If abuse occurs against a child or vulnerable woman, or there is a risk identified, it can be unclear, in our African contexts, who is best to report to. 

Types of reports could include:

  • an internal incident report (for your organisation) 
  • a referral report to social services
  • a referral report to the police
  • a report another external body 

Your policy and procedures should clearly state who to report to in different situations. Who you report to will depend upon local laws and local best practices. Refer to section [Mapping risk in your organisation] when developing your policy. 


If a child or vulnerable young woman is in immediate danger the important thing is to bring her to safety. In many places that would involve calling the police, an ambulance or other emergency services. Your policy will reflect the situation in your context. 

Internal Safeguarding Incident reports

You should have a designated safeguarding lead in your organisation, someone with the authority and ability to act upon what she learns. This person would be known to everyone else as the safeguarding lead and will have received training. 

All incidents should be reported to this person in a standardised way. Here is an example of a safeguarding form that you could use as a template: 

Safeguarding incident report form Word version (115KB) ( 

External Safeguarding Incident reports 

When you develop your safeguarding policy and procedures you need to identify who outside your organisation should be notified if there is a safeguarding concern. You may be legally obliged to report certain issues, or it could be that other organisations are available to help you to find support for young women and girls in need in difficult situations. 

Reflection Questions:

  • Who would you contact if someone was in immediate danger? E.g. was at risk of being attacked or had suffered a serious injury?
  • Who do you currently report incidents to internally?
  • Who do you currently report incidents to externally?
  • Have these policies ever failed? Do you know why?

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