Advice for Parents and Carers

As a parent, carer, neighbour, teacher or anyone in contact with children and families you may at times have concerns about the welfare of a child. These could be concerns about their development, appearance or behaviour which may indicate signs of abuse.

If you are a child who is being abused or neglected, or think another child is, please click on the Children and Young People area on this website.

Patterns of family life vary and there is no one, perfect way to bring up children. Good parenting involves caring for children’s basic needs, keeping them safe and showing them warmth and love. It also means providing the stimulation needed for their development and helping them achieve their full potential, within a stable environment where they experience consistent guidance and boundaries.

The primary responsibility of safeguarding children and young people and promoting their welfare rests with their parents or carers. They provide help, support and protection to their children. Extended family, friends, neighbours and the wider community can help parents and carers to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Co-operating to Safeguard Children and young People, 2016

Who can I contact

If a young person is in immediate danger then contact the PSNI on 999.

If it isn’t an emergency situation you can contact NSPCC Freephone helpline Monday to Friday 8 am – 10 pm or 9 am – 6 pm at the weekends - 0800 3891 701

What can I get help with?

These organisations can help you with a wide range of issues. For example, they provide help if you are worried about:

  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Child Trafficking
  • Domestic Violence and Abuse
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Neglect
  • Criminal Exploitation

These organisations are there to help whatever issue you are facing.

If you are worried about a child or young person who has gone missing from home or care please contact PSNI 999. 

Your local area health Trust gateway service:

  • Belfast HSC Trust - 028 9050 7000
  • Northern HSC Trust - 0300 1234 333
  • South Eastern HSC Trust - 0300 1000 300
  • Southern HSC Trust - 0800 7837 745
  • Western HSC Trust - 028 7131 4090

OR contact the NSPCC Helpline: 08003891701

Local help available

The local health trusts in Northern Ireland can also help through their gateway teams:

  • Belfast HSC Trust - 028 9050 7000
  • Northern HSC Trust - 0300 1234 333
  • South Eastern HSC Trust - 0300 1000 300
  • Southern HSC Trust - 0800 7837 745
  • Western HSC Trust - 028 7131 4090

Don’t worry if you aren’t sure about your health trust. The gateway team will be able to direct you to the right person.

What will happen when I report a concern?

If you report a concern or worry about a child the person you are talking to will: 

  • Ask you for details about the child eg. name, address
  • Ask you for details of your concern
  • Investigate whether that child is in need of protection or additional support.

Further advice and information