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Advice for family and friends

This page is for family and friends and has information and advice about what to do if you are worried about someone under the age of 18.


Through our work, The Bradford Partnership aims to provide the parents, carers, family and friends of children and young people – as well as the general public and local businesses  – with the information and advice they need to help us achieve our vision and also to know what to do if they are worried about a child or young person.

This section provides some useful guidance and signposting for parents and carers to help keep children and young people safe. 


We all have a role to play in protecting children and young people from child abuse and neglect, but research shows that currently a third of people who suspect child abuse don’t act on their suspicions.

If you have concern that a child is being harmed as a result of abuse or neglect, you must not keep these concerns to yourself 


In the Bradford district, these are the numbers that you can ring for advice and to make a referral:

  • During office hours (8.30am – 5pm Monday to Thursday, 4.30pm on Friday) call Children’s Social Services Initial Contact Point on 01274 435600
  • At all other times, Social Services Emergency Duty Team on 01274 431010
  • If you have reason to believe that a child is at IMMEDIATE RISK OF HARM, contact the police on 999
  • For all general enquiries, please contact Children’s Specialist Services on 01274 435600

You need to ensure that you speak to the appropriate organisations who can listen to and record your concern, and then take appropriate action.

If a child or young person is in immediate danger then dial 999 and ask for police assistance.

Many children who go missing stay with friends or family members, but there are some who do not have or don’t access these support systems, or who are forced to stay in environments that are harmful to their safety and well-being, and so end up engaging in activities that may put them at risk.

What to do if you think someone is missing or has run away
Every situation is different and there are no set rules about when a child should be considered missing; however if you are concerned about a very young child you should contact the emergency services immediately.

For young people, if you have any doubts about whether to formally report them missing, for example, when a teenager fails to return home after a time they have agreed, contact the police. There is no time limit on when you can make a report. You don’t have to wait 24 hours.

If your child is missing or has run away from home, you must contact the Police.

For further information visit our missing from home or care page.

The warning signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect can vary from child to child. Disabled children may be especially vulnerable to abuse, because they may have an impaired capacity to resist or avoid abuse. They may have speech, language and communication needs which may make it difficult to tell others what is happening.

By understanding the warning signs, you can respond to problems as early as possible. It is important to recognise that a warning sign doesn’t automatically mean a child is being abused. There are several signs of child abuse or neglect which people can look out for:

  • Appearance  such as frequent unexplained injuries, constant poor hygiene, matted hair, unexplained gifts, or a parent regularly collecting children from school when drunk.
  • Behaviour – such as demanding or aggressive behaviour, frequent lateness or absence from school, avoiding their own family, misusing drugs or alcohol, or being constantly tired.
  • Communication – such as sexual or aggressive language, self-harming, becoming secretive and reluctant to share information or being overly obedient.

For further information about reporting abuse please visit our report abuse page.