Concerned about a child?

Safeguarding all children from harm is everyone's business...

Most children enjoy generally safe and happy childhood experiences within their own family but unfortunately for some, this is not the case. During difficult family times everyone has a responsibility to protect children from future harm; good child care begins even before a child is born.


Abuse and neglect are forms of ill-treatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by not taking action to protect a child from harm. Children may be harmed at home, by people living near their home (in their community) or by an adult who is responsible for caring for them in any place away from home such as school, nursery, college, sports and leisure centres, after-school clubs, youth clubs, which it is really important to work together to keep you safe. Sometimes children are abused by a stranger they have met over the internet. They may also be abused by another child or children.

One in ten adults will have experienced harm during their childhood. Following are some examples of abuse and neglect:

Physical abuse

This could be any physical injury like cuts, bruises, burns, scalds or broken bones that have not happened by accident. Injuries may be caused as a result of shaking or throwing in the case of babies. It can also be when someone deliberately induces illness in a child.

Emotional abuse

This may involve making a child feel constantly worthless or unloved, frightened or in danger. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them, or making 'fun' of what they say or how they communicate. It may also involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying) causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children.

Sexual abuse

This is when a child is made or enticed to take part in or watch sexual activities: they may be around when someone is watching pornographic material. Activities may involve physical contact, including assault such as rape or non penetrative acts such as kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. It may also involve looking at, or the production of, sexual images, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child. In most cases sexual abuse is carried out by a person who is known to the child - even a member of their own family.


A child may be left alone or left with unsuitable caregivers. They may not be fed or clothed properly or not be taken to the doctors when they are unwell. Neglect also involves not protecting a child from danger.


Staffordshire County Council's First Response Service:

Phone: 0800 1313 126

If you have already made your enquiry by telephone and wish to submit any forms to support your enquiry you can add these online:

You can also make your enquiry online:

Open: Monday - Thursday 8:30am - 5:00pm
Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Emergency Duty Service:
(Out of Hours Service)
Telephone: 0345 604 2886

Mobile: 07815 492613 

The referral must be followed up in writing using a Multi Agency Referral Form (MARF) within 48 hours (the address is written on the referral form). 

To download a poster containing advice on what to do next, including contact numbers, please see the Make a Call, Make a Difference Poster (931 KB)

Staffordshire Police:
Telephone: 101 and ask for M.A.S.H. (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub)
Outside of MASH hours, report to the Area Communications Room
In an emergency always call 999

No - it is your choice; if you decide that you want to remain anonymous that decision will be respected. (Professionals making a referral should be aware that they cannot be guaranteed anonymity.)

Social workers will follow up every report where they believe a child may be at risk of harm. They will talk to other people who know the child and may be able to provide a clearer picture. This includes teachers, health visitors and members of the child's family.

After this several things could happen:

  • No further action will be taken
  • Help and support will be offered to the family
  • An investigation will take place
Very rarely - social workers cannot remove a child from their family without the permission of the court. This only happens when there are real concerns that the child will not be safe at home, and then consideration is always given to the child being looked after by a relative or a friend.
You should receive written confirmation that your referral has been received and acted upon unless your report was anonymous.