Safeguarding children

We all have a responsibility to make sure children and young people are safe from harm or abuse. If you have any suspicion, or information, suggesting a child is being harmed, don't ignore it.

What should I do if I think a child or young person is being harmed?

You can always ask for advice [#advice] if you are not sure about a situation.

The information below may help if you think a child or young person is being harmed.

Signs which may suggest physical abuse

  • Any bruising to a baby - pre-walking stage
  • Multiple bruising to different parts of the body
  • Bruising of different colours, showing repeated injuries
  • Fingertip-shaped bruising to the chest, back, arms or legs
  • Burns of any shape or size
  • An injury for which there is no proper explanation

Signs of possible sexual abuse

  • Something a child has told you
  • Something a child has told someone else
  • A child who shows worrying sexualised behaviour in their play or with other children
  • A child who seems to have unsuitable sexual knowledge for their age
  • A child who may be visiting or being looked after by a known or suspected sexual offender

Signs which may suggest emotional harm

The following signs may be present in children whose parents are over-critical and emotionally distant, or who are unable to meet their child's emotional needs:

  • Children whose behaviour is excessive. For example, excessive bedwetting, overeating, rocking, headbanging.
  • Children who self harm. For example, they may cut or scratch themselves or overdose.
  • Children who attempt suicide
  • Children who persistently run away from home
  • Children who show high levels of anxiety, unhappiness or withdrawal
  • Children who usually seek out or avoid affection.

Signs which may suggest neglect

  • Squalid, unhygienic or dangerous home conditions
  • Parents who fail to attend to their children's health or development needs
  • Children who appear persistently undersized or underweight
  • Children who continually appear tired or lacking in energy
  • Children who suffer frequent injuries due to lack of supervision.

How do I contact someone if I am concerned about a child or young person?

If you wish to report a matter to the police, call 101 and state your concerns.
If you wish to report an emergency matter always dial 999.
Social worker (out of office hours): 024 7683 2222.

If there is no immediate danger or you need advice or information, you should call the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub [] on 024 7678 8555.

Advice and information

If you want to discuss your concerns or need advice e.g. if you are not sure whether your concerns are justified, you would like more information about issues like confidentiality or you would like to know what happens next (after you have reported your concerns), do one of the following: 

For professionals

To make a referral, please complete the multi-agency referral form .

Example of a completed multi-agency referral form [].

Prevent referrals for children and young people

The Prevent Duty [] requires that if there are concerns that an individual may be vulnerable to radicalisation around violent extremism then these concerns need to be shared so that appropriate support is provided in order to safeguard those individuals. A partnership referral form has been prepared to make sure that it is easier to outline and submit the referrals. 
To make a Prevent referral for a child or young person a referral form [] needs to be completed.

Right Help Right Time

Coventry Safeguarding Children Partnership (CSCP) [] has produced new Right Help Right Time Guidance []. The guidance helps practitioners to understand and assess risk consistently and appropriately so that children and families can receive the right help at the right time. It will help professionals to identify the support that a child, young person or family might need and how best this support can be provided. It replaces all previous threshold guidance or levels of need documents.

Report an adult safeguarding concern

If you see/are told something or it doesn’t seem right, report it to Adult Social Care on:

024 7683 3003 or email []
Out of office hours: Emergency Duty Team on 024 7683 2222
In an emergency always call the emergency services on 999

Telling us about harm or mistreatment if you are a provider or professional []

What is Safeguarding Adults?

Safeguarding means protecting the health and wellbeing of adults at risk and enabling them to live safely, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and reduce both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect.

An adult is anyone over the age of 18. Abuse of adults who need care and support is where someone hurts, harms or causes them distress. Abuse is unacceptable; everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to live free of abuse or mistreatment, whether they live on their own, live with others, live in a care/nursing care home, attend a day centre or are in hospital.

What is an adult at risk?

Adults at risk could include:

  • Those with learning/physical disabilities, mental health needs including dementia, long-term illness/condition and those lacking the mental capacity to make decisions
  • Older people who are frail due to ill health or disability

The adults may be perceived as an easy target and may be less likely to identify abuse themselves or to report it. People with communication difficulties can be particularly at risk because they may not be able to alert others. Sometimes people may not even be aware that they are being abused and abusers may try to prevent access to the person they abuse.

See the CSAB  []introductory guide [] aimed at volunteers and members of our communities.

What is abuse?

Abuse can be:  (For more information and examples please click on the link)

The CSAB have also produced a range of One Minute Guides on various topics []

What to do if you want to share a concern

If you see/are told something or it doesn’t seem right, report it to Adult Social Care on:

024 7683 3003 or email []
Out of office hours: Emergency Duty Team on 024 7683 2222
In an emergency always call the emergency services on 999

Telling us about harm or mistreatment if you are a provider or professional []

Don't worry if you are not sure. All reports will be looked into and no action will be taken unless it is needed.

What will I be asked?

We will ask you for some information about;

  • yourself (unless you wish to remain anonymous)
  • the person you are concerned about
  • the alleged abuser
  • what you have seen or heard

We will let you know who needs to be told.

What will happen next?

We will make sure the vulnerable adult is safe and we will contact anyone we need information from. An important part is talking to the adult concerned, unless it would put them at risk. A decision will be made within 48 hours about what action is needed. Further enquiries would then be made to look into the issue. The length of time this takes will depend on the issues involved and the person’s wishes. Depending on the nature of the concern and the person affected we may refer you to someone else for help. We will tell you what is happening as soon as possible

My Safeguarding Experience

Information about how you will be involved in the safeguarding process [].

