It is important that if a young person discloses an allegation of abuse that you can respond in the correct way. A child who is being neglected might not realise what’s happening is wrong. And they might even blame themselves. If a child talks to you about neglect it’s important to:
listen carefully to what they're saying
let them know they've done the right thing by telling you
tell them it's not their fault
say you'll take them seriously
don't confront the alleged abuser
explain what you'll do next
report what the child has told you as soon as possible.
This second safeguarding unit helps you learn how to report and record any incidents where abuse or neglect is suspected or alleged.
Where abuse is suspected
In the event that an Adult Volunteer suspects, from observation of a young person’s behaviour or physical condition, that abuse has occurred the matter will be brought to the attention of their Group Coordinator who should arrange for the matter to be discussed with the CPO for the PSYV National Team. Subsequent to discussion with the line manager and/or the member of staff, the CPO will decide on the appropriate course of action, which may involve one of the following:
• Continuing to observe the situation meantime
• Gathering additional information regarding the perceived problem
• Where appropriate, making enquiries with other relevant sources such as parents etc.
• Establishing an informed explanation for the young person’s condition or behaviour.
Where the indications and information would suggest that abuse might have occurred, the CPO should seek independent advice regarding the course of action that should be taken in the circumstances.
Where abuse is alleged or disclosed
Where a young person confides in an Adult Volunteer and discloses that abuse has taken place, the Adult Volunteer should:
Not commit themselves to keeping a secret
Give the young person his or her full attention, looking at the young person directly but in a non-threatening manner
Be aware that the young person may have been threatened
Not ask leading questions or “put words in the mouth” of the young person
Not press for more information than the young person is prepared to give
Accept what the young person tells them
Reassure the young person that he/she has done the right thing to tell you
Let the young person know what will be done next, who is going to be told and why
Reassure the young person by finishing on a positive note.
As soon as possible after the discussion with the young person, the member of staff should make notes of exactly what the young person has said including the date, time and location of the discussion. This should be recorded in the Child Protection Incident Form (see below). Care should be taken to write down (in the words of the young person) what was said and not to make observations or interpretations about what was said.
Without unnecessary delay the member of staff should inform their Group Coordinator who should inform the Child Protection Officer of the situation. It is not the role of the Adult Volunteer to investigate the disclosure. The Group Coordinator will take this matter to the national child protection officer for further investigation. To raise an incident the Group Coordinator will collect this information to send to the Child Protection Officer. Please complete the form to the best of your ability.
If the matter concerns the Group Coordinator, you should file the incident form directly with the Child Protection Officer at the National Office, Tulliallan.
to report an incident