Safeguarding Policy

Author: Nadia Guglieri
Date: September 2022
Date of next review: September 2023

UNCRC Article 3: Everyone who works with children should do what is best for each child.

UNCRC Article 19: You should not be harmed and should be looked after and kept safe. 

UNCRC Article 36: You should be protected from doing things that could harm you.

This policy makes reference to and is supported by other school and CYPES Policies. All school policies and procedures reference safeguarding, where appropriate.

This policy applies to all adults, including volunteers, working in or on behalf of the school. We recognise our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all pupils. Everyone working in or for our school shares an objective to help keep children and young people safe by contributing to:

  • providing a safe environment for children and young people to learn and develop in our school setting 
  • identifying children and young people who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, and taking appropriate action with the aim of making sure they are kept safe both at home and in our school setting


Jersey College Prep is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all its pupils. Each pupil’s welfare is of paramount importance. 


Policy Principles

  •  The welfare of the child is paramount
  • All children, regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity, have equal rights to protection.
  • All staff have an equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may suggest a child is at risk of harm.
  • Pupils and staff involved in child protection issues will receive appropriate support.


Policy aims

  • To provide all staff with the necessary information to enable them to meet their child protection responsibilities
  • To ensure consistent good practice
  • To demonstrate the school’s commitment with regard to child protection to pupils, parents and other partners
  • To contribute to the school’s safeguarding portfolio


We recognize that:

  • Some children may be especially vulnerable to abuse
  • Children who are abused or neglected may find it difficult to develop a sense of self-worth and to view the world in a positive way. Whilst at school, their behaviour may be challenging
  • Children can be victims and perpetrators of abuse
  • Children who harm others may have been abused themselves
  • Allegations can be made against staff, however careful and safe our recruitment practices


This policy will be updated annually and known to everyone working in the school. It will be available on the school’s website and is referenced in the staff handbook. It will also be available to parents on request.


Named personnel with designated responsibility for Safeguarding


Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
Deputy D Safeguarding Lead (DDSL)
Mrs Catherine Precious
Ms Nadia Guglieri

Safeguarding Team

Team Members
Mrs C Precious (DSL Headteacher)
Ms. N. Guglieri (DDSL and Deputy Head)
Mrs. C Scott(Digital Safeguarding)
Mrs. D Chinniah (Wellbeing Support)
Mrs. J Hair (Wellbeing Support)
Ms L Coles (ELSA)
Mrs Rachel Winston-Jones (Records Management)

Partnership with Parents

The school shares a purpose with parents to educate and keep children safe from harm and to have their welfare promoted. We are committed to working with parents positively, openly and honestly. We ensure that all parents are treated with respect, dignity and courtesy. We respect parents’ rights to privacy and confidentiality and will not share sensitive information unless we have permission or it is necessary to do so in order to protect a child.

Partnerships with others 

Our school recognises that it is essential to establish positive and effective working relationships with other agencies that are partners of the Safeguarding Partnership Board and Education Department. There is a joint responsibility on all these agencies to share information to ensure the safeguarding of all children.

Safer Recruitment and Selection

The school pays full regard to the CYPES Policies and guidance on Safer Recruitment. We ensure that all appropriate measures are applied in relation to everyone who works in the school and who is therefore likely to be perceived by the children as a safe and trustworthy adult. This includes volunteers, supervised volunteers and staff employed by contractors.

Safer recruitment practice includes scrutinising applicants, verifying identity and academic or vocational qualifications, obtaining professional references, checking previous employment history and ensuring that a candidate has the health and physical capacity for the job. It also includes undertaking interviews and checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). At least one member of each recruitment panel will have attended safer recruitment training.

Safer recruitment means that applicants will:

  • complete an application form online which includes their employment history and explains any gaps in that history
  • provide two referees, including at least one who can comment on the applicant’s suitability to work with children
  • provide evidence of identity and qualifications • if offered employment, be checked in accordance with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) regulations as appropriate to their role
  • if offered employment, provide evidence of their right to work in Jersey


The school and the central HR team will also:

  • verify the preferred candidate’s mental and physical fitness to carry out their work responsibilities
  • obtain references for all shortlisted candidates, including internal candidates 
  • carry out additional or alternative checks for applicants who have lived or worked outside the UK.


