeguarding Team to seek advice and, depending on the advice you receive, to report your concern.

The contact details for the Children's Service departments to report a concern about a child across Sussex are below:

Finally, you can raise a concern about a child with the NSPCC or if you are a child yourself, you can contact Childline, contact details for both of which are here