Child Protection

The Role of the Garda

The Garda Síochána accepts a responsibility for protecting all our citizens, and makes a special effort in those cases where the person is particular vulnerable. They are especially concerned to ensure that children should be safe, and free from all forms of criminal abuse. In achieving those goals it is vital that adults appreciate this concern, and that children understand that the Garda is here to help.


If cases are not reported, then one of the main deterrents to future offending is absent. Reporting is often the first step towards ending these crimes. It may also help the child realise their "innocence" and the "guilt" of the other party. In any circumstance where abuse is suspected, we would urge that all information is given to the Garda Síochána as soon as possible. These matters will be dealt with discretely and sensitively.

Children at Play

When children are at play, they are generally beyond your immediate supervision. Here are some points that you should raise with them, and which they should remember:-

  1. They are always safer playing in groups than alone.
  2. They should not play in secluded or dark places.
  3. They should always tell you where they are playing and play only in that place.
  4. They should not involve unknown adults in their game.

Children with Adults

While we often talk of the dangers of strangers, many abusers are actually known to their victims. Before entrusting children into the care of adults, assure yourself that they are trustworthy and reliable.

  1. Use recommended baby sitters whenever possible.
  2. Be alert to danger signs, for example if your child exhibits strange or reluctant behaviour in the presence of a particular adult.
  3. Warn children against talking to adults that they do not know.
  4. Children should be cautioned against going off with adults without their parents' permission, even when they are known.

Signs of Abuse

There are very many signs that may indicate abuse. They are not conclusive in themselves, but should give grounds for suspicion. Some of the main indicators are listed below.

  1. The child has injuries that it cannot explain, or explains inappropriately.
  2. The child exhibits fear in the presence of certain individuals, and does not want to be in their company.
  3. The child appears withdrawn, or exhibits abnormal behaviour that is markedly out of character.
  4. The child appears to be underdeveloped, constantly sickly, ill-kept or malnourished.

Listening to Children

Sometimes, it can be difficult for a child to know who to go to for help and assistance. Parents should always provide a "listening ear" for their children. Children should know that the right thing to do, always, is to tell a parent what has happened. They should not fear criticism for being foolish, or disobeying your previous instructions. Of course, it should be made clear that under no circumstances are they to be blamed.

Protecting Children

Please let your children know that they can always go to any member of the Garda Síochána if they need help. The Gardaí can be contacted 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Click for information about other bookletsThe information on this webpage is also available in a free booklet, available from your local Garda Station. If you live in Prospect Manor, the booklet is also available from your Local Area Co-ordinator.

Other booklets are also available free of charge.

The Garda is a Friend