While it is difficult to contemplate, there are a small number of individual staff, volunteers and associates who do pose a serious risk to children, whether deliberately or through a lack of understanding of what constitutes abusive behaviour.
Staff, volunteers and associates may also harm children they are in contact with, or have access to, outside the work environment. The obligations of staff and their behaviour towards children should extend to their conduct outside the work environment.
It is essential that managers have a consistent approach to how to set up and manage the response to any child safeguarding allegation that involves a member of staff, volunteer or associate. This becomes more complicated when the organisation has no direct line management for the associate, hence the need for clarity about what process to follow.
Although many organisations do have child safeguarding polices, they often:
lack detail on how to manage different levels of safeguarding allegations including historical allegations
have few trained staff with the relevant experience to conduct a thorough investigation and provide an objective view
fail to balance the internal processes with different country context, legal systems and external reporting requirements on child safeguarding
fail to have a clear process in place when the allegation involves an associate have little guidance or agreed tools on how to conduct a robust child safe investigation
lack management oversight and quality assurance do not address what should happen as a result of an investigation and how any action needed will be monitored
do not have a process that enables feedback to the workforce in a way that ensures there is ongoing organisational learning and improvement
lack child-focused tools to support investigations.
How to use the guidance
The KCS Management of Child Safeguarding Allegations (pdf) guidance provides an overview of how to manage incidents and concerns where it involves a member of staff, consultant, associate or a volunteer from one or more agencies or partner agencies.
The guidance will:
help a manager create a plan for managing child safeguarding allegations, both current and historical in order to provide a consistent and robust approach
provide advice about specific issues that might arise within more complex safeguarding concerns
provide managers with key information about how to give oversight, direction and leadership when managing a child safeguarding allegation
It is specifically targeted at more senior managers who hold designated responsibility for overseeing such investigations. It should complement internal child safeguarding policies, procedures, and developing model investigation protocols. A range of tools can be used to accompany this guidance and can be found in the appendices. The guidance relates to child safeguarding and is not to be used for other types of investigations, but managers may draw parallels with responsibilities in managing other concerns.
If child abuse is suspected within a family or involving a non-agency person, the organisation should follow their own procedures and the country’s legislation and process for reporting these concerns to authorities. This guidance does not address these concerns. Please refer to Keeping Children Safe: Developing Child Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.
We are here to help
If your organisation works for and with children, then it is high time to check if you have put rigorous child safeguarding measures in place – starting from the top of the organisation, right down to your field staff and outside suppliers. Prevention, after all, is better than lives destroyed because of abuse.