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 suspect that a child has been abused or is at risk of being abused, you may have a duty to alert the authorities. Current national child protection policy requires people who have reasonable grounds for concern that a child has been or is at risk of being abused to report those concerns to the HSE whose duty it is to investigate those concerns. If you are unsure about whether to or not to report, you may contact your local duty social worker to discuss your concerns informally.

This guide is contained in Appendix 1 Children First National Guidance 2011

If you know a child is or has been abused Irish law requires that you report that relevant information to the Gardaí. If you have information about a serious offence against a child or vulnerable person being committed which might help to arrest, prosecute or convict the abuser, you must disclose it to the Gardaí as soon as you can.

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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