Child abuse: Worried about a child?

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Key points to remember

  • nobody knows exactly how much child abuse goes on in the community because so much of it is hidden
  • abuse and neglect need to be treated seriously because their effects can be very harmful and may last a lifetime
  • Child, Youth and Family is the government agency with powers to intervene to protect children who are being abused or neglected - you can call them on 0508 FAMILY (326 459)
  • there is a close relationship between child abuse and family violence
  • if you or your children are affected by family violence, call the Family Violence Information Line on 0800 456 450 to find out about the organisations in your area who can help
  • if you or a child are in immediate danger, call the police on 111 within New Zealand (use the appropriate emergency number in other countries) 

What can I do if I'm worried about a child?

  • child abuse is everyone’s problem
  • it affects children and young people, male and female, from all backgrounds and from every religion, race and culture
  • the abuser is usually well known to the child or young person
  • if you need to contact someone urgently because of your immediate concern about the safety of a child, then please phone the police on 111 within New Zealand (use the appropriate emergency number in other countries), or Child Youth and Family on 0508 326 459

If you are worried about the safety of your children, see the following:

If you are worried about a family you know and would like some advice, give Child, Youth and Family a call. They're there to help. Their social workers will be able to listen to your worries, and they are trained to be able to help find solutions to family problems.

The Child, Youth and Family website offers information under the following headings:

The following resources are also available at the Child, Youth and Family website:

This page last reviewed 06 November 2013
© Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Starship Foundation 2005 – 2015
Printed on 03 August 2015. Content is regularly updated so please refer to for the most up-to-date version
Content endorsed by the Paediatric Society of New Zealand