All new members of staff will undergo an induction that includes familiarisation with the school’s safeguarding policies and identification of their child protection training needs. All staff know where to locate the relevant child protection policy and safeguarding policies.

Newly appointed staff are assigned a mentor for the induction period. It is the responsibility of the mentors to familiarise new staff with procedures and policy, which affect the health and safety of all at school but especially the children.

The school only uses supply staff approved by CYPES who have been through safer recruitment checks. Trainee teachers will be checked either by the school or by the training provider, from whom written confirmation will be obtained.

Volunteers and Work Experience Candidates

Volunteers, including work experience candidates will undergo checks commensurate with their work in the school and contact with pupils. Under no circumstances will a volunteer who has not been appropriately checked be left unsupervised or be allowed to engage in regulated activity.

Supervised volunteers

Volunteers who work only in a supervised capacity and are not in regulated activity will undergo the safe recruitment checks appropriate to their role, in accordance with the Education Department’s risk assessment process and statutory guidance. 

Contractors 

The school checks the identity of all contractors working on site and requests DBS checks and barred list checks where required by statutory guidance. Contractors who have not undergone checks will not be allowed to work unsupervised or engage in regulated activity.

Safe Practice

Our school will comply with the current Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults who work with Children and Young People and ensure that information in this guidance regarding conduct is known to all staff, visitors and volunteers who come into the school.

Safe working practice ensures that pupils are safe and that all staff:

  • are responsible for their own actions and behaviour and should avoid any conduct which would lead any reasonable person to question their motivation and intentions
  • work in an open and transparent way
  • discuss and/or take advice from school management over any incident which may give rise for concern;
  • work with other colleagues where possible in situations that could be open to question
  • record any incidents or decisions made
  •  apply the same professional standards regardless of diversity issues
  • be aware of information-sharing and confidentiality policies • are aware that breaches of the law and other professional guidelines could result in criminal or disciplinary action being taken against them


Support, Advice and Guidance for Staff

Staff will be supported by Catherine Precious (Headteacher) or Nadia Guglieri (Deputy Headteacher). Staff can contact the MASH team on 449213. Out of hours, contact the duty social worker via Police Headquarters, 612612.

Helping children to keep themselves safe

Children are taught to understand and manage risk through our personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), emotional literacy, social skills, spiritual development and sex and relationships lessons. Our approach is designed to help children to think about risks they may encounter and with the support of staff work out how those risks might be reduced or managed.

Children are taught how to conduct themselves and how to behave in a responsible manner. Children are also reminded regularly about e-safety, the risks of sharing content and images online and tackling bullying, including cyber bullying procedures.

The school continually promotes an ethos of respect for children, and pupils are encouraged to speak to a member of staff of their choosing about any worries they may have. They are reminded that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, but that they will be listened to, heard and informed of what steps can be taken to protect them from harm and that feedback will be sought, so that their views about actions are known.

The school will, in most circumstances, endeavour to discuss all concerns with parents about their children. However, there may be exceptional circumstances when the school will discuss concerns with MASH/Social Services and/or the Police without parental knowledge (in accordance with the CYPES Child Protection procedures). The school will, of course, always aim to maintain a positive relationship with all parents.


School Training and Staff Induction

The school’s designated safeguarding lead will undertake and organise child protection training for designated safeguarding leads and whole staff refresher training at three yearly intervals.

All other school staff, including non-teaching staff, will undertake appropriate induction training and safeguarding/child protection training to enable them to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding effectively. All staff (including temporary staff, volunteers, supervised volunteers and staff employed by contractors) are provided with the school’s safeguarding policy and informed of the school’s safeguarding arrangements on induction.

Child Protection/Self Harm/Drugs

Teachers and other adults in school are well placed to observe any physical, emotional or behavioural signs which indicate that a child may be suffering significant harm. The relationships between staff, pupils, parents and the public which foster respect, confidence and trust can lead to disclosures of abuse, and/or school staff being alerted to concerns.

JCP has a detailed Child Protection Policy. The Child Protection policy should be referred to by staff for more detailed information and guidance.

Accurate records will be made as soon as practicable and will clearly distinguish between observation, fact, opinion and hypothesis. Safeguarding history includes child protection chronologies, incident reporting and first aid events and these histories are kept in accordance with the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018 and retention schedules.

