Child protection and safeguarding

How and why social workers become involved in child protection

Social workers receive information (referrals) from other professionals and the public if they are concerned that a child is being harmed or at risk of being harmed.

Social workers then have a duty by law to investigate the situation or circumstances that have led to the referral.  They will:

  • complete an assessment/child protection investigation in partnership with the police and talk to the child or young person, family members and visit the family home.
  • contact all agencies that are directly involved with the child and ask them for information about the child's welfare
  • in some situations involve the police who also have a duty to investigate circumstances where it is believed a child has been harmed

There are a number of categories of harm that social workers investigate and these can include physical, emotional or sexual abuse and/ or neglect. These categories include children witnessing domestic violence.