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Identifying and Responding to Risk of Harm
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  1. Identifying and Responding to Risk of Harm

  2. TARGET GROUPMandatory reporters of risk of harm working for the NSW Government, and non-government agencies. OUTCOMES Participants will be able to: • Implement work practices that support the protection of children and young people. • Report indications of possible risk of harm. OHT 1.1

  3. Promoting Learning • Confidentiality. • Acknowledge need to report risk of harm identified during training. • Be respectful in discussing colleagues or other agencies. • Agree to disagree. • Acknowledge that this is training not therapy. • Our focus is on the experiences of children and young people. OHT 1.2

  4. Promoting Learning (2) • Take care when using humour. • This is not a venue for gender debates. • Participants can choose to leave the room if the video material is distressing. • Please switch off mobile phones. OHT 1.3

  5. Child Protection: Then and Now How has community understanding of child protection changed over the last twenty years? OHT 2.1

  6. Key Features of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998 • Safety, welfare and well being of child paramount • Least intrusive intervention • Principle of participation of children and young people • Risk of Harm • Partnership • Early intervention • Mandatory reporting OHT 4.1

  7. s. 27(1)(a) Applies if in the course of your professional work you deliver any of the following, wholly or partly, to children: health carechildren’s services welfareresidential services educationlaw enforcement OR s. 27(1)(b) You hold a management position with direct responsibility for supervision or provision of such services. Mandatory Reporting of Risk of Harm OHT 4.2

  8. When does Mandatory Reporting apply? • Reasonable grounds to support Risk of Harm. • Grounds arise during or from a person’s work. OHT 4.3

  9. When is there Risk of Harm? s. 23 Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998 Current concerns for safety, welfare or well-being of child or young person because of presence of one or more of: a. Basic physical or psychological needs not met. b. Parents unwilling or unable to arrange necessary medical care. c. Physical or sexual abuse, or ill-treatment. d. Living with domestic violence: (consequence is being at risk of serious physical or psychological harm). e. Parent’s behaviour resulting in, or risk of, serious psychological harm. OHT 4.4

  10. s.23(a)Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998 Child or young person’s basic physical or psychological needs are not being met or are at risk of not being met. OHT 5.1

  11. Indicators of Neglect in children and young people • Poor hygiene leading to social isolation. • Scavenging or stealing food. • Focused on basic survival. • Loss of ‘skin bloom’. • Poor hair texture. • Delay in developmental milestones. • Non-organic failure to thrive. OHT 5.2(a)

  12. Indicators of Neglect in children and young people • Extended stays at school, public places, other homes. • Extreme longing for adult affection. • A flat and superficial way of relating to others. • Self-comforting behaviour (rocking, sucking). • Anxiety about being dropped or abandoned. OHT 5.2(b)

  13. Indicators of Neglect in parents or caregivers • Failure to provide adequate food, clothing, medical attention, hygienic home conditions, or age-appropriate supervision. • Inability to respond emotionally. • Child or young person is left alone for long periods. • Little or no physical contact. • Treating siblings differently. • Absence of social support structures. OHT 5.3

  14. s.23(b)Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998 The parents or other caregivers have not arranged and are unable or unwilling to arrange for the child or young person to receive necessary medical care. OHT 6.1

  15. s.23(c)Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998 The child or young person has been, or is at risk of being physically or sexually abused or ill-treated. OHT 7.1

  16. Question for Discussion What might you see or hear which might be reasonable grounds to suspect that a child has been physically abused or ill-treated? OHT 7.2

  17. Indicators of Physical Abuse or Ill-treatment in children and young people • Facial, head and neck bruising. • Lacerations or welts. • Inconsistent explanations for injuries. • Adult bite marks and scratches. • Multiple injuries or bruises. • Ingestion of poisonous substances, alcohol, or drugs. OHT 7.3(a)

