What can I do?

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


When it's not an emergency

It may not be obvious that a child or young person 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 the child or young person first.

Taking action to protect a child or young person 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.

STEP UP - Do something personally to help

Be prepared to do something to make a child or young person’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, but 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 okay
  • Talk it over with an experienced person

To learn how to prevent harm to children and young people, contact Child Matters on 07 838 3370.

To talk over your concerns confidentially you can call Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children for advice on 0508 326 459

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 you can personally help, you can ring Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children on 0508 326 459 to talk over your concerns confidentially with a trained social worker.

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

  • Barnardos - New Zealand children's charity, Barnardos offers social support services; and guidance and support to parents, whānau and communities to help them build broader knowledge and resilience and early learning and childcare to under-fives.
  • Family Start - Family Start is an intensive home visiting programme, focused on tamariki. The programme works with whānau to improve a child’s health, learning and relationships. It also looks at the child's environment, their family or whānau circumstances, and their safety.
 Family Start brochure.
  • Family Works - Family Works services support people experiencing challenging or difficult times to help them make positive changes in their lives. This includes a range of social services for children, young people, families and whanau.
  • Salvation Army - committed to providing safe and secure environments for every child and young person we work with, the Salvation Army empower children and young people, as well as help parents and caregivers be the b