Bullying

While bullying between children is not a separate category of abuse and neglect, it is a very serious issue that can cause considerable anxiety and distress. At its most serious level, bullying can have a disastrous effect on a child’s wellbeing and in very rare cases has been a feature in the suicide of some young people.

All incidences of bullying, including cyber-bullying and prejudice-based bullying should be reported and will be managed through our Counter Bullying Policy and procedures. All pupils and parents are made aware of the procedures on joining the school and the subject of bullying is addressed at regular intervals in PSHE education. If the bullying is particularly serious, or the tackling bullying procedures are deemed to be ineffective, the Headteacher and the SLT members involved will consider implementing child protection procedures. The school has a designated Counter-Bullying Lead.

Domestic Abuse

All Government of Jersey schools are now part of a safeguarding protocol, which aims to improve outcomes for children and families affected by domestic violence and abuse.

This scheme has been designed to provide early reporting to schools of any domestic abuse incidents that might have an impact on a child that attends their school. This scheme is run in partnership between the States of Jersey Police, the Education Department and all schools.

All public agencies currently share information where there are safeguarding concerns or risk of harm to children and the Police currently share information on all incidents of domestic abuse in Jersey with the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub.

To support the welfare of our children this information sharing is being extended. During the school term, the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead, will be informed when any domestic abuse incident has been reported to the police and one of our pupils was in the household.

This information will be used to ensure the school is able to provide appropriate support to students who may be upset or worried about what has happened. The information will remain confidential and shared only on a strictly need-to-know basis, for example with the class teacher.  

E-Safety/Digital Safeguarding

The school recognises that its pupils will use mobile phones and computers at some time. Despite the published age restrictions, our pupils increasingly use electronic equipment on a daily basis to access the internet and share content and images via social networking sites.

Unfortunately, some adults and young people will use these technologies to harm children. The harm might range from sending hurtful or abusive texts and emails, to grooming and enticing children to engage in sexually harmful conversations, webcam photography or faceto-face meetings. Pupils may also be distressed or harmed by accessing inappropriate websites that promote unhealthy lifestyles, extremist behaviour and criminal activity.

The school’s e-safety procedure explains how we try to keep pupils safe in school and protect and educate pupils in the safe use of technology.

Cyberbullying and sexting by pupils will be treated as seriously as any other type of bullying and will be managed through our anti-bullying procedures. Serious incidents may be managed in line with our child protection procedures.

Many pupils own or have access to handheld devices and parents are encouraged to consider measures to keep their children safe when using the internet and social media at home and in the community. Pupils are not permitted to use personal mobile devices during the school day. Pupils are asked to leave mobile phones with their teacher. Any child found using a mobile phone in school will have it removed by the member of staff until the end of the day and parents will be informed. Please refer to the Mobile device Policy for further information and guidance.

Chatrooms and social networking sites are the most obvious sources of inappropriate and harmful behaviour, which pupils are not allowed to access in school. Some pupils will undoubtedly ‘chat’ on mobiles or social networking sites at home and parents are encouraged to consider measures to keep their children safe when using social media.

Children and teachers are required to sign a Responsible Use Agreement (RUA) to use the network or a device at school.  

Photography and Images

Occasionally we may take photos of the children at school. We may use these images within classrooms, in corridors and in our school’s information booklet or in other printed publications, as well as our website. We may also make video recordings of school events such as residential trips or assemblies.

Parents are asked to keep any photographs they take of their children in school to personal use only. Parents are reminded at each event that photographs of school children should not be uploaded to social networking sites, such as Facebook.

From time to time, our school may be visited by the media who will take photographs or video /film footage. Pupils will often appear in these images, which may be used in the J.E.P or on televised news programmes.

The vast majority of people who take or view photographs or videos of children do so for entirely innocent, understandable and acceptable reasons. Sadly, some people abuse children through taking or using images, so we must ensure that we have some safeguards in place.

