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London Safeguarding Children Board: Child Protection Procedures 5th Edition London SCB Powered by tri.x Powered by tri.x
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20. Non-Recent (Historical) Abuse

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Contents

20.1

Introduction

20.2

Required Response


20.1

Introduction

 

20.1.1

It is not unusual for people to disclose experiences of physical, sexual and / or emotional abuse and / or neglect which constitute significant harm (see Responding to Concerns of Abuse and Neglect Procedure) only when they reach adulthood.

Significant harm is defined in Responding to Concerns of Abuse and Neglect Procedure, Concept of significant harm as a situation where as a child the person suffered a degree of physical, sexual and / or emotional harm (through abuse or neglect), which was so harmful that there should have been compulsory intervention by child protection agencies into the life of the child and their family.

20.1.2

Organisational responses to allegations by an adult of abuse experienced as a child must be of as high a standard as a response to current abuse because:

  • There is a significant likelihood that a person who abused a child/ren in the past will have continued and may still be doing so;
  • Criminal prosecution may be possible if sufficient evidence can be carefully collated.

20.1.3

Wherever historical abuse enquiries relate to alleged abuse such as the recent enquiries and investigations involving high profile celebrities and people who work within institutions as paid staff and/or  volunteers or patrons in for example children's homes, hospitals or residential / boarding schools, professionals should follow the processes in Organised and Complex Abuse Procedure; and consult the Government guidance Complex Child Abuse Investigations: Inter-Agency Issues (Home Office and DH, 2002).


20.2

Required Response

 

20.2.1

When an adult discloses childhood abuse, the professional receiving the information should record the discussion in detail. If possible, the professional should establish if the adult has any knowledge of the alleged abuser's recent or current whereabouts and contact with children.

20.2.2

In view of the potential continuing risk the alleged abuser may pose to children, the professional should make a referral promptly to LA children's social care, in line with the Referral and Assessment Procedure.

20.2.3

The LA children's social worker receiving the referral should seek sufficient information to develop a chronology, and all records must be dated and the authorship made clear.

20.2.4

If information about the current whereabouts of the alleged abuser has not yet been gathered, LA children's social care should establish this as a matter of urgency.

20.2.5

The adult who has disclosed should be asked whether they want a police investigation and must be reassured that the police are able and willing to progress an investigation even for those adults who are vulnerable as a result of mental ill health or learning disabilities.

20.2.6

LA children's social care should reassure the adult that, even without their direct involvement, all reasonable efforts will be made to investigate the alleged abuse. LA children's social care should support the adult to access therapeutic or other services, as appropriate.

20.2.7

The LA children's social worker should:

  • Inform the police at the earliest opportunity and establish if there is any information regarding the alleged abuser's current contact with children, irrespective of the wishes of the victim as to whether a police prosecution should take place;
  • Inform the LA Safeguarding manager and, if the alleged abuser is in any kind of work, paid or unpaid, related to children, the Designated Officer if the adult who has disclosed requests a police investigation or if the allegations involve organised and complex abuse (police involvement in an investigation will depend on a number of factors, including the victim's wishes and the public interest);
  • Initiate a child protection enquiry if the alleged abuser is known to be currently caring for children or has access to children. This must include making a referral to LA children's social care in the area where the alleged abuser is currently living.

20.2.8

Where an adult alleges abuse in childhood in a different local authority area, the case should be transferred to agencies in the area where the abuse is alleged to have taken place. Parallel enquiries may be needed if the alleged abuser has contact with children elsewhere. The co-ordinating LA children's social care should be the one responsible for the geographical area where the abuse is alleged to have taken place.

20.2.9

Where the abuse is alleged in a former children's home, residential school or other institution, the responsible LA children's social care should be the one relating to the local authority responsible for running the establishment concerned at the time, irrespective of where the children's home or residential / boarding school is / was located. It is important that there is effective communication about roles and responsibilities between agencies in such circumstances. See Organised and Complex Abuse Procedure; and consult the Government guidance Complex Child Abuse Investigations: Inter-Agency Issues (Home Office and DH, 2002).

20.2.10

The responsible police service for investigation will be the one covering the area where the alleged abuse is said to have taken place. Where it relates to several different geographical areas and police forces coordination and lines of communications must be agreed.