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Child Protection Update

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1 Child Protection Update
Sue Olney

2 What is Child Protection?
No single piece of legislation but many laws, which are subject to continual amendment. Part of ‘safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children’, a term that is included in the Education Act, 2002. Welfare includes: Health and safety Bullying Medical needs and first aid Drug and substance abuse School security

3 Education Act 2002 – section 175
LEAs and schools (including independent and FE establishments) have a statutory duty to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This means: Providing a safe environment for children and young people in their care Being able to identify children and young people who are suffering, or likely to suffer, abuse or neglect Taking appropriate action to make sure those children and young people are kept safe both at home and at school Reporting concerns about a child’s welfare and playing their part in multi-agency work to protect them

4 Abuse and Neglect Someone 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/community setting; by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. Just over 90% of sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone known to the child. Children can be abused regardless of their age, gender, culture, disability, racial origin or sexual identity; Children with special needs are 3 times more likely to be abused.

5 Child Protection Statistics
1 or 2 children die each week as a result of abuse or neglect. In March, 2010 there were 46,705 children in the UK who were the subject of a Child Protection Plan, meaning that these children had suffered or were at risk of suffering from significant harm. Abuse can occur over lengthy periods of time, much of which goes undisclosed at the time it is occurring.

6 Principles of the Children Act
Paramountcy: The child’s welfare is of paramount consideration. Parental Responsibility: The duty of parents to care for their child physically, emotionally and morally. Partnership: Professionals and families to work together for the welfare of children. Participation: Children’s wishes and feelings taken into account.

7 Provision: Section 17 - ‘Child in Need’ Enquiry
Services necessary to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need. A child shall be taken in need if: S/he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him/her of services by the local authority; His/her health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for him/her of such services. S/he is disabled.

8 Protection: Section 47 - Child Protection investigation
Children’s Services must carry out an investigation when they have reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm. A Child Protection Conference may be convened to consider whether significant harm has been reached. If the child is considered to be at continuing risk of harm, s/he will be made the subject of a Child Protection Plan.

9 Determining Abuse Can be a single event, such as poisoning or violent assault, which may constitute ‘significant harm’. More likely to be a compilation of events, both acute and longstanding, which interrupt, change or damage the child’s physical and psychological development. The Children Act 1989 defines ‘harm’ as “ill treatment or the impairment of health or development”. ‘Significant’ is not defined but invites comparison with “…that which could be reasonably expected of a similar child”. #

10 Categories of child abuse
Physical abuse Emotional abuse Sexual abuse Neglect

11 Definition of Physical Abuse
May involve: Feigning the symptoms of ill health in a child or deliberately causing the ill health (Factitious or fabricated illness by proxy) Hitting Shaking Throwing Poisoning Burning /scalding Drowning Suffocation

12 Definition of Neglect: 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 includes parents/carers failing to: Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment) Protection from physical/emotional harm. Ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caregivers) Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may involve the neglect of or lack of responsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs

13 Definition of Emotional Abuse The persistent emotional ill-treatment so as to cause severe and adverse effects on a child’s emotional development. [Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill-treatment although it may occur alone] It involves conveying to the child that s/he is: Worthless Unloved Inadequate Loved only insofar as they meet another persons needs It also involves: Age or developmentally inappropriate expectations The exploitation or corruption of children Seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another (including domestic violence) Serious bullying, causing children to feel frightened or in danger.

14 Definition of Sexual Abuse
Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities - whether or not the child is aware or what is happening. It may include: Physical contact including penetrative acts rape buggery Non–penetrative acts looking at/producing pornographic material watching sexual activity encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways

15 Possible signs of physical abuse
Unexplained injuries or burns, particularly if they are recurrent Refusal to discuss injuries Improbable explanations for injuries Untreated injuries or lingering illness not attended to Admission of punishment which appears excessive Shrinking from physical contact Fear of returning home or of parents being contacted Fear of undressing Fear of medical help Aggression/bullying Over compliant behaviour or a ‘watchful attitude’ Running away Significant changes in behaviour without explanation Deterioration in work Unexplained pattern of absences which may serve to hide bruises or other physical injuries



18 Possible signs of neglect
Constant hunger Poor personal hygiene Inappropriate clothing Frequent lateness or non-attendance at school Untreated medical problems Low self-esteem Poor social relationships Compulsive stealing and scrounging Constant tiredness

19 Possible signs of emotional abuse
Continual self-depreciation Fear of new situations Inappropriate emotional responses to painful situations Self-harm or mutilation Compulsive stealing/scrounging Drug/solvent abuse ‘Neurotic’ behaviour – obsessive rocking, thumb-sucking, and so on Air of detachment – ‘don’t care’ attitude Social isolation – does not join in and has few friends Desperate attention seeking behaviour Eating problems, including overeating and lack of appetite Depression, withdrawal

20 Possible signs of sexual abuse
Bruises, scratches, burns or bite marks on the body Scratches, abrasions or persistent infections in the anal or genital regions Sexual awareness inappropriate to the child’s age – shown, for example, in drawings, vocabulary, games, and so on Frequent public masturbation Attempts to teach other children about sexual activity Refusing to stay with certain people or go to certain places Aggressiveness, anger, anxiety, tearfulness Withdrawal from friends

21 Possible signs of sexual abuse in older children
Promiscuity, prostitution, provocative sexual behaviour Self-injury, self-destructive behaviour, suicide attempts Eating disorders Tiredness, lethargy, listlessness Over-compliant behaviour Sleep disturbances Unexplained gift of money Depression Changes in behaviour Pregnancy – particularly in the case of young adolescents who are evasive concerning the identity of the father

22 Why children don’t tell about abuse
They may not know they are being abused; they may think this happens in all families. If they do know, they may be too ashamed to tell. They may not wish to admit that their families are different. In many cases, the abuser is known and trusted. They are worried they won’t be believed. The abuse is ongoing so it becomes harder to tell. The abuser may have bribed the child or threatened that something terrible will happen if s/he tells. They may have told in other ways. They may think that adults know about the abuse already. People around them may make it difficult to talk. Sexual abuse can make some children feel special. They are confused about the mixed message they are getting.

23 Why children do tell about abuse
The continuation of the abuse becomes unbearable and fear of abuse becomes greater than the fear of what will happen if the child tells. A younger sibling is at risk of or is being abused. The child finds someone who is strong and confident, whom s/he feels can overcome the abuser. A physical injury has occurred that needs medical attention. They have a feeling that someone already knows and will not be horrified at what they have to say. Pregnancy or physical injury is a threat. A change occurs in the child’s support network.

24 Talking to Children: Dos and Don’ts…..
DO be open to anything the child might tell you. DON’T be afraid to talk to the student; however, if you prefer not to do this alone….. DON’T worry about including someone else. DO ask open questions, i.e. ones that do not require a ‘yes’/’no’ answer. DON’T try to investigate or ask leading closed questions. DON’T promise confidentiality or make any other promise you can’t keep. DO explain what you are going to do next. DO pass on the information to the designated person as quickly as possible. DO write everything down as quickly as possible DON’T judge or condemn the alleged abuser.

25 Logging a concern Must be written within 24 hours of disclosure.
Include your name & position and the child’s name & dob. Be as factual as possible; give details of physical injuries. Opinion should be stated as such, with evidence. Parents have the right to read the report. Poor logging can affect the outcome of an investigation.

26 All staff need to know… Who is the designated person(s) in their setting Who to speak to about CP concerns if the designated person is not available How to report and record concerns How to listen and talk to children Who is the CP governor.

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