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Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

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By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

Discuss on our forums

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

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Non-accidental injury (NAI)

This describes an injury to a child, which has been inflicted by a parent, carer or other person.

If a doctor or other health worker thinks a child has this kind of injury they must tell children’s services. The police will also be informed. This is because if the injury is not accidental, a crime may have been committed. A full investigation about the injury and how it was caused will then take place.

Where there is concern that a child has this type of injury, it is highly likely care proceedings will be issued. In most cases, children’s services will ask the court to make an interim care order. The child is unlikely to be cared for by anyone suspected of causing any injury whilst investigations are ongoing.

Sometimes, it is not clear who has caused the injury to a child. During care proceedings, the court will try to determine, on the balance of probabilities, who the perpetrator is from a group of people.

If a parent, carer or other person (for example a childminder) is suspected of causing an injury to a child, they should seek urgent legal advice from a specialist children law solicitor. As the police are also likely to become involved, urgent legal advice from a criminal law solicitor should also be sought.

For information on:

  • How to find a solicitor who specialises in children law, see: solicitor.
  • What happens during care proceedings where a child may have suffered a non-accidental injury, see: physical abuse.
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