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www.carolyneyre.com So what is an allegation of professional abuse anyway ?. Carolyn Eyre CAPE Conference 2012. Definition of professional abuse.

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www carolyneyre com so what is an allegation of professional abuse anyway

www.carolyneyre.comSo what is an allegation of professional abuse anyway?

Carolyn Eyre

CAPE Conference 2012


Definition of professional abuse

  • The process of managing allegations starts where information comes to the attention of a manager which suggests that an adult working with children may have:
  • behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed a child;
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to a child; or
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children.
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children (DCSF 2010)


Physical abuse might include

Intentional use of force as punishment


Use of objects to hit with

Rough physical handling

Emotional abuse might include

Intimidation, belittling, scapegoating, sarcasm

Lack of respect for children’s rights

Attitudes which discriminate on the grounds of ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation

Sexual abuse might include

Sexualised behaviour towards pupils (from inappropriate touching to rape)

Sexual harassment – includes inappropriate comments



But that’s not all …

  • “Employers may also seek the advice of the LADO where an employee’s behaviour is a matter for concern to his/her manager because it compromises or may be seen to comprise the reputation and ability of the organisation to safeguard children and young people.”
  • “If the information given about an adult’s behaviour does not require a strategy meeting under Section 47, a similar meeting should be called to evaluate jointly the level of concern and to determine whether the person’s suitability to continue working with children in his or her current position has been called into question.”
  • Handling Allegations of Abuse made against Adults who Work with Children & Young People (DCSF 2009)

Examples include where an adult has …

  • contravened or has continued to contravene any safe practice guidance given by his/her organisation or regulatory body
  • exploited or abused a position of power
  • acted in an irresponsible manner which any reasonable person would find alarming or questionable given the nature of work undertaken
  • demonstrated a failure to understand or appreciate how his or her own actions or those of others could adversely impact upon the safety and well being of a child
  • demonstrated an inability to make sound professional judgements which safeguard the welfare of children

… or where an adult has …

  • failed to follow adequately policy or procedures relating to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.
  • failed to understand or recognise the need for clear personal and professional boundaries in his or her work
  • behaved in a way in his or her personal life which could put children at risk of harm
  • become the subject of criminal proceedings not relating to a child
  • become subject to enquiries under local child protection procedures
  • behaved in a way which seriously undermines the trust and confidence placed in him or her by the employer.

New teacher standards - Part 1

  • From September 2012 (or, for conduct hearings, April 2012!!!)
  • Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge
  • Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils
  • Demonstrate good subject knowledge
  • Plan and teach well structured lessons
  • Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils
  • Make accurate / productive use of assessment
  • Manage behaviour effectively
  • Fulfil wider professional responsibilities

And the wider responsibilities are:-

  • Make a positive contribution to the wider life and ethos of the school
  • Develop effective professional relationships with colleagues, knowing how and when to draw on advice and specialist support
  • Deploy support staff effectively
  • Take responsibility for improving teaching through appropriate professional development, responding to advice and feedback from colleagues
  • Communicate effectively with parents with regard to pupils’ achievements and well-being.

New Standards - Part 2

Professional Conduct

  • Uphold public trust & maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school
  • Have proper and professional regard for the ethos, policies and practices of the school in which they teach, and maintain high standards in their own attendance and punctuality
  • Have an understanding of, and always act within, the statutory frameworks which set out their professional duties and responsibilities

Record keeping

  • Working Together states that the purpose of record-keeping is to:-
  • enable accurate information to be given in response to any future request for a reference.
  • provide clarification in cases where a future CRB Enhanced Disclosure reveals information from the police that an allegation was made but did not result in a prosecution or conviction.
  • prevent unnecessary re-investigation if an allegation resurfaces after a period of time.

Record keeping

Working Together also says:

“It is important that employers keep a clear and comprehensive summary of any allegations made, details of how the allegations were followed up and resolved and of any action taken and decisions reached. These should be kept in a person’s confidential personnel file and a copy should be given to the individual. Such information should be retained on file, including for people who leave the organisation, at least until the person reaches normal retirement age, or for 10 years if that is longer”


Managing allegations of professional abuse

  • New guidance issued July 2011 ......
  • Where an allegation is shown to be malicious:-
  • All records of the allegation must be removed from the personnel file and
  • The allegation should not be disclosed on any subsequent reference
  • Where an allegation is not substantiated or is shown to be false or unfounded:-
  • Details, minutes of meetings etc must be retained in the personnel file but
  • The allegation should not be disclosed on any subsequent reference even if there appears to be a pattern of allegations

Other features of the new allegations guidance

  • Teachers facing allegations should be protected by anonymity
  • Quick resolution should be a priority
  • Suspension should not be the default position
  • Schools should consider taking action against pupils making malicious allegations against staff, including permanent exclusion where necessary and / or referral to police
  • All schools / FE colleges should have written procedures for dealing with allegations
  • Compromise agreements must not be used
  • There is no reference to the previous (more comprehensive) guidance issued in May 2009 BUT the DfE has confirmed this remains active

Useful links

  • Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults who work with Children & Young People
  • http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100202100434/dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters/resources-and-practice/ig00311/
  • Allegations guidance 2009 http://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=conResults&consultationId=1639&external=no&menu=3
  • Allegations guidance 2011 https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/DFE-00061-2011
  • Teachers’ Standards 2012
  • http://www.tda.gov.uk/training-provider/itt/~/media/resources/training-provider/teachers_standards_2012.pdf
  • www.carolyneyre.com