Making a Referral following the Identification of Child Abuse, Child Safety and Welfare Concerns
CHILD:    08099724453
ABUSE:   080997CHILD
Plot 46, Wale Taiwo Close, off Odunsami Street, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos State Nigeria
Tel: +2348187612407 +234 8185993659   (UK) +44 7957455573

Making a Referral following the Identification of Child Abuse, Child Safety and Welfare Concerns

Duty to Refer

Practitioners, employees, managers, helpers, carers and volunteers in all agencies must make a referral to Children’s Social Care if it is believed or suspected that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer Significant Harm (There are no absolute criteria on which to rely when judging what constitutes significant harm. Sometimes a single violent episode may constitute significant harm but more often it is an accumulation of significant events, both acute and longstanding, which interrupt, damage or change the child’s development).
Harm is defined as the ill treatment or impairment of health and development.   Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Emotional Abuse and Neglect are all categories of Significant Harm.
All Suspicions or allegations that a child is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm should result in a referral, followed by a Safeguarding Enquiry and Assessment (SEA).
Safeguarding Enquiry and Assessments are undertaken of the needs of individual children to determine what services to provide and action to take. They may be carried out:

  • To gather important information about a child and family
  • To analyse their needs and/or the nature and level of any risk and harm being suffered by the child
  • To decide whether the child is a Child in Need of support from other organisations and/or is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm (direct intervention from government, other NGOs, welfare, child protection processes)
  • To provide support to address those needs to improve the child’s outcomes or to make them safe.  (One Assessment may be undertaken per child).


When there are concerns about Significant Harm, then the referral must be made immediately. The greater the level of perceived risk, the more urgent the action should be. The suspicion or allegation may be based on information, which comes from different sources.

  • It may arise in the context of the Partnership Intervention Family Assessment (PIFA)

By working with our partners, we have developed a whole family assessment called the Partnership Intervention Family Assessment (PIFA). It enables us to assess all family members so that we can identify the right support for families and work together with other professionals to support them.

The PIFA will be used in joint investigations and assessments with our partner agencies working with children and families, where additional support may be required from them.
Resources and forms are available for professionals on our website, providing guidance, tools, templates, details of training and information on other services that can help families.

  • It may come from a member of the public, the child concerned, another child, a family member or professional staff, regarding a single incident or a build-up of smaller concerns.
  • The information may also relate to harm caused by another child, in which case both children, i.e. the suspected perpetrator and victim, must be referred.

The suspicion or allegation may relate to a parent, practitioner, volunteer or anyone caring for or working with the child – if so, (See Allegations against Persons who Work with Children (including Carers and Volunteers Procedure).
A referral must be made even if it is known that a ministry or an organisation is already involved with the child/family.
Advice and consultation may be sought about the appropriateness of the referral; if the case is open, from the allocated social worker. Alternatively advice may be sought from a Designated Senior Person or Named Practitioner from within the referrer’s own agency.  Ultimately, from the ‘Director for Social Work and Child Protection’
Where consultation is sought and it is concluded that this meets the criteria for a referral the information provided so far must be regarded and responded to as a referral, and the referrer advised accordingly. The referrer must confirm their referral in writing within 24 hours.