When writing your procedures, use the sections below as headings and then write your own responses underneath them.
At a minimum you should include:
Purpose and aim of the procedures
Do they apply to everyone in the organisation?
For example, they should include all those in contact with children, even if it
isn’t their main job to look after them – like the caretaker, for example.
A description of the different categories of abuse
These are physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and neglect. You can learn more about the types of abuse from the
NSPCC definitions and signs of child abuse fact sheet.
How to recognise the signs of abuse
Give brief examples of the signs and indicators which might give cause for concern.
How to respond to signs or suspicions of abuse
Include details of who should tell whom, what the named person will do, and the actions to take, including contact numbers. It should be clear who staff, parents and children should talk to if they are worried.
How to respond to allegations of abuse against a member of staff, other worker or volunteer. Explain who should tell whom, and what action to take, including contact numbers.
How to respond to a child telling you about abuse
Include what to do and say.
How to respond to allegations of abuse against someone not working in the group
This may be a parent or carer, another child, school teacher or anybody else.
How information will be recorded
Include how information should be recorded and by whom, timescales for passing it on, and where it should be stored confidentially.
The legal principle that the “welfare of the child is paramount”
Privacy and confidentiality should be respected where possible but if doing this leaves a child at risk of harm then the child’s safety has to come first. Remember:
- Legally, it is fine to share information if someone is worried about the safety of a child.
- Not everyone needs to know when a concern or worry is raised. This respects the child’s, family’s and/or staff’s rights to privacy. So only people who need to know should be told about it. Otherwise there might be gossip and rumours or other people may be genuinely concerned.
- It is fine to say that a concern has been raised and it is being dealt with following the group’s procedures.
It is not child protection but I am still concerned
Sometimes concerns about a child may not be about abuse. You may be concerned that a child or family need some help in making sure all the child’s needs are met to address a particular problem. Examples of this might be where a child is suffering because of poverty, getting into trouble in the community, or has a disability and needs extra help. In these instances you can get them help by using the Common Assessment Framework. It is appropriate for your procedures to make reference to this.