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Protecting children at risk during Covid-19

Families at this time are under additional strain as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and this may put some children at greater risk.

Child protection

Every child has the right to be protected from abuse, harm and exploitation. For some of our children this unfortunately doesn’t happen. Children who are being harmed rely on adults to:

  • notice when something might be wrong
  • do something about it

Signs that might indicate abuse

Abuse of children can be physical, emotional and sexual. Children who experience abuse may display behaviour which causes concerns. A child may tell you information about themselves, or others, or you may witness behaviour that causes you concern. It is important to share any concerns so that families can get the help they need.

Sometimes it might be an adult’s behaviour which makes you worry about a child. You might:

  • notice an adult caring for a child when they have been misusing drugs and/or alcohol
  • be concerned about the way an adult behaves towards a child, maybe swearing and frightening the child
  • be aware of violence in households where children live

All these can have an impact on a child and potentially place them at risk of harm.

What do we mean by risk?

Risk means the probability of something that could have a negative impact on a child’s wellbeing. This could be any person or issue which may pose a threat to the healthy development of the child or young person. This may be by adults doing, or not doing, something which could result in harm to the child.

It is really important that you pass on your concern if you are worried about a child’s safety or wellbeing.

If you have a concern that a child is suffering from, or at risk from, any harm you should contact:

01294 310 005 (Three Towns)
01294 310 300 (Irvine & Kilwinning)
01505 684 551 (Garnock Valley)
01475 687 592 (Largs)

Lines are open Monday to Thursday 9am – 4.45pm and Friday 9am–4.30pm. The out of hours number is: 0800 328 7758.

If the child is in immediate danger or in an emergency situation, call Police Scotland on 999. For non-emergency situations call 101.

We know that people worry about whether or not to share their concerns. They worry about whether they might be wrong, they think that it is not their business and they worry about making things worse. Remember that, families can’t get the help they need unless someone shares their concerns.

What will happen after I report my concerns?

We record all concerns shared about children. We check the information with other services involved with the family. All information is treated seriously. We will take the action that best meets the needs of the child. We try hard to work in partnership with parents so that families can stay together.

Action we might take includes:

  • urgent action to secure the safety of a child through temporary placement in residential or foster care
  • providing help to a family under stress (such as childcare)
  • referring a family to another agency
  • undertaking a formal child protection investigation, either on a single agency basis, or jointly with the police
  • recording the concern but taking no further action
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