If a child reports that abuse has happened there are a number of organisations that can be contacted but, the first point should be the police. NSPCC can also be contacted if there are concerns that a child may be suffering abuse.
Social services also have a role to play and will be there to support families at all stages of the process. They may offer their services to make sure that the child is safe or may recommend other services which may be of assistance. They will work alongside the police Child Protection Unit if there are suspicions that a crime has been committed.
If there are fears that the child is at serious risk of harm through abuse or neglect then social services will usually arrange a child protection conference. If it is thought that the child cannot remain safely at home then the relevant local authority can apply for a court order, though efforts will be made to accommodate the children with friends or relatives of the parents.
New powers are currently being discussed in Parliament which, if passed, will hopefully help in the protection of children from sexual abuse. Sexual harm prevention orders will, if introduced, place restrictions upon a person convicted or cautioned of a sexual offence and sexual risk orders will place restrictions upon suspected individuals. These can apply to anyone who is believed to pose a risk of causing sexual harm in the UK or abroad and the restrictions may include a limit to their internet use and on them being alone with a child under the age of 16.
The prevention orders would last for a minimum of five years while the risk order has a two year minimum; both would have no maximum duration and could only be implemented with the support of the magistrate’s court.