Report a child at risk

Child abuse can involve physical injury, neglect, or emotional or sexual abuse.

Abuse can happen to any child from any social background or ethnic group. It can involve a parent, another family member or someone else the child knows well, or it could be someone the child does not know.

If you suspect or believe a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, including any form of mistreatment or abuse, you should report your concerns.

If you work for an agency or organisation that has a policy or procedure about children at risk, then you should follow it.

If you are a member of the public, or if your organisation does not have a policy or procedure, take the following steps.


If a child is in immediate danger, you should contact the police by dialling 999.

Not an emergency

If you have concerns about a child or young person but believe they are not at immediate risk you can:

  • contact the Sandwell safeguarding team on 0121 569 3100 (this number is available outside normal office hours); or 
  • contact West Midlands Police on 101 (24-hour non-emergency number); or
  • contact the NSPCC helpline 0808 800 5000 (free service, lines open 24 hours a day); or 
  • if you work or volunteer for an organisation, discuss your concern with a manager or designated professional.

All agencies should use the Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF) and guidance to make a referral. The more information children's social care get at the first point of contact, the more likely it is that appropriate services will be delivered at the earliest opporunity to help children and families.

What happens when you ring the Sandwell safeguarding team?

We are experienced children's services professionals, who are trained to deal with sensitive issues. We will ask you a few short questions to find out how best to deal with your concern.

We work closely with other professionals to make sure that action is taken and the right level of support can be given to the right people at the right time.