3.5 Listening to the Child
Last updated 12/11/2018
If the child makes an allegation or discloses information which raises concern about Significant Harm, the initial response should be limited to listening carefully to what the child says so as to:
- Clarify the concerns;
- Offer reassurance about how s/he will be kept safe.
- Explain that the information will be passed to Children’s Social Care Services and/or the Police
If a child is freely recalling events, the response should be to listen, rather than stop the child; however, it is important that the child should not be asked to repeat the information to a colleague or asked to write the information down.
If the child has an injury but no explanation is volunteered, it is acceptable to enquire how the injury was sustained.
However, a child must not be pressed for information, led or cross-examined or given false assurances of absolute confidentiality. Such well-intentioned actions could prejudice police investigations, especially in cases of Sexual Abuse.
A record of all conversations, (including the timings, the setting, those present, as well as what was said by all parties) and actions must be kept.
No enquiries or investigations may be initiated without the authority of the Children’s Social Care Services or the Police.
If the child can understand the significance and consequences of making a referral, he/she should be asked her/his views by the referring professional.
Whilst the child’s views should be considered, it remains the responsibility of