To protect pupils:

  • School images that are for use outside of school are anonymous unless specific permission has been received from parents.
  • Parents are asked to sign a consent form upon entry to school stating whether they are happy for such images and videos to include their child. Teachers are informed of pupils who do not have parental consent.
  • If outside agencies or companies are used to photograph or film pupils, a data processing agreement between the school and the individual is signed.
  • Ensure pupils are appropriately dressed.
  • Encourage pupils to tell us if they are worried about any photographs that are taken of them.
  • Only school staff iPads/cameras will be used to take photos of pupils. Staff are advised that they are not to use their own devices.
  • Photos are stored on school devices and then transferred to our shared photos folder. Data and information are stored/transferred securely and retention schedules comply to current Data Protection Laws.


Attendance

Excellent attendance is expected of all children. If a child is absent without notification, school has a policy of phoning home to ascertain each child’s whereabouts. The school works closely with the Education Welfare Officer whenever a child’s attendance and punctuality causes concern. Positive measures are put in place to encourage children to attend regularly and punctually.

Children Missing Education (CME) and Children Missing from Education (CMfE)

Attendance, absence and exclusions are closely monitored. A child going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or radicalisation. The school will monitor unauthorised absence and take appropriate action including notifying our Education Welfare Officer, particularly where children go missing on repeated occasions and/or are missing for periods during the school day.

The school will refer all cases of concern to their Education Welfare Officer (EWO) or Safeguarding Lead at CYPES. Where parents inform our school that they wish to 'home educate' their child, they must contact CYPES directly and follow their policy before this can be agreed.

Behaviour

Good behaviour is essential in any community and at JCP we have high expectations for this. We aim to promote positive behaviour in accordance with our positive relationships and behaviour policy. All staff need to recognise that children suffering from abuse, or where abuse has happened historically, may have challenging behaviour at times which they must be supported with.

First Aid

The school’s admin team oversee First Aid. In addition, there are many trained members of staff who support where necessary and appropriate. There are a number of first aid kits situated around school. Each class has a First Aid cupboard, labelled with a white cross on a green background. The cupboard door also lists medical information for the pupils in that class and any care plans for members of that class. Gloves are to be kept inside and any medication relevant to the Care Plans. When a child is seriously unwell, or has suffered an accident in school or on the playground, there is a protocol for staff to follow:

  • a trained first aider is consulted
  • the incident is logged in the accident book
  • for head injuries parents are contacted
  • if there is any doubt at all a parent is contacted
  • if an injury requires Accident and Emergency treatment an online accident form is completed and sent to CYPES.


Racial tolerance and Equal Opportunities

The school will work hard to promote equality and harmony by preventing and challenging racism or other intolerance. We promote equality through our Core Values and in our RE and PSHE curriculum, as well as through assemblies. The children take part in discussions designed to raise awareness and address prejudices. At JCP we promote inclusion.

School Security

JCP provides a safe and secure environment for pupils and staff to work in. However, the school is only as secure as the people who use it. Therefore, all people on the site have to adhere to the rules, which govern it. Laxity can cause potential problems to safeguarding, therefore:

  • External gates remain shut throughout the day, except at the start and end of each day
  • The main entrances are locked and accessed via Key Card entry during the day.
  • Visitors and volunteers must only enter through the main entrance and after signing in at the office. A visitor’s badge will be issued.
  • Children will only be allowed home with adults with parental responsibility or confirmed permission.
  • Children should never be allowed to leave school alone during school hours
  • Staff should store valuables in their classroom or the staffroom
  •  Staff should challenge unidentified / unknown people on school premises
  • Adults and parents visiting the school should use staff toilets only and not children’s toilets. Staff will be vigilant in monitoring this 
  • Staff are responsible for locking doors and securing windows in their classroom at the end of the school day
  • Should a child leave the school premises without permission, then the SLT must be informed immediately. Parents will then be informed of the incident and the police if necessary. 


School trips

Pupils may be taken out on visits to enhance their learning. These trips are carefully planned for to minimise risk and safeguard our pupils. Detailed advice on trips is contained within the Educational Visits Policy.

Traveling to and from school

Some older pupils walk or cycle from school unaccompanied by a parent or carer. If this is the case a letter must be written by the parent to the school explaining this. Pupils cycling unaccompanied to school should hold the Cycling Proficiency certificate.

Welcoming visitors

It is assumed that visitors with a professional role i.e. the School Nurse or members of the police already have relevant clearance but the office will always check this before admittance is granted and check on this where necessary before access is granted. All contractors are required to sign the Property Log Book, in accordance with JPH guidelines.

