When a complaint, allegation or suspicion of abuse is made against a member of staff in an establishment or organisation managed by another local authority or organisation the Co-ordinator (Specialist Services) must be informed.
In the event of any such complaints, allegations or suspicions efforts should be made to investigate these independently of the management of the establishment or its managers.
If child protection measures are required, these would always be conducted by staff external to the establishment.
In the case of an allegation made by a child placed by South Ayrshire, but who is resident in an establishment managed by another authority or organisation, the Co-ordinator, Children’s Services, should advise the equivalent manager in the other authority or organisation of the outcome of all investigations of allegations of abuse of children in residential establishments.
Advising relevant others
The young person’s social worker must be advised of the allegation as soon as possible. In normal circumstances the young person’s parents/carers should be advised as soon as possible by the social worker. Parents and the young person should be advised of their right to contact the police where this has not been done by the local authority.
Support to the child throughout the investigation process
The social worker and/or residential key worker should offer specific support to the young person throughout this period. The child should be advised if independent advocacy, support systems (eg Who Cares?) and the right to seek legal advice if this is appropriate.
The young person’s consent for any interviews must be obtained and he/she must be consulted about the process. In particular the young person should be given the opportunity of having a support person present during interviews.
The young person’s consent must be obtained for any medical examinations.
The young person’s views must be taken into account regarding the investigation process and the outcome.
Conducting the investigation
Those conducting the investigation should be provided with:-
- the allegation in writing
- all statements and reports available in relation to the allegation
- medical examination results where appropriate.
The investigators should plan what questions are to be asked beforehand. One person should ask questions and the other take notes. A written record of each interview should be completed and signed by both investigators. A final report summarising the main findings and recommendations should be completed and signed by both investigators.
The safety of other children
Any investigation must also address the possibility of other young people who may have been abused and the continuing safety of young people presently residing within the establishment. The Co-ordinator (Specialist Services) should decide what further action, if any, should be taken.
Keeping relevant parties informed
Efforts must be made to keep all relevant parties informed of progress as appropriate throughout the course of the investigation.
Communicating the outcome to relevant parties
The outcome of the investigation must be communicated, at the earliest possible opportunity, to the young person, their family/carers and the persons against whom the allegations have made if this is appropriate.
Inquiries into multiple or organised abuse
Where allegations involve a number of children or staff, the local authority and police should consider the need to conduct inquiries into multiple or organised abuse.
Adults who allege abuse as children
When an adult alleges that he/she was abused as a child in a residential establishment the senior manager of the managing authority must be advised immediately so that a decision can be made on how to proceed. The adult should be advised that allegations can be reported to the police, should he or she wish to do so.
If there are implications in terms of the safety of children, the Co-ordinator (Specialist Services) should be advised immediately in order that a decision can be made on how to proceed.
Information and counselling if requested by the adult, should be provided by an appropriate resource.
Records of allegations and investigations into allegations made by children in residential care should be retained by the Co-ordinator (Specialist Services).