What is Child Protection?
- Child protection means protecting a child from child abuse or neglect.
- Abuse or neglect need not have taken place; it is sufficient for a risk assessment to have identified a likelihood or significant risk of harm from abuse or neglect.
(National Guidance for Child Protection Scotland 2014)
Guidelines for Child Protection
Child Protection is everyone’s responsibility
All staff in Education Services must be:
- Aware of the arrangements for protecting children.
- Alert to children’s needs.
- Clear about their own role in ensuring the safety of children.
Our responsibility goes beyond the definition of child protection.
We have a responsibility to provide education to children to help them protect themselves.
Staff should play a part in the prevention of child abuse and neglect via the curriculum by:
- Raising pupil awareness of risks;
- Developing skills which will help them keep themselves safe;
- Helping them to recognise behaviours in others which may place them at risk; and
- Teaching them how to respond in order to keep themselves safe.
Different Forms of Abuse and Neglect
The following definitions show some of the ways in which a child can be abused but are not exhaustive as individual circumstances of abuse will vary from child to child.
- Physical Abuse – being hit, kick or punched.
- Sexual Abuse – inappropriate sexual behaviour or language by an adult towards a child.
- Emotional Abuse – constantly criticised, ignored, humiliated.
- Neglect – persistent failure to meet a child’s basic or physiological needs; not being properly fed, clothed or cared for or poor hygiene.
Additional areas of concern
- Exposure to domestic abuse
- Children displaying sexually harmful or problematic behaviours
- Female genital mutilation.
- Honour based or forced marriage.
- Child Trafficking.
- Child Sexual Exploitation
All staff should be alert to:
- Unexplained but significant changes to patterns of attendance, attainment or behaviours.
- Something the child says, discloses or choses to confide. Child often take time to seek out and test adults whom they wish to disclose abuse/neglect.
- Concern by other children
- Children and young people living with domestic abuse are at increased risk of significant harm both as a result of witnessing abuse and being abused themselves.
Staff with concerns
Where there is a concern about child abuse, neglect or exploitation staff should:
- Discuss his/her concerns with the Child Protection Co-ordinator immediately (red slip). The CP co-ordinator will decide on an appropriate course of action. (Miss Dunlop)
- Establish with the CP co-ordinator when and how concerns should be recorded/shared including, if and when this information should be shared with parents/carers.
- Ensure they are clear with regards to the establishment policy and procedures.
- Formalise with the Child Protection Co-ordinator what further support the child is likely to need and best this can be met.
Responding to Disclosure / Allegations
Whoever receives the information from the child or other person should:
- Listen carefully, let the child speak.
- Not guarantee confidentiality, whilst explaining the reasons for this.
- Not show disbelief or panic.
- Take the allegations seriously and reassure the child.
- Avoid expressing views on the matter
- Explain that he/she will have to share this information with the Child Protection Co-ordinator.
- Do not question the child – this is the responsibility of agencies trained to carry out investigative interviews with children. Questions inappropriately phrased could be thought to be suggestive and then lead to evidence being inadmissible in possible future criminal proceedings.
- NEVER carry out an investigation or gather any photographic evidence into the allegation- this is not your role.
Reporting Disclosure /CP Concerns
- All instances of disclosure /CP concerns should be reported to the school’s Child Protection Co-ordinator without delay. (Miss Dunlop, HT or DHT if not available)
- If the CP Co-ordinator or DHTs are not available, seek advice from either the Senior Manager (Inclusion) or the Head of Service (Education & Youth Employment) as a matter of urgency.
If neither are available please refer to the Phone Tree which is available in the main office.
CHILD PROTECTION CONTACT LIST
If you have any concerns about a pupil please speak to Miss Dunlop, Child Protection Co-ordinator and/or complete a CP concern report form (red slip) and pass to the office who will ensure she (or a DHT) sees it immediately. Welfare concerns should be recorded on an orange slip and passed to DHTs.