If you think a child is in immediate danger of harm contact Sherman Cymru Child Protection Officer (CPO) Margaret Jones straight away. (In the absence of MJ, contact (Sally Shepherd).
You should never delay taking emergency action to protect a child.
Thankfully, it is more likely that you have worries or concerns about a child's welfare rather than a need to take immediate action.
If you are concerned about a child's welfare don't keep it to yourself. Please speak immediately to the CPO who will consider all the available facts before deciding on a course of action. Where concerns persist, then the CPO will make a referral to Cardiff's children's services intake and assessment team, and tell them they would like to report a child at risk.
It's possible that your concerns might not seem to be enough on their own to justify looking into the situation - but they may help to build up a picture, along with other concerns from other sources, which suggests that a child may be suffering harm.
You may be asked by the CPO to complete the incident form and put in writing, in the words of the young person, or person reporting the incident to you. Your responsibility to the case then ENDS at this point. The CPO will take responsibility from here on in. You may only be involved again should the case go to court, or should the police require witness statements – in which case we cannot guarantee to you that we won't have to say who you are.
If you are working in a school, youth club, or other circumstances outside of the Sherman, but as a Sherman Cymru employee working with young people, STILL follow the above guidance/procedure – contact the Sherman's CPO whose responsibility it is to report to the school (or centre) CPO. Once you have reported to the Sherman's CPO, your responsibility, as above, ends there.
Guidance from social services
If you've not got all the details of the child or family then we would still like to hear from you. But please make a note and report as much information as you can. This could include:
- The reasons for your concerns
- Home address and age or date of birth
- The names, addresses and ages or dates of birth of family members along with other names they are known by
- The names of professionals involved with the family such as their doctor, health visitor, schools
- Any information about the safety of people who might visit the family
(SC staff have an incident form to complete)
If for any reason you do not wish to speak to social services, there are many people you could tell. You could tell a teacher or someone in the health services who knows the family. Any of them would know what to do with the information.
Can I be anonymous?
You might be a member of staff working for one of the agencies involved or you might be a friend, neighbour, relative. Staff can't remain anonymous, but otherwise we will do everything we can to protect your identity whether or not you ask us to do this. Sometimes the information you give us might reveal your identity. And as sometimes we have to go to court, we cannot guarantee to you that we won't have to say who you are.
Who should I tell?
The CPO will report your concerns to the Duty Officer at:
Intake and Assessment Team
029 2053 6400 - during office hours
Emergency Duty Team
029 2044 8360 - out of office hours
Emergency if non of above available and you have concerns that a young person is at immediate risk of further harm and the CPO is unavailable = RING 101 (police).
If the behaviour of any adult including those looking after children causes you concern:
- Do not dismiss your concern
- Do not confront the person who you have concerns about
- If you are someone working with children, discuss your concerns with your manager. If you feel this is inappropriate or you are not satisfied with the response, contact Intake and Assessment telephone 029 2053 6400, Child Protection Co-ordinator 029 2077 4600 or the police
- In cases of concern about the behaviour of a Council colleague, Cardiff Council employees must follow the procedures specified in Cardiff Council's Child Protection Policy CH.410 (allegations of abuse against a professional, staff member or volunteer in contact with children)
- It is very important that you do not ignore or dismiss your suspicions