This guideline covers recognising and responding to abuse and neglect in children and young people aged under 18. It covers physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect. The guideline aims to help anyone whose work brings them into contact with children and young people to spot signs of abuse and neglect and to know how to respond. It also supports practitioners who carry out assessments and provide early help and interventions to children, young people, parents and carers.

Clinical features of abuse and neglect (including physical injury) are covered in NICE’s guideline on child maltreatment. Recommendations relevant to both health and social care practitioners appear in both guidelines.

NICE has also produced guidelines on children’s attachment, harmful sexual behaviour and domestic violence and abuse.

Recommendations

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  •  All practitioners whose work brings them into contact with children and young people, including those in early years, social care, health (including staff in A&E and health drop-in settings), education (including schools), the police, the voluntary and community sector, youth justice services and adult services (sections 1.1 to 1.3 only)

  • Practitioners with specific roles in assessing risk and need, providing early help and interventions to children, young people, parents and carers

  • Commissioners and managers of services for children and young people

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

Next review: October 2020 

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.


Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)