On 15 January 2014, BSCB held its annual safeguarding children workshop for practitioners in Health, Childrens Services and Police. The event brings these key disciplines together to raise their awareness about key safeguarding issues for children, young people and their families.
As well as providing updates on the topics covered the previous year, this year’s event focussed on three key areas:-
- Human Trafficking
- Medical Neglect
- Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme – ‘Clare’s Law’
DC Colin Ward, from the Sexual Crime Unit presented his experiences of Human Trafficking in Greater Manchester and provided delegates with some key points to consider:-
- Human Trafficking can occur country to country, town to town or street to street – it is the movement of a person from one place to another into conditions of exploitation, using deception, coercion, the abuse of power or the abuse of someone’s vulnerability to gain their compliance
- Victims are mistrusting of the authorities as a consequence of their experiences and they often suffer physical, emotional, neglect and sexual abuse
- If you are visiting homes or in contact with individuals it is important to be vigilant:-
-Are the rooms and windows locked – who has control of the locks?
-Can the child talk on their own, what are the relationships like with the adult?
-Does the child have relevant identity documentation and if they do does this raise any concerns?
-Is there evidence of any injuries to the child or is there a pattern of attending A&E that causes concern for treatment?
-The identification of victims of Human Trafficking is improving – the table below shows the number of young people in the period July to September 2013 who were responded to by the police
If you think you have identified Human Trafficking there are steps you can take by contacting Sexual Crime Unit
Duty Mobile Number: 07747648793
If you want to find out more about this topic:-
BSCB Child Trafficking Guidance
Delegates worked on case studies as multi-agency groups and were asked to consider a range of key questions related to practice. Delegates were also encouraged to:-
-Discuss their own cases and experiences of neglect
-Share their knowledge and consider some of the challenges in this area
Some of the key messages from the feedback included:-
• Working with teenage children where neglect is an issue is challenging, particularly where there are ongoing medical needs and non-compliance – however it is important that with this age practitioners continue to consider the child’s vulnerability and take account of how the child has arrived at this point
• Make use of local practice guidance and tools – Bolton Neglect Guidance and Graded Care Profile and the other resources on Bolton Safeguarding Children Board website
• The importance of having strong chronologies in each agency where neglect in particular is an issue as often cumulative effect of ‘neglectful parenting’ is not identified nor are the patterns of neglect in families
• Identifying all the agencies involved at an early stage, in particular any acute Paediatric involvement or specialist health services, e.g. Diabetes nurse, asthma clinics etc
• Using Advice and Guidance and Early Help (CAF) processes in Bolton’s Framework for Action or designated people in your organisation to reflect on your concerns
• When taking any decision about the safety or welfare of a child it is important that all practitioners record the reason for that and the evidence it is based on
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DISCLOSURE SCHEME – ‘CLARE’S LAW’
The final presentation of the day was delivered by DS Alison Witkiewicz from Bolton’s Public Protection Investigation Unit. Alison explained that the scheme was developed following the tragic death of Clare Wood. The scheme provides a consistent process for disclosing information about individuals who are known to have been violent in previous relationships.
Alison highlighted that not only do individuals in the relationship have a ‘right to ask’ about previous domestic violence concerns, but also someone who may believe that a person in a relationship is at risk e.g. a parent, friend, neighbours etc also have the right to ask.
There is also the ‘right to know’ as part of the scheme. This happens on occasions where the police receive indirect information or intelligence, through the course of unrelated enquires about the safety of a person at risk and where, after appropriate checks made, the police judge that a disclosure should be made.
All decisions about disclosure are taken by a multi-agency panel. One of the queries raised by the delegates was whether or not this information was shared with partner agencies – this would then enable them to consider risks to the individual as well as any children.
This is not currently the case and Alison has agreed to feed this back through her management structure for consideration by the panel. BSCB has agreed to track the outcome of this.
WHAT DID THE DELEGATES THINK?
Over 70 delegates attended the event and the feedback is that this is a worthwhile and thought provoking event. It supports them to safeguard children while giving an opportunity to network and develop their own knowledge, skills and awareness. This is summed up in a comment made by Anne Lonsdale, Specialist Nurse, during the event
“It is very useful to attend a training event that can directly link into practice. To discuss a current case (anonymously) and to access multi-agency feedback not only from the group I was working with, but also from the conference as a whole is invaluable. I have taken on board some of the ideas presented at the event yesterday and will be incorporating them into the care plan of the young person involved.”
An evaluation report of the event will be provided to BSCB but some of the early feedback includes:-
• In response to our questions about what people liked –
“A very useful forum for multi-agency learning about safeguarding. Although it is only a small aspect of my role I have found it very helpful’
“Excellent – learnt lots of new things, opportunity to share information with colleagues”
“Excellent use of my time – will cascade to my team”
• In response to what could be improved –
“Pointers to website and more information, more case studies”
“More multi-agency opportunity to discuss cases”
“More short breaks”
• In response to topics for next year’s event suggestions included:-
Access the presentation here
Finally on behalf of BSCB I would like to thank all those who contributed to the event’s organisation, to our speakers and to the practitioners who attended and made the event a success.