stop and listen
straight away to someone who want so tell you about incidents or suspicions of
you can, write brief notes of what
they are telling you while they are speaking (these may help later if you have
to remember exactly what was said) – and keep your original notes, however
rough and even if you wrote on the back of something else (it’s what you wrote
at the time that may be important later – not a tidier and improved version
you wrote up afterwards!). If you don’t have the means to write at the time,
make notes of what was said or observed as soon as possible afterwards. It is
important to remember how the child may be felling and it may actually be
insensitive to be writing while they are talking unless you explain why you are
make a promise that you
will keep what is said confidential or secret – if you are told about abuse
you have a responsibility to tell the right people to get something done about
it (see below). If asked explain that if you are going to be told something very
important that needs to be sorted out, you will need to tell the people who can
sort it out, but you will only tell the people who absolutely need to
not ask leading questions
that might give your own ideas of what might have happened (e.g. “did he do x
to you?”) – just ask “what do you want to tell me?” or “is there
anything else you want to say?”
tell the person in charge of the group (unless they are themselves accused or
suspected of abusing) – and don’t tell other adults or young people what you
have been told.
someone has made an accusation to you about an adult in charge of the group, YOU
should contact the local Social Services department yourself, and ask them what
to do next – the telephone number will be in the directory.)
with the person in charge whether any steps need to be taken to protect the
person who has told you about the abuse (this may need to be discussed with the
person who you told).
attempt to carry out an investigation of suspected or alleged abuse by
interviewing people etc. – social Services and police staff are the people
trained to do this – you could cause more damage and effect possible criminal
proceedings. It is your duty to refer concerns on, not investigate.
soon as possible (and certainly the same day) the person in charge should refer
the matter to the local Social services Department (helped by your notes).
Follow their requests about what to do next. They will set up any necessary
investigations, and advise you – that is their statutory job.
think abuse is impossible in your organisation or group, or that and accusation
against someone you know well and trust is bound to be wrong.
and young people often tell other young people, rather than staff or other
adults, about abuse – make sure that your senior young people know the points
on this sheet as well as the responsible adults.