  18. Indicators of Physical Abuse or Ill-treatment in children and young people • Dislocations, sprains, twisting fractures (<3). • Burns and scalds. • Head injuries that are consistent with shaking. • Crouching/withdrawal to sharp movements. • Female Genital Mutilation. • Aggressive or violent behaviour. • Explosive temper. OHT 7.3(b)

  19. Indicators of Physical Abuse or Ill-treatment in parents or caregivers • Direct admissions that they fear injuring the child or young person. • Family history of violence. • Repeated presentation to health facilities. • Marked delay between injury and presentation for medical assistance. • History of injury that is vague, bizarre or variable. OHT 7.4

  20. Indicators of Sexual Abuse or Ill-treatment in children and young people • Description of sexual acts. • Direct or indirect disclosures. • Age-inappropriate behaviour and/or persistent sexual behaviour. • Self-destructive behaviour: drug dependence, suicide attempts, self-mutilation. • Persistent running away from home. • Eating disorders. • Going to bed fully clothed. OHT 7.5(a)

  21. Indicators of Sexual Abuse or Ill-treatment in children and young people • Regression in developmental activities (younger children). • Contact with a known/suspected perpetrator. • Unexplained accumulation of gifts/money. • Bleeding from the vagina, penis or anus. • Tears or bruising to the genitalia. • Sexually transmitted diseases. • Trauma to the breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen or thighs. OHT 7.5(b)

  22. Specific indicators of Sexual Abuse or Ill-treatment in children and young people • Adolescent pregnancy. • Sexually provocative behaviour. • Negative reactions to adults of only one sex. • Desexualisation (to disguise body shape). • Obsessively sexual themes in artwork. • Knowledge about practices and locations that are associated with prostitution. • Talking about violent sexual acts. OHT 7.5(c)

  23. Indicators of Sexual Abuse or Ill-treatment in parents or caregivers • Exposure to prostitution or child pornography. • Intentional exposure of the child to the sexual behaviour of others. • Previous allegations/charges of child sexual assault. • Verbal threats of sexual abuse. • Perpetration of spousal abuse or physical child abuse. OHT 7.6

  24. s.23(d)Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998 The child or young person is living in a household where there have been incidents of domestic violence and, as a consequence, the child or young person is at risk of serious physical or psychological harm. OHT 8.1

  25. Definition of Domestic Violence Violence, abuse and intimidatory behaviour perpetrated by one person against another in a personal, intimate relationship. • Includes violence that happens when couples are separated or divorced. • Includes physical and sexual assault, psychological abuse, social abuse (isolation) and economic abuse (controlling money etc). NSW Interagency Guidelines for Child Protection, 2000 OHT 8.2

  26. Some ways that Domestic Violence effects children • Negative impact on their sense of self - “I’m to blame”. • Overlap with physical and sexual abuse of children. • Exposure to chronic violence may affect brain development. • Increased risk of violence in peer and adult relationships. • Increased risk of serious emotional and behavioural problems. • Increased involvement in juvenile offending. OHT 8.3

  27. s.23(e)Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998 A parent or other caregiver has behaved in such a way towards the child or young person that the child or young person has suffered or is at risk or suffering serious psychological harm. OHT 9.1

  28. Indicators of Serious Psychological harm in children and young people • Feelings of worthlessness about life and themselves. • Inability to value others. • Lack of trust in people and expectations. • Lack of interpersonal skills. • Extreme attention seeking or risk taking behaviour. • Behavioural disorders (disruptiveness, aggressiveness, bullying). OHT 9.2(a)

  29. Specific Indicators of Serious Psychological harm in young people • Avoiding all adults. • Being obsessively submissive to adults. • Difficulty in maintaining long-term significant relationships. • Being highly self-critical. OHT 9.2(b)

  30. Indicators of Serious Psychological harm in parents and caregivers • Constant criticism, belittling, teasing. • Ignoring or withholding praise and affection. • Excessive or unreasonable demands. • Persistent hostility and severe verbal abuse, rejection and scapegoating. • Belief that a child or young person is “evil”. • Inappropriate physical or social isolation as punishment. • Where the adults behaviour harms the child’s safety, welfare and well-being. OHT 9.3

