Allegations against professionals
Any information that suggests that a person who works (either in a paid capacity or as a volunteer) in a position of trust with children has harmed a child, committed a criminal offence against a child or behaved in an unsuitable way should be dealt with using this procedure.
All such allegations or concerns must be treated seriously and with an open mind.
These procedures also apply where an allegation is made against professionals in their personal lives.
What to do with allegations against professionals
Any member of staff who receives an allegation of this nature must inform their manager. The person receiving the allegation should follow the guidance set out in the page on dealing with a disclosure.
If the allegation is about a member of staff in the employ of the Department then the matter will be referred to the senior management team.
If the allegation is not about a member of staff in associated with the Department then your line manager will advise on the next steps.
If a child has clearly been harmed
If there is evidence that a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm there is a need for immediate action to be considered in line with child protection procedures.
Keeping yourself safe (safe care)
As a professional within the Department, you are in a position of trust in relation to all the children and vulnerable adults that you have contact with. Whilst following the suggestions below is not a guarantee that an allegation will not be made against you, it will ensure that the chances are very much reduced.
- If you are speaking with a child alone, make sure that any known issues of previous abuse (actual or suspected) are considered, and what this may therefore mean for the child. Explore with the child whether they would be happy for another professional to be present and if so who that would be (e.g. foster carer)
- When seeing a child alone, where possible ensure that doors are open (e.g. if in the child's bedroom) or there is another professional (e.g. foster carer) who has line of sight to where you are
- Ensure that if there is physical contact with children, this should be with the child's consent and consideration of any known issues around previous abuse (known or suspected)
- Avoid play fighting, tickling and wrestling games
- If a child is in appropriately dressed (e.g. in their underwear) ask that they put some clothes on before you speak with them.
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