If you are worried that a child you know is at risk of serious harm through abuse or neglect, you should tell us.
However if you think a child is in immediate danger, phone the police immediately on 999.
Make a request online
Request support or protection of a child
You should explain exactly what you have seen or been told. If you can, you should write down dates, injuries you have seen and/ or the exact words you have heard.
If you want to speak to us about your request or make an anonymous request, call us on:
- 020 3373 4600 during office hours (Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5.15pm or Friday 9am to 5.15pm)
- 020 8430 2000 at any other time.
Our Children's Triage Service will receive your form or phone call. The service includes representatives from our
Children’s Social Care, Early Intervention, Community Health, Housing and Probation and Youth
Offending teams and Newham Police.
Each team will check what information they hold about the child and
family to make a decision together about which team should respond to
We will make this decision in at least:
- one working day if we think a child is in need of our protection or
- five working days in all other cases.
We will contact you to tell you we have referred your worries on to one of our teams or the police.
Think a child needs help but you are not sure that they are being abused?
Signs of possible abuse
Signs of abuse can range from injury to changes in the way a child acts. You could see something or a child may tell you that he or she is being hurt.
The signs that a child may be being physically abused include:
- unexplained or untreated injuries
- cigarette burns, bite or belt marks
- covering their arms or legs unnecessarily
- flinching when they are touched
The signs that a child may be being neglected at home include:
- poor personal hygiene
- constantly hungry
- dishevelled appearance
The signs that a child may be being emotionally abused include:
- showing extreme emotion
- sudden speech disorders
- delayed development in babies
The signs that a child may be being sexually abused include:
- stomach pains
- discomfort when walking
- inappropriate (sexually explicit) language or behaviour
- aggressive or withdrawn behaviour
- fear of a particular person
- pain, itching, bruising or bleeding in the genital area.
What we do if we think a child has been harmed
If we think a child has been harmed or is at risk, we will try to find out what happened and decide what support and protection will help the family.
We put children first and protect people who can't protect themselves. A professional will:
- ask questions about family circumstances
- look at how often this happens and how serious the incidents are and the effect on the child
Involving the police
In some cases, Newham police child protection team will investigate to find out whether a crime has been committed.
If we suspect child abuse, we and the police have a legal duty to investigate.
Removing a child from his or her home
We rarely remove a child from home. Our aim is to work with families to support and protect children.
We only remove a child from his or her home with a court order if a judge decides there is a serious and immediate risk to the child’s safety. In an emergency, the police have the power to remove a child for up to 72 hours.
Domestic violence affects children even if they are not being directly abused. They can develop behavioural, emotional and mental health problems as a result of witnessing domestic violence.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a crime in this country. It is also a crime to take a British national or permanent resident abroad for FGM or to help someone trying to do this.
You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry or if you marry at all.