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What do Social Services mean when they say my child is at risk of harm?

View profile for Chelsea  Harris
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There are 4 main types of Harm that the Social Services may think your child is at risk of suffering or is already suffering. These 4 types are: Emotional harm, Physical harm, Sexual harm and Neglect.

Your child can be referred to Social Services through a number of agencies such as education, health and the police. An Initial Assessment will be completed by a social worker that will usually come into your home to speak to you and may ask to speak to your child. If there are no concerns that arise then the case will be closed to Social Services. If the Social Worker has any concerns and believes that your child may be at risk of suffering any type of harm then the Social Services involvement with your family will continue. For more information about the next stages of the Local Authority involvement please click here.

Emotional Harm

Emotional harm is any type of harm that involves the continual emotional mistreatment of a child. This could be a child being made to feel rejected or being bullied within their home and also includes a child witnessing domestic violence between their parents or family members. There are lots of different examples of emotional harm; to find out more, click here.

Physical Harm

Physical harm is where a child is being physical hurt or harmed on purpose. This is something that can be done by parents, siblings, family members or even friends of the family. If a child is being physically hit and nothing is being done about this then this child is suffering from physical abuse. There are lots of different examples of what physical harm is; to find out more, click here.

Sexual Harm

Sexual harm is where a child is being forced or tricked into sexual activities. Very often they do not understand that what is happening is a form of abuse. There are 2 types of sexual abuse, contact and non-contact. Contact abuse is where a child is made to have physical contact with the abuser and non-contact abuse often happens online and there is no physical contact made. For more information regarding what sexual harm is, click here.


Neglect is where a child is continuously not having their needs met at home. Such as not having clean clothes, bedding, enough food, missing health appointments and not attending school. This is a failure to meet a child’s basic need and is the most common form of harm that many children suffer from. There are different types of neglect: physical, educational, emotional, medical for more information relating to the different types of neglect, click here.

Here at Johnson Astills Solicitors, our Care Department can offer advice, assistance and representation. Should you require representation then please contact us at either our Leicester office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough Office on 01509610312. Alternatively, please email us your query on and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.