Childhood and Physical Contact

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3.4 Explain how practitioners can take steps to protect themselves within their everyday practice in the work setting and on off site visits. Many jobs within children’s workforce require physical contact with children as part of their role. There are also occasions when it is entirely appropriate for other adults to have some physical contact with a child or young person with whom they are working with. However it is crucial that in all circumstances, adults should only touch children or young people in ways which are appropriate to their professionals or agreed roles and responsibilities Practitioners need to be aware that even well intentioned physical contact may be seen as inappropriate by the child, other adults or by anyone to whom this action may be viewed by, also never touch a child in a way which may be considered indecent. Always be prepared to report and explain actions and accept that all physical contact, but understand that physical contact in some circumstances can be easily misinterpreted because of the state of mind of the child or the adult. Be aware of all cultural and religious views about touching and always be sensitive to issues of gender and always encourage children, where possible, to undertake self-care tasks independently e.g. changing and use of the bathroom. As an adult working with children always pre –empt situations that may put you in a vulnerable position and plan to avoid them such as concealed one to one contact with a child or young person. Where possible always leave a record of a planned visit which may have the potential to be problematic e.g. where, when and why and take to follow up any incidents/ accidents or concerning behaviour.
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