Child Abuse


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We investigate all incidents of the ill treatment of children thoroughly but sensitively. We will put the needs of the child first and take steps to protect them to reduce the  risk they may be at.




Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by knowingly not preventing harm. 

Children may be abused within their family, in an institutional setting by a professional or carer, by a stranger or organised abuse.


To Report Concerns about a Child

Any person having concerns about the welfare or safety of a child or young person has a responsibility to act upon these concerns to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

If you have any doubts we would prefer to receive a false call with good intentions rather than no call.



Remember: in an emergency call 999.

If you have concerns about a child's welfare please contact the police on 101.

Please provide as much information as possible, including -

  • The child(rens) details

  • Where they live (or relatives who they visit, school which they attend)

  • Why are you concerned

If you have concerns about a child's welfare you can also contact Children’s Social Care.

Here are their telephone numbers:

  • County Durham ​03000 267979

  • Darlington 01325 346200





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Here is some more detailed information about what Child Abuse is:

Child Abuse:

  • When someone causes significant harm to a child or young person under 18 years of age.
  • Significant harm occurs when a child's physical, emotional, or mental health or development is impaired as a consequence of abuse physical, sexual or emotional or neglect.’


Here are some ways that physical, sexual, emotional and neglect can happen:

Physical abuse: 

  • Physical abuse may involve
    • hitting,
    • shaking,
    • throwing,
    • poisoning,
    • burning or scalding,
    • drowning,
    • suffocating
    • or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.
  • Fabricated Induced Illness may also constitute physical abuse, where a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health in a child.


Emotional abuse: 

  • Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child, such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.
  • It may involve indicating to children that they are:
    •  worthless or unloved,
    • inadequate
    • or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.
  • It may involve causing children to frequently feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children.
  • Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.


Sexual abuse:

  • Sexual abuse involves 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.
  • The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts.
  • They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.



  • Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.
  • It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate:
    • food,
    • shelter,
    • clothing,
    • also, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger,
    • or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
    • It may also include neglect of a child’s basic emotional needs.



Independent Help and Support for Child Abuse

Free and confidential helpline for children to discuss any concerns with a trained counsellor.


Please call the helpline if you're worried about a child's safety or if you need help or advice, you can remain anonymous.


 Legal Aid for Victims of Domestic Violence and Children at Risk of Abuse.


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