We investigate all cases when people are worried that a child may be at risk of being harmed or is not being looked after properly.
What to do if you are worried about a child or young person
If you are worried about a child or a young person under the age of 18, you should ring our customer services centre on 01609 780780. This is available outside of office hours. The Minicom number is 01609 779838.
All calls are taken seriously and can be taken in confidence. In an emergency, always ring 999.
What happens when you call us
The customer services centre will take more details from you. Experienced staff will then decide whether action needs to be taken and, if so, how quickly. It may not always be possible to let you know what happened because of confidentiality. Combining your information and anything already known, a decision may be taken to conduct an investigation to establish whether the child is at risk of harm or not.
If you decide to remain anonymous this will be respected. However, it is helpful for the investigating social worker to be able to share your concerns openly, so we do ask callers to consider this option.
Following an investigation, staff from the children and young people's service will take one of the following actions:
- Decide no further action is required;
- Offer the family help or advice to resolve any difficulties; and / or
- Call a meeting to decide what further steps should be taken. This meeting is known as an initial child protection conference. It is held whenever there is good reason to be concerned that a child may have been abused, or is in some way at risk of being harmed.
North Yorkshire safeguarding children board
The North Yorkshire safeguarding children board was created as part of The Children Act 2004, which required each local authority to establish a local safeguarding children board for their area and specifies the organisations and individuals (other than the local authority) that should be represented on the local board.
The roles of safeguarding children board are to:
- Coordinate what is done by each person or body represented on the board for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area; and
- Ensure the effectiveness of what is done by each such person or body for those purposes.
You can follow the board's Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/nyscb.
- Information sharing consent form (pdf / 41 KB)
- About social care records (pdf / 222 KB)
- A parents' guide to child protection (pdf / 634 KB)
- Child protection conferences: a guide for young people (pdf / 130 KB)
Frequently asked questions
The following may help you decide whether a child is at risk of abuse or neglect:
Signs which suggest physical abuse
The following signs may suggest physical abuse:
- any bruising to a baby (pre-walking stage);
- multiple bruising to different parts of the body;
- bruising of different colours indicating repeated injuries;
- fingertip bruising to the chest, back, arms or legs;
- burns of any shape or size; and / or
- an injury for which there is no adequate explanation.
Signs of possible sexual abuse
The following signs may suggest sexual abuse:
- something a child has told you;
- something a child has told someone else;
- a child who shows worrying sexualised behaviour in their play or with other children;
- a child who seems to have inappropriate sexual knowledge for their age; and / or
- a child who may be visiting or being looked after by a known or suspected offender.
Signs which may suggest emotional harm
The following signs may be present in children whose parents are overcritical and distant, or who are unable to meet their children's emotional needs:
- excessive behaviour, such as excessive bedwetting, overeating, rocking or head banging;
- self-harm, such as a child cutting or scratch themselves;
- attempted suicide;
- persistently running away from home;
- high levels of anxiety, unhappiness or withdrawal; and / or
- seeking out or avoiding affection.
Signs which may suggest neglect
The following signs may suggest neglect:
- squalid, unhygienic or dangerous home conditions;
- parents who fail to attend to their children's health or development needs;
- children who appear persistently undersized or underweight;
- children who continually appear tired or lacking in energy; and / or
- children who suffer frequent injuries due to lack of supervision.