What can I do if I know or suspect that a child is being abused?

Child abuse is any form of maltreatment that is violent or threatening for a child. This includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and neglect. If you suspect that a child you know is being abused, there is always something you can do.

Suspected child abuse

If you suspect that a child you know is being abused, you can take one or more of the following actions:

Look out for signs of child abuse. If you have the feeling that something is going on, you might well be right. You are probably not the only one who has noticed something, but you might be the first person to do something about it.

Talk to the child or to the child’s parents. Understand that child abuse is often the result of desperation. You can help just by being there for the family. Or by offering the child a listening ear.

You can call Veilig Thuis anonymously for advice. Their Freephone number is: 0800-2000. A Veilig Thuis worker will discuss the situation with you and decide what steps to take next. If necessary, you can report your suspicions of child abuse.

The website Vooreenveiligthuis.nl (in Dutch) provides more information about what to do if you suspect child abuse. The website provides tips and advice, telephone numbers for social workers and links to organisations like the Youth Care Office and the Child Protection Board.

Child Helpline (Kindertelefoon)

Children who want to talk about problems they are having at home can call or chat with a Child Helpline (Kindertelefoon) counsellor. Their Freephone number is: 0800- 0432.

Sexual Abuse Helpline

Children and adults who are victims of sexual abuse can contact the Sexual Abuse Helpline for assistance and advice. Witnesses of sexual abuse or people who want to help someone they know who is the victim of sexual abuse can contact the Helpline with any questions they might have. The telephone number is 0900-999 90 01.

Reporting code for domestic violence and child abuse

If you are a teacher, doctor or social worker and you suspect domestic violence, the Domestic violence and child abuse reporting code will tell you what you must do. Professionals are obliged to follow the code when they identify signs of violence or abuse.