Whistleblowing

If members of staff ever have any concerns about people working, paid or unpaid, they have a professional duty to inform the management accordingly. This can be done in writing or verbally, but staff should be prepared to discuss issues in the confidence that any such matter will be dealt with sensitively and with the necessary degree of confidentiality. See Compliments, Complaints and Concerns Policy and CYPES Whistleblowing Policy.

Extended School and Off-Site Arrangements

Where extended school activities are provided by and managed by the school, our own safeguarding policy and procedures apply. If other organisations provide services or activities on our site we will check that they have appropriate procedures in place, including safer recruitment procedures. When our pupils attend off-site activities, including day and residential visits and work related activities, we will check that effective safeguarding arrangements are in place.

Confidentiality and Data Protection

The school will operate with regard to Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018 and follow current CYPES policies. 

  • 'Where there is a concern that the child may be suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm, the child’s safety and welfare must be the overriding consideration’. This may involve sharing information with the police and social care.
  • All staff will understand that child protection issues warrant a high level of confidentiality, not only out of respect for the pupil and staff involved but also to ensure that being released into the public domain does not compromise evidence.
  • Staff should only discuss concerns with the DSL, DDSL or Headteacher (depending on who is the subject of the concern). That person will then decide who else needs to have the information and they will disseminate it on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
  • Any member of staff can contact the MASH team if they are concerned about a child.


Pupil Information 

The CYPES record-keeping procedures and Data protection Policy are followed at all times. The school is open about how we use pupil information in our Privacy Policy. This is regularly updated. In order to keep children safe and provide appropriate care for them, our school requires accurate and up to date information regarding: 

  • names and contact details of persons with whom the child normally lives 
  • names and contact details of all persons with parental responsibility (if different from above) and emergency contact details (if different from above) 
  • details of any other persons authorised to collect the child from school
  • any relevant court orders in place including those, which affect any person’s access to the child (e.g. Residence Order, Contact Order, Care Order, Injunctions etc.) 
  • if the child is or has been subject to a child protection or care plan 
  • name and contact detail of G.P. 
  • any other factors which may impact on the safety and welfare of the child 


All child protection documents will be retained confidentially on our secure Safeguarding database (My Concern). These records will be transferred to any school or setting the child moves to, clearly marked ‘Child Protection, Confidential, for attention of DSL or electronically through My Concern (Jersey Schools). https://www.jerseycollegeforgirls.com/jc-privacy-policy/


Roles and Responsibilities

Our Headteacher will ensure that:

  • The policies and procedures adopted by the school are fully implemented, and followed by all staff;
  • Sufficient resources and time are allocated to enable the designated person and the deputy to carry out their roles effectively;
  • All staff and volunteers feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice in regard to children, and such concerns are addressed sensitively and effectively in a timely manner in accordance with the Education Department Whistle Blowing Policy;
  • All pupils are provided with opportunities throughout the curriculum to learn about safeguarding, including keeping themselves safe online.

 

Senior Members of Staff with Designated Responsibility for Child Protection will:

Referrals

  • Refer cases of suspected abuse or allegations to MASH and maintain a record of all referrals.
  • Act as a source of support, advice and expertise within the school and have access to the latest guidance from CYPES and the Safeguarding Partnership Board.
  •  Liaise with the Headteacher to inform them of any issues and ongoing investigations and ensure there is always cover for this role.


Training

  • Recognise how to identify signs of abuse and know when it is appropriate to make a referral.
  • Have knowledge of the escalation policy, the CYPES Designated Safeguarding Lead, conduct of a child protection case conference and be able to attend and contribute to these.
  • Ensure that all staff have access to and understand the school’s Safeguarding Policy.
  • Ensure that all staff have induction and refresher training.
  • Keep detailed, accurate and secure written records.
  • Attend any relevant or refresher training courses every three years.


Raising Awareness

  • Ensure the Safeguarding Policy is updated and reviewed annually and work with the Headteacher regarding this.
  • Ensure parents are made aware of the safeguarding policy which alerts them to the fact that referrals may be made and the role of the establishment in this to avoid conflict later.

