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7. Third party/anonymous referrals/allegations:

Families not known to the church:

  • In cases where allegations are made by a third party, the role of the church worker is to elicit as much information as possible from the referrer. Unless the person wishes to remain anonymous this should include the referrer's details (name, address, telephone number) and as much factual detail as possible about the child and family concerned (names of family members, address, name/date of birth of subject child, ethnic origin, etc.). Information as to the cause of concern/nature of injuries/observations should be included.
  • The church worker must inform the referrer that information relating to any child at risk, will be shared with their church leader and may result in referral to the Social Services Department, and in this event the Social Services Department may wish to interview the referrer (if known) as part of the child protection investigation.
  • The church worker will then report the above information to the church leader and the latter will then seek the advice from the PCCA and then if there are sufficient concerns to make a referral to the Social Services Department.

Families known to the church:

  • In cases known to the church where the church suspects from either direct observation, third party, from the child or from a parent/carer, that the child is/has suffered sexual abuse, the matter must be reported immediately to the line manager/church leaders (in the case of your Church at present are .................. ..........) with a view to referral to Social Services Department or direct to the to the authorities if the church leaders are implicated.
  • Should a child allege sexual abuse, the parents should not under any circumstances be informed. Where a parent/carer alleges sexual abuse by another person, the parent/carer should be advised not to inform the alleged perpetrator. Should the church worker by direct observation suspect sexual abuse, they should discuss this immediately with the church leader, with a view to discussion with Social Services as to how the matter will be dealt with.
  • In cases of physical, emotional abuse or neglect where the church worker, by observation considers that such concerns exist. The church worker should suggest to a parent that they should seek medical help. Approaching the doctor is less threatening and it's then up to the medical practitioner to decide whether there is a question of abuse which needs to be referred to Social Services. If a parent is reluctant, then the worker could consider going with them or, if they fail to co-operate, then the matter should be immediately discussed with the line manager/church leader, who will refer to Social Services Department if appropriate. Normally in these circumstances a church worker will inform the parent of his/her duty to refer such concerns to the Social Services Department and the probability of interview by social worker and/or police officer. Of course, in cases of serious injury the church worker should summon medical help immediately.

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