4.1 Responding to Disclosure, Suspicions and Allegations
The following action should be taken by anyone who has concerns about the welfare of a young person both in the sporting environment or the home or other settings. If a young person says or indicates that he/she is being abused, or information is obtained or observations are made which give rise to concerns that a young person is being abused, you must RESPOND IMMEDIATELY.
N.B. Direct disclosure by a young person is relatively rare, however it is important to be aware that there are a number of different mechanisms for obtaining information – direct observation, report by other participants, spectators, parents or carers, other coaches, official and volunteers.
4.1.1 RESPONDING TO DISCLOSURE
Immediate action to take if a young person informs you directly that he/she, or another young person, is concerned about someone’s behavior towards them (this is termed a disclosure).
The person receiving information concerning disclosure should:
• React calmly so as not to frighten or deter the young person, • Tell the young person he/she is not to blame and that he/she was right to tell, • Take what the person says seriously, recognising the difficulties inherent in interpreting what is said by a young person who has a speech disability and/or differences in language, • Ensure the safety of the young person - if the young person needs immediate medical treatment, take the young person to hospital or call an ambulance, inform doctors of concerns and ensure they are aware it is a child protection issue, • Keep any questions to the absolute minimum to ensure a clear and accurate understanding of what has been said, • Reassure the young person but do not make promises of confidentiality which might not be feasible in the light of subsequent developments, • Do not contact the parents until advice is sought from Social Services.
4.1.2 ACTIONS TO AVOID
The person receiving the disclosure should not:
• Panic, • Allow their shock or distaste to show, • Probe for more information than is offered i.e. explicit details or ask leading questions e.g. “Did Jim/Jenny hit you?” • Speculate or make assumptions, • Make negative comments about the alleged abuser, • Approach the alleged abuser, • Make promises or agree to keep secrets.
N.B. It may not be that all young people are able to express themselves verbally. Communication difficulties may mean that it is hard for them to complain or be understood. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the signs of abuse from the symptoms of some disabilities or conditions, in relation to the nature of an individual’s impairment. However, where there are concerns about the safety of a young person, record what has been observed in detail and follow the procedures to report these concerns.
4.1.3 REPORTING PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED
1. Using the Pro-Active Central London Partnership Incident Referral From make a full and factual record of what had been said, heard and/or seen as soon as possible.
2. Report the concerns to the appointed Child Protection Officer immediately who will report the concerns directly to the Social Services or Police who will advise on the action to be taken, including advice on contacting parents. The person reporting the concerns must ensure the Incident Referral Form is completed and forwarded to the Pro-Active Central London Partnership Child Protection Officer. If Social Services are involved then a copy of the form should be sent to the case officer at the Social Services within 24 hours of the telephone report.
3. If you cannot contact the appointed Child Protection Officer or their deputy report your concerns immediately to the Social Services or Police who will advise you appropriately. Should wish to seek expert advice to