  31. Pre-Natal Reporting s.25 Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998 A person who has reasonable grounds to suspect before the birth of a child that the child may be at risk of harm after his or her birth may make a report. OHT 10.1

  32. Reporting of Homelessness s.120 Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998 Any person may report homelessness of a child. s.120 Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998 Any person may, with the consent of the young person, report the homelessness of a young person to the Director-General. OHT 10.2

  33. s.122Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998 A person who provides residential accommodation for another person who the person believes, on reasonable grounds a) is a child, and b) is living away from home without parental permission Must immediately inform DoCS of the child’s whereabouts. OHT 10.3

  34. Protection for people who make reports s.29 Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection Act, 1998 Provisions include: • Making a report cannot be seen as breaching professional ethics or etiquette, or as a departure from acceptable standards of professional conduct. • No liability for defamation, and no grounds for proceedings for malicious prosecution or conspiracy. • Protection from the report being used in various ways, or the identity of the report being disclosed without consent. OHT 12.1

  35. DoCS Response to Reports Helpline collects information and checks DoCS computer records. A written report is prepared to determine if there is a legislative basis for a response by DoCS. The Helpline Team Leader determines what happens with the information. The options are: 1. Referral to a JIRT (if the criteria is met), 2. Referral to the local Community Service Centre (CSC), 3. No immediate action - the information is kept on file. The CSC will respond according to local knowledge and available resources. OHT 13.1

  36. Exchange of Information • Allows for provision or exchange of information between DoCS and prescribed organisations specified in s.248 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998. • Prescribed organisations: police, government departments, schools, public health services and other mandatory reporters of risk of harm. • No breach of professional etiquette or ethics. • No liability for defamation and no grounds for civil proceedings for malicious prosecution or for conspiracy. OHT 13.2

  37. When DoCS don’t respond • Review information you have provided - is it clear and comprehensive. • Ask for feedback about DoCS response. • Continue to observe family, child or young person if possible. • Contact DoCS again if you have new information in relation to risk of harm. OHT 13.3

  38. What have we learned? • What are your responsibilities in reporting Risk of Harm? • How are you feeling? OHT 14.1


  40. Child protection – stay in pairs in all programs visual and auditory • Report all incidences no matter how small • Many small pieces paint a bigger picture • Children in detention are not considered high risk children

  41. CHILD PROTECTION PROCEDURE • Notify Team Leader immediately • Team leader to notify volunteer coordinator and ALIV President • ALIV President to take action and notify DOCS • ALIV President is mandatory reporter

  42. CHILD PROTECTION PROCEDURE • ALIV to give ref. no. to volunteer • Volunteer may go to DOCS if not given ref. no. within 24 hours • All volunteers to be debriefed on the incident • Volunteers not to discuss with other volunteers except for committee and team leader

  43. CHILD PROTECTION PROCEDURE • If Volunteer or team leader are unsure whether the matter is serious enough to report, they are to request advise from their Volunteer Coordinator or ALIV President • All matters that are reported to GSL, DIMA, or DOCS are to be reported to the ALIV President • If in doubt REPORT

  44. Getting Lazy with Policy and child protection • Its very common amongst these kind of programs for people to get lazy after a period of time has passed without any incidents. • Laziness is by far the most dangerous part of child protection. • The second most dangerous is when people don’t speak up or report because of uncomfortable or embarrassing feelings.

  45. Usually this can start with one person not doing the right thing. This then has a flow on affect. • Two things were wrong with this, firstly the observing volunteer not only got lazy as well but did not report the original volunteer • ALIV is not so focused on punishment but instead has a priority to correct people so not to endanger volunteers and children. • Many problems can be easily fixed if the ALIV committee is made aware of problems. • The large ALIV grows the more it depends on volunteers to speak up

  46. Toilet procedures