Although I work specifically with vulnerable adults, there will be times when I come into contact with children. Children may come into the home to visit grandparents and it’s important to understand how to recognise and respond to abuse or neglect.
1.1 Following devastating events, the government recognised the failure of the law to sustain the protection of vulnerable children. The children’s acts of 1984 and then again in 2004 highlighted the responsibilities that professionals have when working with children to report suspected abuse. In 2003 the government introduced ECM (Every Child Matters). ECM covers children and young adults up to the age of 19 and 24 for those with learning difficulties.
There are five outcomes to ECM which are
• Being healthy
• Staying safe
• Enjoying and achieving
• Making a positive achievement
• Achieving economic well-being
These are recognised by all children’s services including early years, schools, social services, primary and secondary health services, play workers, child and adolescent Mental Health services.
Due to the Murders of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells, a further inquiry was made. The Bichard Inquiry suggested a new scheme to which everyone working with children or vulnerable adults should be checked and registered.
The independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) was introduced alongside with the Criminal Records Bureau which is responsible for keeping a system and processing applications for ISA registration.
The Independent Safeguarding Authority checks POVA (Protection Of Vulnerable Adults) and POCA (Protection Of Children’s Act) lists and lists 99 (Which is a list of teachers who are considered unsuitable to work alongside with children) Organisations should have a strict recruitment policy in place to prevent unauthorised persons to work alongside the vulnerable.
There are other policy documents that I need to be aware of which include • Working together to Safeguard children 2006 (updated 2010) • The protection of Children in England: A progress report 2009 • No Secrets – Department of Health
Working Together to Safeguard children created a role of a Local Authority Designated Officer, and it is responsible for managing allegations of abuse against adults that work with children.
The Local Safeguarding children boards was introduced to ensure that agencies and professionals in the area to support the welfare of children.
2.1 Working together to Safeguard children states that there are four types of abuse • Physical Abuse
• Emotional Abuse
• Sexual Abuse
Any physical action taken by one person to harm another by hitting, burning, drowning, suffocating or shaking. Signs of Physical abuse can include unexplained marks, bruising or injury on any part of the body, cigarette burns, human bite marks, fractures, scalds or multiple burns. There may not always be noticeable physical signs, but there may be changes in a child’s behaviour and the signs to be aware of are: • Parents fearing being approached
• Aggressive behaviours or tempers running high
• Flinching or resisting approach or touch
• Reluctance to change
Emotional abuse can leave a child feeling inadequate and worthless. It can be quite difficult to recognise emotional abuse but there are indications to look out for • Receiving little or no attention from parents
• Receiving no love or affection from parents
• Being put down or being mocked by parents
Changes in a child’s behaviours such as sulking, hair twisting, rocking, behaviour that’s not usual are signs of emotional abuse. Other indicators include the child being unable to play, fear of making mistakes, speech disorders and delayed developments in terms of emotional progression.