ADVICE TO STAFF ON WHEN TO TAKE ACTION AND HOW
Once you suspect or know of any abuse of any child or vulnerable adult, you should immediately inform the designated person for Safeguarding, which is Tessa Green in person or by telephone. Even if you have only heard rumours of abuse, or you have a suspicion but do not have firm evidence, you should still contact the designated person for Safeguarding to discuss your concerns. You should also contact the designated person for Safeguarding if you know or suspect that a member of staff or student has a previous history of abuse of children and/or vulnerable adults.
If, following your initial contact with the designated person for Safeguarding, it is decided that the matter should be taken further; a written report must be prepared. A written report is essential to prevent any misrepresentation of your findings, and should be sent to the designated person for Safeguarding within 24 hours of the suspicion arising. The report should be factual and should not include opinions or personal interpretations of the facts presented. The report should contain as much detail as possible, including any apparent physical signs of abuse or other circumstances which have led to your suspicions, or the account given to you of abuse by the child or vulnerable adult concerned, as accurately as you are able to record it. The report should be signed, dated and a copy stored in a secure place. If you are unsure about what to write, you can get advice from designated person for Safeguarding.
If a child or vulnerable adult comes to you with a report of apparent abuse, you should listen carefully to the child or vulnerable adult, using the following guidelines. When listening to a child or vulnerable adult, staff must;
- allow the child or vulnerable adult to speak without interruption;
- never trivialise or exaggerate the issue;
- never make suggestions;
- never coach or lead the child or vulnerable adult in any way;
- reassure the child or vulnerable adult, let them know you are glad they have spoken up and that they are right to do so;
- always ask enough questions to clarify your understanding, do no probe or interrogate – no matter how well you know the child or vulnerable adult – spare themselves having to repeat themselves over and over;
- be honest – let the child or vulnerable adult know that you cannot keep this a secret; you will need to tell someone;
- try to remain calm – remember this is not an easy things for them to do;
- do not show your emotions – if you show anger, disgust or disbelief, they may stop talking. This may be because they feel they are upsetting you or they may feel your negative feelings are directed towards them;
- let the child or vulnerable adult know you are taking the matter very seriously; and
- make the child or vulnerable adult feel secure and safe without causing them any further anxiety.
The designated person for Safeguarding will be responsible for recording essential information about each case and for collecting reports and notes as appropriate.
Any detailed information about a case will be confined to the designated person for Safeguarding. Where a referral to an external agency is to be made, the designated person for Safeguarding will advise the Manager(s) and staff reporting the allegations and will be kept informed of the progress of the case on a ‘need to know’ basis.