Describe the possible signs, symptoms, indicators or behaviours that may cause concern in the context of safeguarding.
A Person may abuse by either inflicting harm or failing to prevent the harm occurring. Some of the behaviours indicating possible concern with regards to safeguarding children are:
Physical abuse: such as bruises to parts of the body, fingertip bruising (grasp mark), bruises of different ages in the same place. Outline bruises (hand prints, belts or shoes). It could be burns, bites and scars and fractures, poisoning or drowning. Physical harm could also be when a parent/carer makes up medical symptoms or deliberately causes illness in a child/young person
Neglect: such as the child/young person being undernourished, having dirty skin and hair, dirty or soiled clothing, inappropriate clothing for the weather, hunger and stealing food, always being tired, being withdrawn, being left unsupervised inappropriately and not being given any medical care. Neglect may also occur in pregnancy, if the mother is taking illegal drugs or excessive alcohol.
Sexual: abuse such as recurrent urinary infections, genital and rectal itching and soreness, inappropriate behaviour regarding age and ability, inappropriate level of sexual knowledge, and sexual abusive behaviour toward others, lack of trust, regression, become isolated and withdrawn.
Emotional abuse such as low self-esteem, attention seeking behaviour, nervous behaviour, continual rocking, hair twisting, delayed development, and self harming.
Describe the actions to take if a child or young person alleges harm or abuse in line with policies and procedures of own setting
If a child or young person alleges they have been harmed or abused I would listen carefully to them and stay calm. I would not show repulsion or shock. I would show that I believed the child and would reassure them. I would give them time to talk and wouldn’t hurry them. I would take notes ‘in the moment’ and record facts correctly. I would not put words into their mouths or ask closed questions I.E: “What happened, rather than did they hit you?” I would let them talk as much as they wanted to and not interrupt them.
I would not promise the child/young person that I would not tell anyone and explain that I may have to tell the appropriate people. The degree of confidentiality will be governed by the need to protect the child/young person. Depending on the situation I would either call my supervisor or manager to discuss there and then, or go straight back to the office and discuss face to face with my supervisor or manager. I would then type up the report whilst it was fresh in my mind. If the child was not safe or at risk of harm and had to be removed from the home I would wait until the appropriate people attended.
Depending on the severity of the abuse, I may call the police, child protection and health professionals. We have a duty of care by law to report any safeguarding issues/concerns with the appropriate people. We should NOT confront an alleged abuser.