Child protection - frequently asked questions

You may see or hear things which make you worry about a child's care, welfare or safety. This may be related to the actions of anyone caring for a child. This page contains information which may answer some of your queries or concerns in relation to a child or young person.

What is child abuse?

Children can be abused in different ways. They can be physically injured, for example by punching, hitting or kicking. They can also be abused sexually, which means that they have experienced inappropriate sexual behaviour or language. Emotional abuse, where a child is constantly criticised, ignored or humiliated, also causes harm. Neglect is another form of abuse, where a child is not properly fed, clothed or sheltered or kept clean or safe.

What signs should I be concerned about?

Children who have been abused rarely tell, but there are signs which may make you worry that a child has been abused.

The child may have unexplained bruising, or bruising in an unusual place, seem afraid, quiet or withdrawn, be afraid to go home, or seem hungry, tired or unkempt.  You may be concerned if a child is left alone or unsupervised, has too much responsibility for their age, is acting in a sexually inappropriate way or is misusing drugs or alcohol.

You may also see behaviour in an adult which makes you worry about any children they care for.  For example, an adult may be acting violently or sexually towards a child or someone else, misusing drugs or alcohol while caring for a child or be verbally abusive towards a child.

Who should I speak to if I have a concern?

If you have concerns about a child please contact the Council's Child Protection Service.  The Child Protection and Duty Team is based at Pullar House in Perth, Monday to Friday from 9 am until 5 pm.  The Duty Officer will be available to discuss concerns about the care and protection of any child in the local community.  Outwith these hours enquiries are dealt with by the Out of Hours Service which is based at Almondbank House, Perth.  The Duty Officer (for both locations) can be contacted on the following number: 01738 476768 (24 hours).

Alternatively you could speak to a health visitor, teacher, nursery worker, family doctor, social worker, police officer or the Children's Reporter. 

I am being abused, who can help me?

You could speak to a health visitor, teacher, nursery worker, family doctor, social worker, police officer, children's reporter or any adult you feel you can trust.

Contact details for the duty/child protection team, the police and children's reporter are available.

If you prefer, you can call Childline free on 0800 1111 at any time, to talk about any problem.

I am concerned about a child but they have no physical injuries, what should I do?

Not all types of abuse leave visible injuries. If there are other signs which make you worried about a child you should speak to someone. The Child Protection Duty Team will provide advice if you are unsure if a child is being abused.

I am concerned about a child, but they have not complained they are being badly treated, should I wait until they do before sharing my concerns?

Children who are being abused rarely tell.  If there are other signs which make you worried about a child you should always report it to someone who can protect the child.

If you have concerns about a child please contact the Council's Child Protection Service.  The Child Protection Duty Team is based at Pullar House in Perth, Monday to Friday from 9 am until 5 pm.  The Duty Officer will be available to discuss concerns about the care and protection of any child in the local community.  Outwith these hours enquiries are dealt with by the Out of Hours Service which is based at Almondbank House, Perth.  The Duty Officer (for both locations) can be contacted on the following number: 01738 476768 (24 hours).

Alternatively you could speak to a health visitor, teacher, nursery worker, family doctor, social worker, police officer or children's reporter.

I am concerned about a child, should I speak to the child about my worries?

Children who are being abused rarely tell.  If there are other signs which make you worried about a child you should speak to someone.

If you have concerns about a child please contact the Council's Child Protection Service.  The Child Protection Duty Team is based at Pullar House in Perth, Monday to Friday from 9 am until 5 pm.  The Duty Officer will be available to discuss concerns about the care and protection of any child in the local community.  Outwith these hours enquiries are dealt with by the Out of Hours Service which is based at Almondbank House, Perth.  The Duty Officer (for both locations) can be contacted on the following number: 01738 476768 (24 hours).

Alternatively you could speak to a health visitor, teacher, nursery worker, family doctor, social worker, police officer or children's reporter.

I am having difficulty caring for my child and think I need help, who can I speak to?

You could speak to a health visitor, teacher, nursery worker, your family doctor or a member of the duty/child protection team.  All of these people can help you to find the support you need to take care of your child.

If you have concerns about a child please contact the Council's Child Protection Service.  The Child Protection Duty Team is based at Pullar House in Perth, Monday to Friday from 9 am until 5 pm.  The Duty Officer will be available to discuss concerns about the care and protection of any child in the local community.  Outwith these hours enquiries are dealt with by the Out of Hours Service which is based at Almondbank House, Perth.  The Duty Officer (for both locations) can be contacted on the following number: 01738 476768 (24 hours). Or you could call Parentline Scotland, a free telephone helpline for anyone caring for children in Scotland, on 0808 800 2222.

If I ask a professional for advice about my concerns can I be sure that they will treat the information confidentiality?

We will treat all the information you give us with great care and discretion. We will not share any information, including your name, unless we have to in order to protect the child.

What will happen next if I report suspected child abuse?

We treat all information seriously and will act on what you tell us. We may check the records we already hold, or gather new information. We may speak to the child and family to help assess the situation. We will make sure the child is safe, and we will get back in touch to let you know that we have taken the appropriate action.

What will happen to the child and family if I share my concerns with someone?

Once we have finished our enquiries there are a range of things which might happen. We may decide that no action is needed. We may offer the family support, or put them in touch with other agencies which can provide them with services. In some cases it may be necessary to take legal action to protect the child.

Will I have to give my name?

You don't have to give your name, but if you don't it might make it difficult for us to find out whether the child is at risk.
 

Contact details

Child Protection Committee

2 High Street, Perth, PH1 5PH
Tel 01738 476881