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If you suspect a child is living in a difficult situation

A child sitting on a bench by water with their back to the camera.

mostphotos.com/Børge Sandnes

One of Social Services’ most important tasks is ensuring that children and young people in difficult social circumstances are protected and cared for.

Those working in schools, pre-schools, leisure and recreation, health and medical care and other sectors have a duty to notify Social Services if they suspect that a child is living in a difficult situation.

As a private individual you are not obliged to notify Social Services, but you have perhaps more a moral responsibility to report any suspicions.

What does Social Services do when concerns are reported?

When Social Services receives a report, a social worker will make contact with the family.
The details of the report are discussed with the family and an investigation is carried out to see if and how Social Services can help the child and the family.

For reasons of confidentiality, we are unable to let the person who has reported their concerns know the family’s situation unless the family gives its permission.
We can, however, let them know that we are investigating the child’s circumstances.

Social Services have a duty to investigate anonymous reports.
The difficulty with anonymous reports is that we only have the information provided by letter or phone.
The social worker is unable to contact the person reporting to get more details.
Reports are often formulated in such general terms that it is not clear in what way the child may be suffering.

How to report your concerns

Contact the principal social worker. You can call the social work team any weekday, 8.30 am–9.30 am.
At other times, please contact Social Services reception.

The rules on reporting obligations are contained in chapter 14, section 1 of the Social Services Act.

“Any person who becomes aware of something that may mean the Social Welfare Committee needs to take action to protect a child should report this to the Committee.

Authorities and agencies whose work involves children and young people, other authorities and agencies in health and medical care, other investigative forensic psychiatry services, social services and the prison service are obliged to notify the Social Welfare Committee immediately if in their work they become aware of something that may mean the Social Welfare Committee needs to take action to protect a child.
This also applies to those employed in such authorities and agencies.

The reporting obligation also applies to a person or persons working in a professionally-conducted private business involving children and young people or in some other professionally-conducted private business in health and medical care or in the sphere of social services.
In the case of family counselling, paragraph three applies.

Persons working in family counselling are obliged to notify the Social Welfare Committee immediately if in their work they become aware that a child is being sexually exploited or is being subjected to physical or psychological maltreatment in the home.

Authorities, agencies, officials and professionals identified in the second paragraph are obliged to provide the Social Welfare Committee with any information that may be of significance for the investigation into a child’s need for protection.

In the case of notification from the Ombudsman for Children, the regulations in Section 7 of the Ombudsman for Children Act apply.
Act reference 2003:407."

Contact details

Social Services contact line (Socialtjänsten)

0248-70 220

Outside office hours, call emergency social services on
112.