SEFTON LSCB Safeguarding Policies and Procedures Online Manual

    6.8 Investigating allegations of significant harm involving disabled children/young people or siblings of disabled children/young people

    Last updated 12/11/2018

    6.8 Investigating allegations of significant harm involving disabled children/young people or siblings of disabled children/young people

    Where there is reasonable cause to believe that a child or young person is at risk of significant harm they should be referred to Children’s Social Care in order that relevant enquiries can be carried out and the child effectively safeguarded in accordance with the SLSCB Child Protection Procedures. The first responsibility is to ensure that the child is safe while further enquiries are carried out.

    6.8.2     It is crucial that in relation to a disabled child or young person the enquiries are planned and carried out in a way which is informed by an understanding of their impairment.

    6.8.3     Where an investigation is being planned as a result of concerns about significant harm to a disabled child or young person, an early strategy discussion should be held involving key professionals who know them. Specific considerations for the strategy discussion or meeting include:

    • The child/young person’s preferred communication method for understanding and expressing themselves
    • Who should interview the child/young person?
    • Whether someone with a specialist on the child/young person’s preferred communication method should be involved
    • Whether the interview will have to be significantly adapted to support the child/young person understands and their involvement
    • The venue of the interview
    • Whether additional facilities or equipment is necessary
    • The care needs of the child or young person
    • The caring network surrounding the child or young person
    • Available medical information about health needs which may have a bearing on an investigation
    • If there is a need for a medical examination, consider the most appropriate medical professional, venue, timing and the child/young person’s ability to understand the purpose of the medical

    6.8.4     It is important that efforts to meet these requirements do not unduly slow down the enquiry.

    6.8.5     In situations where there are allegations against an employee or volunteer in that relation to the child, see the SSCB child protection procedures sections in chapter 7

    6.8.6     Agencies must not make decisions about the enquiries based on assumptions about the ability of a disabled child or young person to give credible evidence, or to withstand the rigours of the Achieving Best Evidence Practice Guidance.

    6.8.7     Where an Initial Child Protection Conference is held it is crucial that professionals who know the child or young person and who have information about the nature of their disability are involved. The principles and guidance for the Child Protection Conference, section 47 enquiries and core group meetings remain the same for all children.