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What to do if you are concerned about a child

It is everyone's responsibility to protect children!

All children have a right to grow up in a caring, safe environment.

This may be:-

  • Parents,
  • Family members,
  • Friends,
  • Neighbours,
  • Professionals,
  • Members of the Public.

There are different types of abuse:

  • PHYSICAL ABUSE - being hit, kicked or punched;
  • PHYSICAL NEGLECT - not being properly fed or clothed, poor hygiene;
  • SEXUAL ABUSE - inappropriate sexual behaviour or language;
  • EMOTIONAL ABUSE - constantly criticised, ignored or humiliated. 

What might make you concerned

Children rarely tell if they are being abused.

However, there may be signs which make you concerned and may be an indication of a child being abused or neglected.

The child may:

  • have unexplained marks or bruising in an unusual place,
  • appear afraid, quiet or withdrawn,
  • appear afraid to go home,
  • appear hungry, tired of unkempt,
  • be left unattended or unsupervised,
  • have too much responsibility for their age,
  • be acting in a sexually inappropriate way,
  • be misusing drugs or alcohol.

The adult may:

  • be acting in a violent or sexual manner towards a child,
  • be misusing drugs or alcohol while caring for a child.

These are just two examples of what might make you worried, or you may know of other things that are happening which mean you need to take action to protect the child.

What to do if you are concerned

If you are concerned about a child - SPEAK TO SOMEONE!

Make sure you:

  • ACT promptly
  • NOTE your concerns
  • VOICE your concerns and give as much information as you know about the child and family.

What might happen if you do not report your concern?

If you have a concern or worry about a child and do not share your concerns a child may be harmed!

If you are worried or know of a child who could be at risk of being abused, you can talk to staff at the Child Protection Unit on 0141 201 9225 or contact your local Social Work Department.

Every adult has a responsibility to help protect children and young people. 

This includes -

  • Members of the Public
  • Their Families
  • Friends
  • Neighbours in their communities.

 You can get guidance via this Scottish Government publication - 

'It's Everyone's Job To Make Sure I'm Alright' (Scottish Executive 2002)

If you are concerned that a child or young person is being abused or neglected please do not ignore your concerns - we won't.

Relevant people to speak to might be a -

  • Health Visitor
  • Nursery Staff
  • Teacher
  • GP
  • Social Worker
  • Police
  • Children's Reporter
  • Staff at the Child Protection Unit

 There are a variety of agencies that offer advice and support about Child Protection issues. 

Visit our Useful Links page for details. 

ALTERNATIVELY - you can phone the Out of Hours Standby Service number during the evening or weekends to talk to someone about your concerns.

Call the appropriate Social Work Department, Child Protection line:

East Dunbartonshire

  • Daytime: 0141 777 3000
  • Out of hours: 0300 343 1505

East Renfrewshire - Barrhead

  • Daytime: 0141 577 8300
  • Out of hours: 0300 343 1505

East Renfrewshire - Clarkston

  • Daytime: 0141 577 4000
  • Out of hours: 0300 343 1505

Glasgow City Council

  • Daytime: 0141 305 6706
  • Out of hours: 0300 343 1505


  • Daytime: 01475 714100
  • Out of hours: 0300 343 1505

North Lanarkshire

  • Daytime: 01698 332186
  • Out of hours: 0800 121 4114


  • Daytime: 0300 300 1199
  • Out of hours: 0300 343 1505

South Lanarkshire

  • Daytime: 01698 453904
  • Out of hours: 0800 678 3282

West Dunbartonshire

  • Daytime: 0141 562 8800
  • Out of hours: 0300 343 1505