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Managing Allegations Against Staff

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Summary
Considerations
Examples of Policy Statements

Summary

Any allegation that a member of staff has behaved in an inappropriate or unsafe way must be taken seriously and handled in an appropriate manner that ensures the child’s safety.

Consider:

Examples of Policy Statements:

  • {Your Organisation} will respond to suspicions and allegations of child abuse by a member of staff in a manner which best ensures children’s or young persons’ immediate and long-term safety and will treat suspicions or allegations against a staff member with the same seriousness as suspicions or allegations made against any other person.

  • {Your Organisation} will not act alone, and will refer all suspected situations of child abuse to Police or Child, Youth and Family. The safety of the child will be the primary consideration, and no person in this organisation will collude to protect an adult or an organisation.

  • Allegations will be treated in such a way that the rights of adults and the stress upon the staff member are also taken into consideration.

  • When abuse is suspected or an allegation made against a staff member, the first consideration will be to ensure the safety of child.

  • When abuse is suspected, staff will follow the process for Responding to Suspected Child Abuse included in this policy.

  • When there are suspicions of abuse by a staff member, both staff and children’s rights are to be attended to. This means that the safety of the child is of first concern, and that the staff member must have access to legal and professional advice.

  • The person managing the child abuse issue will not be the same person as that managing the employment issue.

  • The suspected staff member (or volunteer) will be prevented from having further unsupervised access to children during any investigation and will be informed fully of their rights.

  • Staff will declare to a senior person any situation where there could be a conflict of interest, and provision made on a case-by-case basis about who will handle the process.

  • If a child discloses abuse, staff will also follow the guide Dealing with Disclosures of Abuse.
  • {Your Organisation} will adhere to the principles of the Employment Contract’s Act and give the staff member all information regarding this or her rights.

  • {Your Organisation} recognises the added stress to fellow staff in such a situation, and will ensure support is available.

  • The Designated Person for Child Protection must immediately ensure that the suspected individual does not have any contact with the child making the allegation.  A risk assessment must be undertaken to determine what level of access, if any, that person should have, to other children.

  • If the police decide to undertake a criminal investigation then the member of staff may be suspended, without prejudice, as a precautionary measure. It is important that no internal investigation is undertaken, and no evidence gathered that might prejudice the criminal investigation.

  • If {Your Organisation} is aware that a member of staff it has placed on precautionary suspension also works with children for another organisation, either as an employee or a volunteer, it should ensure that the other organisation is informed of the suspension and the subsequent outcome.  Consultation with Child, Youth and Family or the Police will determine how this information is conveyed. 

  • {Your Organisation} should liaise with Child Youth and Family and the Police regarding the progress of the investigation.

  • If there is insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal prosecution, then a disciplinary investigation may still be undertaken if there is "reasonable cause to suspect" that abuse may have occurred. The allegation may represent inappropriate behaviour of poor practice by a member of staff which needs to be considered under internal disciplinary procedures.