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What to do if you’re worried

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What to do if you are worried

If you suspect a child or adult is being abused, you should always speak up. By identifying and reporting abuse, everyone can be kept safe. Even if you’re not certain, you must report your concern.

  • If your organisation has a safeguarding policy and people who are in charge of safeguarding children and adults at risk, then speak to those people first. They should help you take the right steps to report, so the person you’re worried about gets help as quickly as possible.
  • If your organisation does not yet have a policy, or you have used its policy and procedures and got no response, use the information below.
  • In a rare situation where a child or adult is in immediate danger, call the police on 999

Identifying and reporting child abuse

  • If the risk is not immediate, report child abuse to your local council. You can put your postcode into’s service finder to find out who to call in your area. You can also report via the NSPCC helpline: 0808 800 5000
  • If you’re unsure how severe your concern is and want to talk it through, you can also call the NSPCC helpline for advice: 0808 800 5000
  • If you’re a child or young person and need someone to talk to call Childline: 0800 1111

More information about the helplines:

Identifying and reporting abuse of an adult

Who you report abuse to depends on where the adult lives and who looks after them.

  • To report concerns of abuse about an adult in an NHS hospital or clinic, contact its manager.
  • To report concerns about any other adults, including adults who live in care homes or have home carers, report abuse to your local council. If you don’t know which council, you can use this postcode finder.

If you’re unsure how severe your concern is and want to talk it through, call a helpline for advice:

  • for concerns about an elderly person, call Action on Elder Abuse on: 0808 808 8141
  • if you need advice on supporting someone experiencing domestic violence call the Freephone 24hr National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
  • if you need someone to talk to, call Samaritans: 116 123

More information on helplines:


If you’ve reported a situation and are worried it is not being dealt with properly, speak to a whistleblowing specialist.

Other situations


Page last edited Nov 30, 2020

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