Listening to young people’s concerns
A child or a young person may tell you that they are in experiencing a form of Violence Against Women and Girls, or you may spot warning signs that you are concerned about. This child or young person may be at risk of harm and it is your responsibility to treat this seriously and to follow the education settings child protection policy and procedure.
You can also refer to the Government’s inter-agency guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children (2013)
Talking about violence against women and girls:
Where children and young people are encouraged to start to talk about Violence Against Women and Girls they may want to discuss their own experiences. They may turn to education staff for support. Education practitioners can talk to children and young people about all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls in a safe and age-appropriate way. All conversations need to be backed up by telling them about who to talk to in the education setting and different support services that are available, such as helplines and websites that are free and confidential. Remind them that you and the education setting take all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls very seriously and there is a child protection procedure that will be followed if they want to disclose.
It can help to keep in mind the three steps outlined below – but it is most important to follow your education settings local child protection procedures. Adapted from Women’s Aid :
If the child or young person tells you about past abuse that they have experienced and you do not think that there is any risk of that abuse recurring to the child, this should still be referred to your child protection lead or to social services. Social services may then discuss this with the non-abusive parent or carer as to whether further action needs to be taken. You need to be clear with the child that you may still have a duty to report the matter to the relevant statutory body.
What to do if a young person or adult (over 18) tells you about their experience of violence:
Whilst it is essential to report disclosures of violence experienced by children under 18 to safeguard them from harm; it is not the same for adults and it is important to maintain confidentiality when adults disclose violence. This is unless there are children at risk, for example if there are children in the home where she/he has disclosed domestic violence, or if they are considered to be high risk or deemed to be ‘vulnerable’.
There is no duty to report but if you have any concerns that a child could also be at risk or serious concerns and need someone to talk to contact your organisation’s child protection lead.
If a young person who is over 18 discloses their experiences of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) there is not the same legal obligation to report to social services, unless they have children that could be at risk.
Follow the flow charts
There are some very useful safeguarding flow charts developed by the AVA for the Home Office in this document:teen-abuse-teachers-guide
The education organisation will probably have flow charts within the child protection policy and procedure and it is important that these are followed.