Report child abuse or neglect

A guide to spotting signs of possible child abuse and who you can contact if you have concerns.

Our duty

We have a legal duty to ensure that children are protected from abuse and neglect.

If you raise concerns about child abuse with us, we'll investigate them with Police Scotland.

Spotting possible child abuse

Possible signs linked to a child's appearance or behaviour

Children can experience different forms of abuse, including:

  • physical injury
  • sexual abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • neglect

Children living in households where there’s domestic violence or substance misuse can be at a particularly high risk of abuse.

Although children themselves might not speak about abuse, there are ways that you can spot this. These can include obvious signs, such as unexplained bruising. They might also include changes to a child’s appearance or behaviour, such as them seeming:

  • afraid
  • quiet
  • hungry
  • tired
  • unkempt
  • withdrawn
  • unwilling to go home

Other indicators of abuse include a child:

  • being left alone or unsupervised
  • being given too much responsibility for their age
  • acting in a sexually inappropriate way
  • using drugs or alcohol

'County lines' exploitation

In some cases, there might also be specific signs that a child is involved in 'county lines' criminal activity. This is when criminals manipulate children into transporting drugs, often outside of their local area.

You can find detailed information about the possible signs of county lines exploitation on the Crimestoppers website.

Possible signs linked to an adult's behaviour

You might also see behaviour in an adult that makes you worry about children in their care. For example, an adult might:

  • act violently or sexually towards a child
  • consume drugs or alcohol while caring for a child
  • be verbally abusive towards a child

If you want to report possible child abuse

You should always report any signs of child abuse. You do not have to give your name.

Reporting possible child abuse during office hours

To raise an issue during office hours, call Stirling Council’s Social Work team on 01786 404040.

The team is available from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Reporting possible child abuse during evenings and weekends

During weekends and after 5pm on weekdays, you can call Stirling Council’s Social Work team on 01786 470 500.

Reporting serious incidents or emergencies

If you believe a crime has been committed or someone is at risk, you should report this to Police Scotland. You can call:

  • 999 if it’s an emergency, or if someone is at immediate risk of harm
  • 101 if it’s not an emergency

Find out more

You can find out more about child protection and the prevention of child abuse by visiting:

Stirling Council is also part of a committee that works to:

  • ensure that child protection activity in Stirling  complies with national and local standards

  • promote better outcomes for children and young people in Stirling

The terms of reference for Stirling Child Protection Committee provide more information on its  purpose , roles and responsibilities.

  1. Stirling Child Protection Committee

    Multiple documents available