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What Can I Do?

If it's an Emergency

If it’s an emergency and you suspect a child is at serious risk, or a crime against a child has been committed this must be reported.


When it's not an Emergency

A lot of the time it may not be obvious that a child is at risk, you may need to rely on a hunch or feeling uncomfortable about a situation.  Don’t wait until you are certain, always put a child first.

Taking action to protect a child doesn't always mean extreme measures. There are lots of things you can do which may help to prevent abuse even occurring or stop it very early.

1.   STEP UP - Do something personally to help

Be prepared to do something to make a child’s life better or safer.  It can take just one person to make a real difference.

It is not easy at any time to get involved, especially when your concerns are with family or friends. By lending a hand or a listening ear at an early stage you may prevent something more serious:

  • Learn to recognise the signs
  • Provide a listening ear
  • Offer help or babysit for a stressed parent
  • Give helpful or supportive information
  • Explain that violence is not OK
  • Talk it over with an experienced person
  • To learn how to prevent harm to children, contact Child Matters 07 838 3370.
  • To talk over your concerns confidentially you can call CYF for advice on 0508 326 459

2.   STEP OUT – Look for community support for the family

If you don’t know a person experienced in Child Protection, or you don’t feel that you can personally help, you can ring Child, Youth and Family on 0508 326 459 to talk over your concerns confidentially with a trained social worker. They will give you advice on what to do.

There are also many other organisations that support children and families.  You can contact any of the following organisations for help: 

  • Barnardos  
  • Family Start  
  • Family Works
  • Salvation Army
  • Plunket
  • For a full list of agencies see the family services directory
  • Child Abuse Prevention Parent Helpline - The Child Abuse Prevention Parent Helpline is the only nationwide parenting helpline in NZ that is available seven days a week.  They have no time limit on calls and their friendly telephone support workers are able to offer not only immediate help but also information, referral, and on-going support to those affected by child abuse, concerned about the welfare of a child or needing family or parenting support. They can be reached on 0800 568 856.

3.   SPEAK UP - Report your concerns

If you are still concerned about the safety of the child, or if Steps 1 and 2 are not appropriate in your situation, you can make an official report of concern.