Worried about a child or young person?

If you are worried about a child or young person, whether you are a concerned neighbour or a family friend, you should alert someone straight away.

In an emergency situation you should contact the police immediately. Alternatively, if it is not an emergency, there are a number of organisations who can help and provide advice.

If you believe a child or young person is at risk (either because of their behaviour or the behaviour of the adults/carers looking after the child/young person) you can contact your local Reporter’s office direct to discuss your concerns.

How to make a referral to the Children’s Reporter

The majority of referrals to the Children’s Reporter come from our partner agencies, such as the police, social work and education.

However, anyone can make a referral to the Reporter – parents, family members, carers or any concerned member of the public can contact the Children’s Reporter if they have concerns about a child or young person and their circumstances.

How can I contact the Reporter?

Depending on where the child or young person lives, you should contact the local Reporter. The telephone number and addresses of each office is available within the contact us section of our website.

 What will happen next?

The Reporter then must make an initial investigation before deciding what action, if any, is necessary in the child or young person’s interests. The Reporter must consider whether the evidence is sufficient to support the statement of grounds and then decide whether compulsory measures of supervision may be required.

The Reporter has a statutory discretion in deciding the next step, and following their investigation, the Reporter can make one of a number of decisions, including referring a child or young person to a Hearing.

Where there is no requirement for compulsory measures of supervision, children and young people can be dealt with by a variety of options, including: restorative justice, voluntary measures and tailored programmes to tackle their behaviour.

These are all available options depending on the individual child or young person, their needs and circumstances. Children and young people can be referred to services like this either on a compulsory basis following a Children’s Hearing, or on a voluntary basis (without proceeding to a Hearing) with the support of their family/guardians and usually social work services.

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