Included in this Policy:
The welfare and best interests of children are of paramount importance. HUGG is committed to respecting the right to dignity and bodily integrity of every child.
All HUGG staff, facilitators & volunteers have a responsibility to protect children and therefore have a duty to report suspected child abuse as set out in the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011).
This policy has been developed to comply with our responsibilities to safeguard the children connected with our service.
HUGG Management, Volunteer Facilitators and Co Facilitators recognise the intense grief and devastation that affects family and friends following a death by suicide. Our Volunteer Facilitators & Co Facilitators understand the emotional and physical effects of grief and are trained to distinguish what is considered a normal reaction as a bereaved person from a reaction which may indicate a possible a child protection issue.
Facilitators / Co Facilitators working with parents may be concerned about the general welfare and development of a child / children connected to a parent in a group. They should feel that they can discuss any concerns with the Designated Liaison Person (Fiona Tuomey). Good communication is very important in ensuring best outcomes for children in this regard and any concerns should normally be discussed with parents (UNLESS DOING SO MIGHT PUT A CHILD AT FURTHER RISK). It is not always clear that a child may be being harmed or abused. DLP’s may discuss concerns informally with Duty Social Workers of Tusla if they are not sure whether to report a concern or not (section 2.7, Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook).
“If any person has misgivings about the safety or welfare of a child, they may consult the Tusla Children and Family Services’ Duty Social Worker to seek advice through initiating an informal consultation. This could be just a telephone call and provides an opportunity to discuss the query in general and to decide whether a formal referral is warranted. The consulting party needs to state explicitly that they are not making a report – that they are giving details of a concern, but no identifying information in relation to the child or family”
Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (DCYA 2011, paragraph 3.2.1) states that ‘Everyone must be alert to the possibility that children with whom they are in contact may be suffering from abuse or neglect.’
“If you identify a child as being at risk of harm – you must act”, (paragraph 3.7.3, Children First, 2011).
Under existing guidelines the DLP should have completed the Keeping Safe Training as a minimum.
It is the responsibility of the DLP to make contact with the Tusla Duty Social Worker or, in the event of an emergency and the unavailability of Tusla, to contact An Garda Síochána.
The DLPs within HUGG are: Fiona Tuomey, HUGG, 13 Adelaide Road, Dublin, D02 P950.
All staff, facilitators / volunteers in HUGG are aware of their responsibility to recognise and respond to child abuse and welfare concerns. The definitions and signs and symptoms of abuse are contained in this policy in Appendix 1.
concern could come to attention in a number of ways and it is important to know how to respond
The DLP will make a formal report to the Tusla using the Child Protection and Welfare Report Form following the procedure detailed below.
We recognise that it may be difficult for a member of staff or volunteer to raise a child protection or welfare concern. We recognise the need to provide support to people in the organisation who report child protection or welfare concern.
If the DLP chooses not to pass on a concern raised by a member of staff, professional facilitator/ volunteer, he/she will inform them of this in writing, indicating the reasons. The DLP will advise the individual that he/she may proceed to make a report themselves and that the provision of the Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998 will apply. The Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998 provides protection from civil liability and penalisation by an employer where reports are made to designated officers in the Tusla or to An Garda Síochána reasonably and in good faith.
Not all concerns that are raised will necessarily meet reasonable grounds for concern (see Appendix 2). Where concerns do not meet reasonable grounds for concern these will be documented, and kept confidentially and securely for future reference (see Record Keeping and CPWPH 2.7).
Where there is a concern that a child has gone missing this information will be reported to the Tusla Child and Family Social Work Services. We also recognise our responsibility to report potential risks to unidentifiable children to the Tusla Child and Family Social Work Services.
When a child protection concern is being reported to the Tusla, good practice would indicate that parents/carers should be informed about the report UNLESS DOING SO MAY PUT THE CHILD AT FURTHER RISK. The DLP may seek advice from the Tusla Social Work Department in relation to this. Where appropriate, the DLP will inform the parent(s) of our intention to make a referral to the Tusla Child and Family Services.
Mandated persons are people who have contact with children and/or families and who, because of their qualifications, training and/or employment role, are in a key position to help protect children from harm. Mandated persons include professionals working with children in the education, health, justice, youth and childcare sectors. Certain professionals who may not work directly with children, such as those in adult counselling or psychiatry, are also mandated persons. The list also includes registered foster carers and members of the clergy or pastoral care workers or a church or other religious community. There are mandated persons employed by HUGG, a complete list of mandated persons can be found in Appendix 3 of this document.
