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Responding to a suspicion or allegation of exploitation, harm or abuse of a child

Responding to a Suspicion or Allegation of Exploitation, Harm or Abuse of a Child (not a student or apprentice registered at the University)


Appendix 3 of the University Safeguarding Policy

1 All members of the University must seek to actively safeguard and promote the welfare of children and be alert to the possibility that some children may have suffered or be at risk of suffering significant harm, including forms of child abuse. All complaints/allegations of significant harm to children must be taken seriously and dealt with in accordance with the following procedure.

2 Where a detailed departmental policy is in place, staff should refer to the reporting procedure in accordance with that policy. However, should there be any doubt regarding a policy or if no departmental policy exists, the guidance below should be followed.

3 If a member of the University has a suspicion that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, no matter what the cause, they should seek the advice and assistance of the University Designated Safeguarding Lead, setting out the basis of the suspicion as clearly as possible. This should be done immediately without awaiting confirmation of concerns.

4 If a member of the University receives from a child an allegation that that child or another child is being abused, has been abused, or is at risk of abuse they should:

  • Listen carefully and stay calm.
  • Ensure that they do not ‘quiz’ the child. However, if necessary, they may seek to clarify, using open questions and without putting words into the child’s mouth but only to the extent that they understand what the child is telling them.
  • Reassure the child that by telling them they have done the right thing.
  • Inform the child that they must pass the information on, but that only those that need to know about it will be told.
  • Inform the child to whom they will report the matter.
  • Make a detailed note of the date, time, place, what the child said and did and the questions asked of the child etc.

5 Individuals should not investigate concerns or allegations themselves but should report them immediately to the University Designated Safeguarding Lead.

  • Individuals should not generally make referrals to Children’s Social Care Services or other authorities themselves unless authorised by the University Designated Safeguarding Lead.
  • On receipt of a report of a suspicion/allegation of significant harm to a child (which may be contemporary or historical), the University Designated Safeguarding Lead will make a referral to the local Children’s Social Care Services department and/or the Police where there is a significant risk of harm to a child and take steps to initiate the appropriate staff or student disciplinary procedure when appropriate.
  • Where an allegation of harm to a child is received by the University concerning a a member of the University, the University Designated Safeguarding Lead will consult with Children’s Social Care Services.
  • In the absence of the University Designated Safeguarding Officer Lead, members of the University should discuss any suspicion or allegation of child harm with the local Children’s Social Care Services department or the Police where there appears to be a significant risk to a child.

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