Adult Social Care Direct

Speech impairment, deaf or hard of hearing? You can call using Next Generation Text (also known as Text Relay and TypeTalk): Call 18001 024 7683 3003

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street

Telephone: 024 7683 3003 [tel:02476833003]

Telling us about harm or mistreatment if you are a provider or professional

If you are a provider (residential home, nursing home, day care, care agency, housing with care establishment) or a professional or council worker, please complete the online Adult Social Care referral form [].  

Any updates on concerns already raised should be discussed with the allocated social worker, if you are unsure who that is contact Adult Social Care Direct: 024 7683 3003 or email [].

If you have reported a concern about abuse or neglect and you are dissatisfied with the decision not to investigate, please view our Escalation Policy. []

Also see:

Making Safeguarding referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

If you dismiss or remove a person from regulated activity (or may have done so had they not left) because they have harmed or posed a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult, then you have a legal duty to refer the person to the DBS.

The DBS's role is to make barring decisions about people who are referred to it (usually following an employer's disciplinary process), with the possible consequence of the person being barred from working or volunteering with children and/or vulnerable adults. The DBS uses a fair, thorough and consistent process that ensures that the decision it reaches is both proportionate and appropriate to the risk the person poses to children or vulnerable adults.

The DBS website [] provides a range of materials to help you to consider or make a referral. This includes a Referral Form, Referral Guidance, FAQs and a series of factsheets.

You may also contact the DBS Helpline on 03000 200 190 for information or advice about making a referral.

Disciplinaries, suspensions or redeployment? Do you know your referral duty?

Do you know that when you have cause to move or remove an employee (or may have done had they not resigned) because they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult - or there was a risk of harm you have a legal duty to refer the person to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)?

We know that many 'regulated activity' employers make referrals, but we believe that some employers might need more information to support them when safeguarding allegations arise.

Also see: People in Position of Trust (PoT) []

CSAB policies and procedures

Coventry Safeguarding Adults Policies and Procedures []

People in Positions of Trust (PoT)

Concerns and allegations about a person who works with adults with care and support needs

Under the Care Act 2014 Statutory Guidance, the Coventry Safeguarding Adults Board (CSAB) is required to establish and agree a framework and process for any organisation to respond to allegations against anyone who works, (in either a paid or an unpaid capacity,) with adults with care and support needs.

The Care Act 2014 Statutory Guidance is clear that the local authority, Police and Clinical Commissioning Group and those providing universal care and support services, should have clear policies in line with those from the Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) for dealing with allegations against people who work, in either a paid or unpaid capacity, with adults with care and support needs. Such policies should make a clear distinction between an allegation, a concern about the quality of care or practice, or a complaint.

The CSAB framework applies to current and historical concerns and allegations about:

  • a person who works with adults with care and support needs in a position of trust, whether an employee, volunteer or student (paid or unpaid); and,
  • where those concerns or allegations indicate the person in a position of trust poses a risk of harm to adults with care and support needs.

These concerns or allegations could include, for example, that the person in a position of trust has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed an adult or child;
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, an adult or child;
  • behaved towards an adult or child in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to adults with care and support needs.

The CSAB framework does not include complaints or concerns raised about the quality of the care or professional practice provided by the person in a Position of Trust (PoT). Concerns or complaints about quality of care or practice should be dealt with under the relevant agency or individual complaint, competence or representations processes.

The CSAB Adult Position of Trust Framework and Toolkit [] supports the implementation of the Position of Trust process for Coventry, in accordance with the West Midlands Positions of Trust Framework [].

See also: Safeguarding Adults Positions of Trust Privacy Notice [].

Support for victims and carers

What is advocacy?

Advocacy in all its forms seeks to ensure that people, particularly those who are most vulnerable in society, are able to:

  • Have their voice heard on issues that are important to them
  • Defend and safeguard their rights
  • Have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions re being made about their lives

Advocacy is a process of supporting and enabling people to:

  • Express their views and concerns 
  • Access information and services 
  • Defend and promote their rights and responsibilities
  • Explore choices and options

The Care Act says that the Council is responsible in some circumstances to provide independent advocacy to help people who have substantial difficulty saying what they want to say.

Who can act as an independent advocate?

An Independent Advocate must be suitably experienced and qualified and most importantly have the ability to work independently of the Council, and/or its partners. The independent advocate must not be someone who is paid to provide care or treatment for the person or an organisation that is paid by the council to carry out assessments, care and support plans or reviews.

Can a friend or relative be an advocate?

If there is an appropriate individual the person trusts to help them say what is important to them and who knows their wishes they can choose for them to be their advocate. That person cannot be someone they pay to provide their care or treatment or who supports them professionally e.g. their social worker.

  • All adults ages 18+ with an appearance of need for Care and Support
  • Who would have substantial difficulty in being involved in their assessment; preparation of care & support plan and / or review
  • Who are subject to a Safeguarding enquiry or Review (SAR)
  • and where there is no other appropriate individual to support them

Where can I go for Independent Advocacy in Coventry?

Voiceability []

Voiceability is our provider for independent advocacy services (Care Act, IMHA & IMCA).
E-mail []
Phone 0300 303 1660

Coventry Carers' Centre (family carers) []

3 City Arcade,
Tel: 024 7663 3788

For general advocacy support or if you are a member of public you can seek support at:

The Coventry Law Centre []

My Safeguarding Experience

Information about how you will be involved in the safeguarding process. []

Also see: Advocacy Factsheet []