Responding to Concerns
Why it is important to respond to concerns
It takes considerable courage for a child or adult to disclose abuse. Disclosures need to be handled very carefully and sensitively to avoid causing further distress to the child.
All concerns must be responded to in a way that ensures that a child receives appropriate help and support and to ensure that appropriate action is taken against those who pose a risk to children and to protect not only the child involved but all other children.
Robust procedures for responding to concerns will:
- help to avoid those receiving information from engaging in judgements.
- reassure those who report concerns that an appropriate course of action will ensue.
- support those charged with managing concerns by providing them with a step-by-step process to follow.
- safeguard the rights of those against whom complaints or allegations have been made.
It is not the job of anyone in the Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling to decide whether or not a child has been abused. It is however, everyone’s responsibility to report concerns
The following is taken from Sharing Information About Children at Risk: A Guide to Good Practice (Scottish Executive, 2003).
Information provided to organisations should remain confidential unless permission has been given to share the information by the individual concerned or the safety of that person or another person may be at risk.
If there is a reasonable concern that a child may be at risk of significant harm, this will always override a professional or organisational requirement to keep information confidential. It is good practice to inform parents and children about the kind of situations which may lead to them having to share information with other agencies.
Concerned adults are sometimes reluctant to report concerns about abuse for fear that the person suspected will sue them for defamation if the allegation turns out to be unfounded.
To be defamatory a statement must first of all be untrue. Even if subsequently shown to be untrue, the statement will be protected by ‘qualified privilege’ if it is made to the appropriate authority “in response to a duty, whether legal, moral or social or in the protection of an interest” (Norrie K, Defamation and Related Actions in Scots Law, 1995). Unjustified repetition of the allegations to other persons will not be protected by privilege.
The qualification on privilege refers to statements made by malice. If a statement, even to the appropriate authority, can be shown to be motivated by malice, then an action of defamation could be successful.
(Taken from Guidelines for Child Protection Prepared for the Independent Schools in Scotland, Kathleen Marshall, Second Edition, January 1997)
Procedures for Responding to Concerns About a Child or the Conduct of a Member of Staff or Volunteer
These procedures apply to all staff and volunteers involved in the Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling.
Procedures for Post Incident Review of the Management of Child Protection Concerns
After any incident involving Child Protection concerns the SFCA will conduct a thorough review of both internal procedures and policies and on the way in which the incident was managed throughout the process. This review process is designed to ensure that all relevant lessons are learned and that policies and procedures are updated where required to ensure that every possible safeguard is in place. The post incident review will be conducted regardless of whether a concern raised is found to be legitimate or not and irrespective of whether any action is taken against a member of staff, coach or volunteer.
In conducting the post incident review the following procedures are to be followed: