We have had a number of safeguarding allegations to deal with recently, which have thrown up some useful points. As with all such cases, the important thing is to follow the statutory guidance in Part Four of Keeping Children Safe, which was updated in March this year; but sometimes these situations are not so easy to spot.
So, for example
- It does not matter if the victim is not one of the school’s pupils. Staff can have dealings with children outside work at any number of clubs or activities, including teachers giving private tuition.
- The abuse does just not have to be sexual or involve grooming. Cases of physical abuse or excessive restraint may equally amount to a safeguarding issue and so should not be dealt with as a simple disciplinary matter.
- Volunteers should be treated in exactly the same way as members of staff for these purposes.
- The duty to make a report to the LADO can arise even if school is informed by the police of an investigation. Don't assume the police will do so.
It in all such cases the key thing is to make an early report to the LADO, who can organise a case conference, and to keep the matter confidential, even from the alleged culprit, until then or until approval is given for disclosure (and please do not forget to make the relevant DBS report where appropriate).
For advice on any such issues please contact Eoin Fowell or James Twine.