Appendix 1 - Definitions

As in the Children Acts 1989 and 2004, a child is anyone who has not yet reached his/her 18th birthday.

Harm means ill-treatment or impairment of health and development, including, for example, impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another; Development means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development; Health includes physical and mental health; Ill-treatment includes sexual abuse and other forms of ill-treatment which are not physical.

Abuse and Neglect are forms of maltreatment. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting; by those known to them, or, more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.

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 fabricates the symptoms of or deliberately induces illness in a child.

Sexual Abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Emotional Abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment 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. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying 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 maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

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. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:

  • provide adequate food and clothing, shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
  • protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
  • ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caretakers)
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment
  • It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs. 


Children who may be particularly vulnerable 

Some children may have an increased risk of abuse. It is important to understand that this increase in risk is due more to societal attitudes and assumptions or child protection procedures 11 that fail to acknowledge children’s diverse circumstances, rather than the individual child’s personality, impairment or circumstances. Many factors can contribute to an increase in risk, including prejudice and discrimination, isolation, social exclusion, communication issues and reluctance on the part of some adults to accept that abuse can occur.

To ensure that all of our pupils receive equal protection, we will give special consideration to children who are:

  • disabled or have special educational needs
  • young carers
  • affected by parental substance misuse, domestic violence or parental mental health needs
  • asylum seekers
  • living away from home
  • vulnerable to being bullied, or engaging in bullying
  • living in temporary accommodation
  • live transient lifestyles
  • living in chaotic and unsupportive home situations
  • vulnerable to discrimination and maltreatment on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexuality
  • at risk of sexual exploitation
  • do not have English as a first language
  • at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • at risk of forced marriage
  • at risk of being drawn into extremism.


This list provides examples of additionally vulnerable groups and is not exhaustive. Special consideration includes the provision of safeguarding information and resources in community languages and accessible formats for children with communication needs. 


Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship. But it isn’t just physical violence – domestic abuse includes any emotional, physical, sexual, financial or psychological abuse. It can happen in any relationship, and even after the relationship has ended. Both men and women can be abused or abusers.

Witnessing domestic abuse is really distressing and scary for a child, and causes serious harm. Children living in a home where domestic abuse is happening are at risk of other types of abuse too. Children can experience domestic abuse or violence in lots of different ways. They might:

  • see the abuse
  • hear it from another room
  • see a parent's injuries or distress afterwards
  • be hurt by being nearby or trying to stop the abuse.


Domestic abuse can happen in any relationship, and it affects young people too. They may not realise that what's happening is abuse. Even if they do, they might not tell anyone about it because they're scared of what will happen, or ashamed about what people will think.

Appendix 2 - What to do if a child discloses

When a child tells me about abuse s/he has suffered, what must I remember?

  • Stay calm.
  •  Do not communicate shock, anger or embarrassment.
  • Reassure the child. Tell her/him you are pleased that s/he is speaking to you.
  • Never enter into a pact of secrecy with the child. Assure her/him that you will try to help but let the child know that you will have to tell other people in order to do this. State who this will be and why.
  • Tell her/him that you believe them. Children very rarely lie about abuse; but s/he may have tried to tell others and not been heard or believed.
  • Tell the child that it is not her/his fault.
  • Encourage the child to talk but do not ask "leading questions" or press for information.
  • Listen and remember.
  • Check that you have understood correctly what the child is trying to tell you.
  • Praise the child for telling you. Communicate that s/he has a right to be safe and protected.
  • Do not tell the child that what s/he experienced is dirty, naughty or bad.
  • It is inappropriate to make any comments about the alleged offender.
  • Be aware that the child may retract what s/he has told you. It is essential to record all you have heard.
  • At the end of the conversation, tell the child again who you are going to tell and why that person or those people need to know.
  • As soon as you can afterwards, make a detailed record of the conversation using the child’s own language. Include any questions you may have asked. Do not add any opinions or interpretations.


Immediately afterwards

Clear indications or disclosure of abuse must be reported to MASH without delay, by the Head Teacher or the Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Children making a disclosure may do so with difficulty, having chosen carefully to whom they will speak. Listening to and supporting a child/young person who has been abused can be traumatic for the adults involved. Support for staff will be available from the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Head Teacher.