Do you believe a child is, or is at risk of, being abused?

Everybody can have a role in child protection. Child abuse can occur through neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse or sexual abuse.

If you know, believe or have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child has been harmed, is being harmed or is at risk of being harmed, you may have a duty to report this to the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) whose task it is to investigate. There is a statutory duty on “mandated” members of some professions under Children First Act 2015, to report such concerns. These “mandated persons” are listed here: Children First Act 2015 Mandated Persons

Also, national child protection policy requires any non-mandated person who has reasonable grounds for concern that a child has been or at risk of being abused or neglected to report those concerns to the Child and Family Agency (Tusla). If you are unsure about whether to or not to report, you may contact your local duty social worker to discuss your concerns informally. See this online list of contact details for local duty social workers

See the Children First National Guidelines 2017, available at:

Whether you are a mandated person or not, if you cannot contact Tusla and you fear that a child is at risk of immediate harm, you should contact the Gardaí straight away.

If you know or believe a child (or vulnerable person) has been abused you should report that relevant information to the Gardaí. If you have information about a serious offence against a child or vulnerable person which might help to arrest, prosecute or convict the abuser, you should disclose it to the Gardaí as soon as you can, unless there is some basis in the relevant legislation for not disclosing it. 

Irish law also provides some legal protection for people who report child abuse. The Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998 means that a person who reports suspected child abuse reasonably and in good faith cannot be sued successfully for making that report, even if it subsequently turns out to be incorrect.

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