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Child Protection Issues for Teachers

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1 Child Protection Issues for Teachers

2 Objectives To understand the need for child protection processes
To be aware of the current legal requirements, national policies and guidance on the safeguarding and promotion of the well-being of children (TS Part Two) To appreciate how to identify and support children and young people whose progress, development or well-being is affected by changes or difficulties in their personal circumstances, and when to refer them to colleagues for specialist support (TS 5, TS 8, TS Part Two)

3 Prior to the 1970s the level of uncertainty about which children were in danger and in need of state protection was accepted as a problematic feature of child care work; professionals were not held to account when a child was killed by its parents The death of Maria Colwell marked a change in society’s attitude with a growing expectation that the professionals who work with children and young people should be able to predict which ones were at a high risk of serious harm and protect them. The Munro review of Child Protection – Part One: A Systems Analysis (2010)

4 In 2009 – 10 there were 607,000 referrals to children’s social care, and 11% increase on the previous year. Of these, 141,500 core assessments took place and 35,700 child protection plans were drawn up. 27,800 children started to be ‘looked after’. It is clear that the majority of referrals do not warrant a full child protection investigation but they still have to be managed within the social services’ systems.


6 Legal frameworks Local Government Act 2000
The Children Act 1989 and 2004 Homelessness Act 2002 Education (No 2) Act 1986 et al Employment Law (various) Sex Offenders Act 1997 Data Protection Act 1998 Human Rights Act 1998 Disability and SEN Act 2001 The Sex Offences Act 2003 Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

7 Relevance for teachers
Schools are at the centre of the Government’s plans to address the issues of children’s needs and wellbeing. Schools should be working in partnership with services for children. Teachers have a responsibility towards their pupils, i.e. ‘a duty of care’ for the time they are in the classroom (or other learning environment) together. Teachers have the opportunity to observe more easily behavioural changes in a pupil and any physical damage.

8 Definitions Child Protection child in need significant harm
abuse and neglect Designated senior (person) teacher for Child Protection Local Safeguarding Children Boards Child Protection Plans (formerly CP Register) Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

9 Child in need A child in need is defined as a child under the age of 18 who: needs local authority services to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health and development needs local authority services to prevent significant harm to health or development is disabled

10 The Concept of Significant Harm
The Children Act 1989 introduced the concept of significant harm as the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of children. The local authority (Social Services) is under a duty to make enquiries, or cause enquiries to be made, where it has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer significant harm.

11 What is significant harm?
There are no absolute criteria on which to rely on when judging what constitutes significant harm. Consideration of the severity of ill-treatment may include: the degree and the extent of physical harm; the duration and frequency of abuse and neglect; the extent of premeditation, degree of threat and coercion; sadism, and bizarre or unusual elements in child sexual abuse.

12 Each of these elements has been associated with more severe effects on the child, and/or relatively greater difficulty in helping the child overcome the adverse impact of the ill-treatment. Sometimes, a single traumatic event may constitute significant harm, e.g. a violent assault, suffocation or poisoning.

13 What is significant harm? Cont’d
More often, significant harm is a compilation of significant events, both acute and longstanding, which interrupt, change or damage the child’s physical and psychological development. Some children live in family and social circumstances where their health and development are neglected. For them, it is the corrosiveness of long-term emotional, physical or sexual abuse that causes impairment to the extent of constituting significant harm. In each case, it is necessary to consider any ill-treatment alongside the family’s strengths and supports.

14 Abuse and Neglect Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting This may by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger.

15 Physical abuse Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child whom they are looking after. (This situation is commonly described using terms such as factitious illness by proxy or Munchausen syndrome by proxy.)

16 Emotional Abuse Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill-treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

17 Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

18 Neglect Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

19 Contextual Factors To understand and establish significant harm, it is necessary to consider a range of factors: the family context; the child’s development within the context of their family and wider social and cultural environment; any special needs, such as a medical condition, communication difficulty or disability that may affect the child’s development and care within the family; the nature of harm, in terms of ill-treatment or failure to provide adequate care; the impact on the child’s health and development; and the adequacy of parental care. It is always important always to take account of the child’s reactions, and his or her perceptions, according to the child’s age and understanding.

20 Sources of Stress for Children and Families
Social Exclusion Domestic Violence The Mental Illness of a Parent or Carer Drug and Alcohol Misuse

21 Practical information
What to be aware of Child Protection processes School policy Designated teacher

22 Body maps Accidental Non-accidental
eyes ears mouth neck shoulder upper arms inner arms stomach genitals hands (backs) thighs buttocks feet (top) calf (back) crown (forehead) cheeks bony spinal protuberances elbow hip hands (palms) knees shins feet (bottom) possible sites of injuries in children

23 The Munro Review Announced June key question: What helps professionals make the best judgement they can to protect a vulnerable child? 3 principles underpinning the government’s approach to the reform of child protection: early intervention; trusting professionals and removing bureaucracy so they can spend more of their time on the frontline; greater transparency and accountability.

24 The Munro Review of Child Protection: Final Report – A child-centred system (2011)
Principles of an effective child protection system: The system should be child centred; The family is usually the best place for bringing up children and young people; Helping children and families involves working with them; Early help is better for children;

25 Continued... Children’s needs and circumstances are varied so the system needs to offer equal variety in its response; Good professional practice is informed by knowledge of the latest theory and research; Uncertainty and risk are features of child protection work; The measure of the success of child protection systems, both local and national, is whether children are receiving effective help.

26 Dfes (2006)What to do if you‘re worried a child is being abused London Dfes
Arthur, J., & Cremin, T. (2010) (2nd Ed) Learning to Teach in the Primary School Abingdon Routledge p The Munro Review (2011) available at

27 Final thoughts Most children: Are physically and mentally healthy
Gain from good-quality educational opportunities Live in a safe environment and are protected from harm Experience emotional well-being Feel loved and valued, and are supported by a network of reliable and affectionate relationships

28 Continued…. They also: Become competent in looking after themselves and cope with everyday living Have a positive image of themselves, and a secure sense of identity including cultural and racial identity Develop good inter-personal skills and confidence in social settings Child protection is necessary for the minority who may not.

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