To provide support for vulnerable children
Are responsible for co-ordinating and implementing a protection plan to safeguard children
To make enquiries to enable them to decide what action they should take to safeguard the child or young person’s welfare
Deal with courts when a child or young person is thought to be in immediate danger
Act as a point of contact for children where there are child protection concerns
Responsible for co-ordinating the assessment of the child or young person’s needs, the parent’s capacity to keep the child safe and the wider family circumstances
Have arrangements in place so that they may be contacted directly by parents of family members seeking help, concerned friends and neighbours and by professionals and statutory and voluntary agencies.
* This is a voluntary organisation and it has placed upon it “the duty to ensure an appropriate and speedy response in all cases where children are alleged to be at risk of abuse or neglect in any form”
* Have a responsibility to identify and prevent cruelty to children
* Contributes to multi-agency training and particularly multi-disciplinary training
* The NSPCC is authorised to initiate proceedings to protect children under the terms of the Children Act 1989
* Operates a helpline service advising adults and professionals on safeguarding matters and where necessary, liaises with local statutory agencies to refer children at risk of abuse
* Operates Child Line which provides a telephone helpline across the UK for all children and young people who need advice about abuse, bullying or other concerns
Although all the above may be involved when a child or young person has been abused or harmed, this may not always be the case for every individual. Below is a brief outline of the investigation process in which the agencies above take part and when.
Consultation – Discussion and advice on child protection concerns.
Referrals – Formal requests to make child protection enquiries on behalf of a child or young person who may be suffering.
Initial Assessment – Record/file checks to clarify if a child or young person is in need of protection. This involves a consultation with parents/carers, family and the child/young person. However, if a child is put at further risk by professionals consulting their family, the family is not informed of the initial assessment.
Strategy discussion – Whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child/young person is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, a strategy discussion will take place which will involve local authority children’s social care, the police, health services and other bodies where appropriate (e.g. school) and the referring agency. The strategy discussion should be convened and led by local authority children’s social care and those participating should be sufficiently senior so that they are able to contribute to the discussion and make decisions on behalf of their own agencies.
* the child or his/her representative
* the child’s family members
* foster carers
* local authority children’s social care staff who have been involved in an assessment of the child and the family
* Professionals involved with the child/young person e.g. school staff, health visitors, paediatricians, and early year’s staff
* Professionals involved with the parents or other family members e.g. family support services, GP’s and mental health.
* Professionals with expertise in the particular type of harm suffered by the child/young person
* Professionals involved in the investigation e.g. the police
• * Know when and how to refer a child/young person to social services when they are concerned about abuse, neglect or its likelihood
* Be informed immediately when other members of the primary health care team become concerned about the welfare of a child/young person
* Discuss their concerns with colleagues who have experience in child protection matters where there is clinical uncertainty
* Share information with social services when enquiries are being made
* Attend child protection conferences and make available relevant information about a child and its family
* As employers, GP’s are responsible for their staff and must ensure that practice nurses, practice managers, receptionists and any other staff who they employ, are given child protection training
• * Need to be alert to signs and symptoms of abuse/neglect/harm
* Conscious of parents/carers who visit different hospitals
* Conscious of parents/carers changing their version of events of an injury or if the child or young person’s version of events is different
* Notify the child/young person’s GP immediately of any visits to an A&E department when a child is 5 years or under or with children up to the age of 18 where there is cause for concern
• * Midwives and health visitors are well placed to indentify risk factors to a child during pregnancy, birth and early years
• * Identify children at risk of significant harm by being alert to parent’s attitudes and behaviours during pregnancy and early parenthood which give rise for concern
• * Monitor children’s development and identify if there is a reason for a child failing to thrive
• * Notify social services if concerns are raised during the antenatal period about the future of the unborn child and they believe the child may be at risk from significant harm, so that a pre-birth child protection case conference can be considered.
• * The police have a duty and responsibility to investigate criminal offences committed against children and young people
* To investigate whether a crime has been committed, identify those responsible and secure evidence for any criminal proceedings
* Liaise with social services when an offence against a child/young person has been committed
* They have emergency powers to enter premises and to ensure the immediate protection of children and young people who are believed to be suffering, or at risk of suffering, significant harm
* Officers attending domestic violence incidents should be aware of the effect of such violence on any child or young person within the household
* Make sure they handle all investigations of child abuse with sensitivity
* Have access to information through IMPACT Nominal Index (INI) which enables them to share information quickly and efficiently with other forces
• All schools and colleges SHOULD:
• * have a responsibility for their pupils and should take all reasonable steps to ensure that a child/young person’s welfare is safeguarded.
* Have their own policies and procedures in place for safeguarding children and young people
* Be able to identify children/young people who are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm
* Create and maintain a safe environment for children and young people
* Have a child protection policy that sets out the procedures that should be followed whenever there are concerns about a child/young person
* A schools child protection policy should also address how children will be made aware of risks, how children will be helped to recognise risks and how they will be given the skills to cope through the use of the preventative curriculum
* Trained to recognise and notice outwards signs of possible abuse or neglect
* Refer any concerns to the designated child protection officer within their setting, who in turn would report to social services where necessary
* Play a role in assisting social services by referring concerns and providing information which will contribute to child protection investigations
* Liaise with social services where there are concerns about abuse or neglect
* Can review, gather and evaluate situations as to why, how, when the child or young person became at risk/harmed/abused
* Counselling to allow a child or young person to open up about their abuse/harm
* Provide psychological evaluations on both the child and parent/carers
* Recommendations on whether the child should have psychological treatment
* Recommendations for other services that would help create a safe environment for the child or young person
* The role of a psychologist is that of a professional expert who strives to maintain an unbiased, objective stance.