Mandated persons have two main legal obligations under the Children First Act 2015. These are:
Section 14(1) of the Children First act 2015 states:
‘….where a mandated person knows, believes or has reasonable grounds to suspect, on the basis of information that he or she has received, acquired or becomes aware of in the course of his or her employment or profession as such a mandated person, that a child-
he or she shall, as soon as practicable, report that knowledge, belief or suspicion, as the case may be to the Agency.’
HUGG would request you speak to our DLP before making direct report to Tusla unless a serious blatant incident has occurred.
If any mandated person is in doubt about whether their concern reaches the legal definition of harm for making a mandated report, Tusla can provide advice in this regard. If a concern does not reach the threshold for mandated reporting, but is felt that it is a reasonable concern about the welfare or protection of a child, it may be reported to Tusla under the Children First National Guidance 2017.
At the debrief following a HUGG Group meeting if there is any concern about the welfare or safety of a child/young person who is connected to the HUGG group the following procedure will be followed.
When a child protection report is being made to the Tusla good practice would indicate that a family should be informed about the report UNLESS DOING SO MAY PUT THE CHILD AT FURTHER RISK. The DLP should seek advice from the social work department in relation to this.
For concerns in relation to abuse of children/young people by people employed or volunteering within HUGG the procedure above will also be followed in relation to the protection of the child. However, in addition, the ‘allegations’ against staff and volunteers procedure’ will also be followed in respect of the rights of the staff member or volunteer.
In general, it is recommended that the same person should not have responsibility for dealing with both the reporting issues and the employment issues.
1. The procedures in respect of the employee: -
It is the policy of HUGG to keep confidential all personal information about the adults and children connected to our service.
The only exception to this may be when child protection concerns arise in relation to a child. In this situation Information will be shared on a need to know basis in the best interest of the child.
Management, staff, facilitators/volunteers in this service will be advised of our confidentiality policy and required to sign up to it.
Only appropriate individuals involved with the child will have access to confidential files on a need to know basis.
Where there are child protection issues, observations/records should be kept on an ongoing basis and information shared with Tusla as appropriate.
Confidential records will be kept in a locked file in central office.
Those who will have access to these records are Fiona Tuomey.
HUGG families and friends may be invited to organised events. Children should be under the supervision of their parent/guardian at all times, however should a child be separated from them the child will be kept safe in the company of others until they can be reunited with their parent/guardian. Children should never be escorted alone.
HUGG is committed to ensuring that all our communications and dealings with the general public are of the highest possible standard. We will listen and respond to the views of our stakeholders, supporters and donors so we can continue to improve. HUGG welcomes ALL feedback. Therefore we aim to ensure that:
If you do have a complaint or comment, you can contact Fiona Tuomey in writing or by telephone. In the first instance, your complaint will be dealt with by HUGG's Chief Executive. Please give us much information as possible and let us know how you would like us to respond to you, providing relevant contact details.
13 Adelaide Road, Dublin, D02 P950
Contact Telephone Number: 01 513 4048
Email Address: email@example.com
HUGG is open from Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 5.00pm
What happens next?
If you complain in person or over the phone, we will try to resolve the issue there and then. Similarly, if you complain by email or in writing we will always acknowledge your complaint within 5 days, and do everything we can to resolve it within 21 days. If this is not possible, we will explain why and provide a new deadline
What if the complaint is not resolved?
If you are not happy with our response, you may get in touch again by writing to HUGG’s Chairman. The Chairman will ensure that your appeal is considered at Board level and will respond within two weeks of this.
Ideally in the first instance you should address your complaint to HUGG as outlined above. You may however at any stage make your complaint in writing to the Charity Regulator who oversee charities compliance with the Charities Act 2009. In this instance please write to:
3 George's Dock, IFSC
Contact Telephone Number: 01 633 1550
What happens next?
You will receive confirmation of receipt of your Email. The Charity Regulator will consider complaints and will respond where deemed necessary.
Where a child suffers significant harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment and affection from adults, medical care.
Occurs when a child’s need for affection, approval, consistency and security are not met. Is usually found in the relationship between the care-giver and the child.
Physical abuse of a child is that which results in actual or potential physical harm from an interaction, or lack of interaction, which is reasonably within the control of a parent or person in a position of responsibility, power or trust. There may be single or repeated incidents.
When a child is used by another person for his or her sexual gratification or sexual arousal or for that of others.
|Samantha Mc Garry||Group Clinical Supervisor|