[Skip to content]

Your Borough Of Poole

Child - Abuse


We work with families to enable children to live safe from harm within their family and the community wherever possible. When a child or young person has been abused we provide them and their families with support and services so that they can have the same opportunities open to them as all children and young people. Our contact details are on the right hand side of this page. Other useful contacts are given at the end of the page.

Back to Top

What is child abuse?

Some abuse may happen because parents, carers or other adults act in ways which harm children. Other kinds of abuse occur when adults fail to take action to protect children or fail to meet a child’s basic needs.

There are four main types of abuse:

Physical Abuse

This may involve hurting or injuring a child by hitting, shaking, poisoning, burning, scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.

Emotional Abuse

Persistent emotional ill treatment of a child. It may involve telling children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.

Sexual Abuse

Forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. It may also include non-contact activities such as involving children in inappropriate sexual activities.


Persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, which is likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.

Back to Top

If you are being abused

If you are a child or young person and you feel unsafe, frightened or think you are being harmed in some way, try and tell an adult you trust, such as a teacher or health worker, or contact us using the details on the right and tell us what is happening.

You will be helped to decide what to do next, and given advice as to what may need to happen and how other people such as social workers might be able to help you sort things out.

Back to Top

What to do if you are concerned about a child

If you are concerned about a child’s safety or you think that a child or young person under the age of eighteen is being harmed in some way please contact us using the details on the right. In an emergency please contact Dorset Police and ask for the Police Child Protection Investigation Unit .

Whilst it can be difficult to report concerns you may have, or to know what to do for the best, it is important to take action when you suspect a child or young person might be at risk of abuse or neglect, or be unsafe.

Sometimes people are reluctant to report their concerns because:

  • there may be other reasons why a child is behaving in a certain way which are not related to abuse or harm they have experienced;
  • they do not want to make matters worse;
  • they fear that a child might be taken away from their parents or carers.

However, it is important to take some action. This may involve:

  • talking to the parent or carer about your concerns for the child if you are able to;
  • suggesting that the parents seek help and contact us using the details on the right, or contact their Health Visitor or Doctor;
  • In cases where there are significant concerns it is always important to discuss these concerns in confidence with us or one of the national help-lines. Our contact details are on the right of this page.

If you are a member of the public you will be asked for any details you may have about the child or young person you are concerned about and about the concerns you have. These details will help us to make further enquiries. You will also be asked for your name and contact details so that we can contact you again if necessary. Information about your name and address will be treated as confidential.

If you are a professional with information or concerns about a child or young person you should consult any relevant inter-agency child protection procedures about how to make a referral and then inform us using our contact details on the right.

If you are in any doubt about making a referral, you can always contact us using the details on the right and we will advise you as to what should happen next.

Back to Top

What happens once a concern has been reported?

Once a referral is taken by us, a social worker will:

  • Make enquiries to check out the concerns
  • Make plans to ensure the child or young person is safe and protected
  • Speak to the child's parents or carers and the child
  • With the parents' knowledge, contact other professionals who know the family to obtain a picture of what might be happening to the child.

Social Workers and other professionals such as teachers, health workers and doctors aim to work together with parents and carers to make sure children are safe in their families and within the community.

Back to Top

Useful Contacts

Back to Top

Contact us

Opening hours


01202 735046

Text Relay
18001 01202 735046

Children & Young Peoples Social Care
14a Commercial Road Poole
BH14 0JW