Investigation of allegations of abuse of children in residential care

Key points

It is recognised that many children have been abused whilst in residential care. All children, wherever or whatever their circumstances, have a right to protection from abusive situations. The only major difference between these procedures and those for investigating allegations of abuse of children in the community is that registration is not included within the process for dealing with allegations of abuse in residential care.

The process for investigating allegations or suspicions of abuse where the young person is accommodated in a residential establishment is similar to those previously outlined that deal with children in the community. This chapter concentrates specifically on the roles and responsibilities of those involved in allegations or suspicions of abuse within a residential establishment.

Procedures will only work in the interests of young people if they are located in a care setting where issues of young peoples’ control and participation in decisions about day-to-day care have been addressed.

Attention to young peoples’ rights is an integral part of the therapeutic relationship which young people should experience in residential care.

How to do it

The process of any investigation into allegations of abuse of children in residential care will be dependent on the authority or organisation responsible for the child and management of the residential establishment

The team leader who is responsible for the child will plan and manage the investigation, but must consult with the Co-ordinator (Specialist Services) as to how to proceed. This is in relation to residential establishments managed by South Ayrshire and establishments managed by another local authority, or the voluntary and independent sectors, hereafter referred to as ‘other organisations’.

The Co-ordinator, Children Services for the child is responsible for deciding whether child protection measures are required and managing any subsequent investigation. The Team Leader for the child should inform the Co-ordinator of any complaints, suspicions or allegations made.  The Co-ordinator, Children’s Services must alert the Co-ordinator (Specialist Services) of all complaints, suspicions or allegations so that a central record can be retained of any such concerns.

The Co-ordinator (Specialist Services) is responsible for the co-ordination and monitoring of allegations or suspicions of abuse in residential care within South Ayrshire establishments.

The Co-ordinator (Specialist Services) is also responsible for any subsequent fact-finding investigation into the conduct of a South Ayrshire member of residential staff, as a result of a Child Protection Investigation.  In instances where an accumulation of concerns arise in respect of a residential establishment the Co-ordinator (Specialist Services) is responsible for co-ordinating any required fact-finding investigation.

For any child placed by South Ayrshire in an establishment managed by another local authority or organisation, the team leader managing the investigation must consult with the Co-ordinator (Specialist Services) as to how the investigation should proceed.