Report child abuse

Last updated: 7 August 2017

Child abuse is when someone causes (or doesn't prevent) significant harm to a child.

The abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual. This includes child sexual exploitation, child trafficking, online abuse and witnessing domestic abuse.

It can happen once or over a period of time, and could happen within and outside the family.

Neglect is also child abuse. This is when a parent or carer doesn't look after a child properly, for example:

  • failing to meet a child's basic needs, such as not providing food, a home or supervision appropriate for the child's age
  • failing to get medical or mental health care
  • failing to educate a child or ignoring their special educational needs
  • failing to provide emotional care

Report abuse

Call 999 to report a crime in progress or if a child or young person is in immediate danger.

Call the police on 101 if you think a crime has been committed.

You can also contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report the crime anonymously. They'll pass the information about the crime to the police.

You can report online abuse to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre.

Report child abuse to your local council

Contact your local council if you think a child or young person is at risk or is being abused or neglected.

Help and advice

Child sexual exploitation – the signs
This website gives advice and support to young people and parents, including guides to spotting signs of child sexual exploitation.

NSPCC
Phone: 0808 800 5000 (24 hour service)
If you're an adult and worried about a child, the NSPCC professional counsellors can give help, advice and support.

ChildLine
Phone: 0800 1111 (24 hour service)
If you're a child or young person, ChildLine will listen to you and help you work out what to do next. You can also chat online.

ParentLine Scotland
Phone: 0800 028 2233
Monday to Friday, 9am to 10pm
Weekends, 12 noon to 8pm
Support for anyone caring for or worried about a child.

Victim Support Scotland
0345 603 9213 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm)
Gives free and confidential support, and practical help for victims and witnesses of crime. You can also search for victim support in your area for local help and advice.

Find out about call charges.