Child Protection Policy

Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures

Kyle National School

Child Protection Policy

The Board of Management of Kyle National School, has carefully considered the Children’s First Guidelines 1999 as issued by the Department of Health and the Guidelines issued by the Department of Education and Science.

Definition of Child Abuse:

Child Abuse can be categorised into four different types: neglect, emotional abuse and sexual abuse.

Neglect: can be defined in terms of an omission, where the child suffers significant harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults, medical care. Neglect generally becomes apparent in different ways over a period of time rather than at one specific moment.

Emotional Abuse: is normally to be found in the relationship between the caregiver and a child rather than in a specific event or pattern of events. It occurs when a child’s need for affection, approval, consistency and security are not met. Emotional abuse can be manifested in terms of the child’s behavioural, cognitive, affective or physical functioning.

Physical Abuse: is any form of non-accidental injury or injury which results from willful or neglect failure to protect a child.

Sexual Abuse: occurs when a child is used by another person for his/her gratification or sexual arousal or for that of others.

Designated Liaison Person:

The Board of Management has appointed School Principal, Joanna O’ Keeffe as Designated Liaison Person (DLP) and Class Teacher Mary Rohan as deputy DLP. The role of the DLP is to liaise with all relevant agencies, whether in seeking advice, reporting or in follow up consultants.

Procedures in dealing with a disclosure/suspicion from a child/third party:

  • Teacher s who suspect child abuse should report their concerns to the DLP at the first instance and carefully record their observations over a period of time.
  • Disclosures of Child Abuse from a third party will be reported to the to the DLP. If a third party starts to tell a teacher about an alleged child abuse incident the teacher will ask them to speak to the DLP. If the person does not inform the DLP the teacher will do so.
  • Where a child discloses alleged abuse to a staff member , the person receiving that information should listen carefully  and supportively. Great care must be taken not to abuse the child’s trust. This should not be a formal interview
  • Listen to the child
  • Do not ask leading questions or make suggestions to the child
  • Offer reassurance but do not make promises
  • Do not stop the child recalling significant events
  • Do not over-react
  • Confidentiality should be assured-explain that further help may have to be sought.
  • Record the discussion accurately noting:

 What, where and when?

Descriptions and possible sketches to physical injuries

Explanations of injuries using direct quotations if appropriate

Sign and date the record

Retain the record securely

  • Whether cases of abuse are suspected or confirmed, confidentiality will be respected. The information on individual cases will be restricted to the teacher(s) immediately involved with the child and will be on a need to know basis.
  • The DLP will record the incident. It is not the function of the teacher or DLP to investigate the issue.
  • If the suspected abuser is the DLP then the suspicion and any records will be passed on to the Chairperson who will proceed as per guidelines.
  • The Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed of the disclosure.
  • Informal contact with the Southern Health Board will be made, seeking advice as to whether a referral should be made. The DLP will be explicit that s/he is requesting advice and not making a report. It is not necessary at this stage for the DLP to disclose his/her name or the name of the school.
  • The advice given by the Health Board must be acted upon.
  • If the advice is not to refer, the DLP will record this advice as the reason for non-referral. The chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed.
  • If the advice from the Health Board is to refer the case, the DLP will do so. However, prior to referring, the DLP will inform the parent of her intention to refer, unless this course of action is injurious to the child.
  • Following referral and the completion of the standard form, the school will have no further part to play in the investigation.
  • If a case conference is required, the DLP will be invited to attend.

All records will be held in a central, securely locked location .

Allegations against an employee:

  • Procedures followed are similar to those of a disclosure
  • Employee is made aware of the allegation against him/her
  • Employee will be given the opportunity to respond to the allegation in writing and at a meeting of the Board of Management.
  • BOM meeting to review the allegation, giving due consideration to any advice given by the Health Board and Gardai
  • The BOM will consider placing the employee on administrative leave, with full pay, pending the outcome of investigations by the Health Board and Gardai
  • On conclusion of any investigation the BOM will then determine the employment status of the employee.

Organisational implications

Supervision

School supervision policy and routines will be followed by staff to ensure that there is comprehensive supervision of children at all breaks.

Behaviour

Children are to be encouraged at all times to play co-operatively and inappropriate behavior will be addressed under our Code of Behaviour . If an incident occurs which we consider to be of a sexualized nature we will notify the DLP who will record it and respond to it appropriately.

Visibility

Teachers on yard duty will be aware of visitors entering the school yard and will ascertain their intentions. They will be supervised in the discharge of their business.

Swimming

All adults assisting with supervision in the changing rooms will act in ‘loco parentis’ and as such will act as prudent parents helping children to return to school as dry as possible.

Children travelling in staff cars

Teachers will not carry children alone in their cars. At least two children must travel with the teacher in the car or another adult and child.

Induction of Teachers and Ancillary Staff

The DLP will be responsible for informing all new teachers and ancillary staff of this policy and the Children First Guidelines(1999).

Dealing with children on a one-to-one basis

If a staff member has to work/deal/communicate with children on a one-to-one basis, they are requested to leave the classroom door open. A glass partition has been fitted in the doors of all resource/special needs rooms.

Attendance

With regards to child protection we will pay particular attention to trends in non- attendance in correlation with signs of neglect/physical/emotional abuse.

 Implementation

This policy has been in operation since September 2009.

It has been reviewed and ratified in April 2013. It will be reviewed annually and in conjunction with new guidelines that would inform best practice.

 

Signed: ___________________ (Chairperson of Board) Date: ___________

             ___________________ (Principal) Date: _____________________