How do I report a concern
Anyone can report a concern about a child. If you have any concerns about a child you should report it to the Child and Family Agency. A report can be made in person, by telephone or in writing. Any member of the public who has a concern about a child can contact the local social work duty service in the area where the child lives for advice about reporting your concerns.
If a child is in danger outside office hours you can contact the Gardai.
Under The Protection of Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998, so long as you report what you believe is true and it is done in good faith you cannot be sued.
What happens next?
Child and Family Agency social workers based in Local Offices provide support to children and families who are experiencing difficulties; they assess child welfare and protection concerns, support families who are finding it difficult to manage the care of their children, refer families to other support services and find alternative care if the child cannot live at home.
Under Irish law the Child and Family Agency has the authority to assess all reports of child abuse. Assessments are carried out by Child and Family Agency social workers.
If a child is in immediate danger such as being left at home alone, being badly beaten, being sexually abused, then there will be an immediate response. This may involve the child being taken to a safe place until a full assessment is done. A safe place will often be with the extended family. Only in a few cases will a child be placed in temporary foster care or Child and Family Agency residential care. Child and Family Agency social workers work closely with the Gardaí. The Gardaí are in charge of criminal investigations. They gather evidence and send it to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The DPP decides whether to prosecute an alleged abuser. If having made an initial assessment the Child and Family Agency suspects that a child has been wilfully neglected, physically or sexually abused, the Child and Family Agency will formally notify the Gardaí.