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What to do if you have immediate concerns

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What to do if you're worried

If you suspect a child or adult is being abused, you should always speak up. By identifying and reporting abuse, everyone can be kept safe. Even if you’re not certain, you must report your concern.

  • If your organisation has a safeguarding policy and people who are in charge of safeguarding children and adults at risk, then speak to those people first. They should help you take the right steps to report, so the person you’re worried about gets help as quickly as possible.
  • If your organisation does not yet have a policy, or you have used its policy and procedures and got no response, use the information below.
  • In a rare situation where a child or adult is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

Identifying and reporting child abuse

  • If the risk is not immediate, report child abuse to your local council. You can put your postcode into the GOV.UK service finder to find out who to call in your area. You can also report via the NSPCC helpline.
  • If you’re unsure how severe your concern is and want to talk it through, you can also call the NSPCC helpline for advice: 0808 800 5000.
  • If you’re a child or young person and need someone to talk to, contact Childline online or call: 0800 1111.

Identifying and reporting abuse of an adult

Who you report abuse to depends on where the adult lives and who looks after them.

  • To report concerns of abuse about an adult in an NHS hospital or clinic, contact its manager.
  • To report concerns about any other adults, including adults who live in care homes or have home carers, report abuse to your local council. If you don’t know which council, use the postcode finder.

If you’re unsure how severe your concern is and want to talk it through, call a helpline for advice.

The Ann Craft Trust also have a good list of advice lines relating to specific situations.

Reporting harassment and crimes

If you’re the victim of harassment or another crime, there are organisations to help.

  • If you're in danger or need urgent medical attention, you can call 999 to speak to the police or ask for an ambulance, or go straight to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department. Otherwise you can call the police on 101.
  • If you’re the victim of rape or sexual assault and want specialist advice including from a sexual assault referral centre, read this GOV.UK advice.
  • If you've experienced or witnessed a hate crime, you can report the incident online through True Vision.
  • If you’ve been the victim or witnessed any crime, you can get specialist help on the government's victim and witness information website.
  • If harassment happens at your place of work and you feel safe to do so, you can report it to your manager, HR team or trade union to take action. For independent advice you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service online or call on 0808 800 0082 (limited opening times).
  • If you're a woman experiencing sexual harassment at work, you can get free employment legal advice from the Rights of Women helpline on 020 7490 0152 (limited opening times).


If you’ve reported a situation and are worried it's not being dealt with properly, speak to a whistleblowing specialist.

Other situations

Last reviewed: 10 August 2021

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 10 August 2021

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