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Responding to disclosures

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Concerns for the safety and wellbeing of children, young persons or vulnerable adults could arise in a variety of ways and in a range of different settings which may not necessarily be linked to the University.

For example:

  • A child may report or display signs of abuse;
  • Someone may hint that a child is a risk;
  • Someone may hint that a colleague or student is an abuser;
  • An individual may witness or hear about abuse in another organisation;
  • An individual may be supporting an adult who indicates that other children and young people may be being abused by someone who abused them as a child.

It is essential to act quickly and professionally in all cases of suspected abuse. The course of action taken will depend on the specifics of the situation. In all cases it is vital that accurate records are maintained of allegations, concerns, decisions and reasons for actions. The Safeguarding Risk Assessment form should be used to record initial concerns. Members of staff must discuss concerns, suspicions or allegations with the Lead Safeguarding Officer.

If a child, young person or vulnerable adult makes a disclosure of child abuse or radicalisation to you, it is important that you do not start to investigate or ask leading questions, as this could compromise any formal investigation undertaken by the police or social services at a later date.  Details of any allegation should only be shared with the Designated Safeguarding Contact in the first instance.  A decision about who needs to know about the allegations will be taken at a later stage of the process.

Do:

  • Stay calm
  • Listen carefully
  • Ask questions for clarification
  • Believe
  • Reassure
  • Inform child you will have to pass information on
  • Record in writing
  • Report to Designated Safeguarding Contact as soon as possible

Don’t:

  • Panic
  • Promise to keep secrets
  • Ask leading questions
  • Make the child repeat the story unnecessarily
  • Interview the child
  • Delay
  • Start to investigate