Child protection is part of the safeguarding agenda that focuses on preventing maltreatment and protecting children at risk of neglect or abuse. Under the Children Act 1989, CSSW have a legal duty to investigate and take any action to protect children where there are concerns that they are at risk of suffering significant harm, which is defined as:


Neglect: failure to provide basic care to meet the child’s physical needs, such as not providing adequate food, clothing or shelter; failure to protect the child from harm or ensure access to medical care and treatment.


Physical abuse: causing physical harm or injury to a child.


Sexual abuse: involving children in sexual activity, or forcing them to witness sexual activity, which includes involving children in looking at or the production of pornography.


Emotional abuse: failure to provide love and warmth that affects the child’s emotional development; psychological ill treatment of a child through bullying, intimidation or threats.