Child Protection Policy

The school recognises its obligations to protect children from abuse or the risk of abuse.  In seeking to provide this protection the Board of Governors, Principal and staff have regard to the following principles

  • The welfare of the child is paramount
  • Responsibility for Child Protection rests with the Health & Social Services Board to whose officials our concerns will be referred
  • The right to confidentiality for children, parents and staff must be respected
  • Information will only be shared in the interest of the child’s welfare.

Abuse may take a number of forms:

  • neglect

  • physical injury

  • sexual abuse

  • emotional abuse

see Appendix 1

A family member, carer, acquaintance or a stranger who may be an adult or young child may abuse children.  The abuse may be as a result of a deliberate act or of a failure on the part of those with a duty of care to provide it.  We recognise that abuse may originate within school.

All staff are required to be alert to the needs of the students they encounter during their work.

They should be

  • Alert to signs of abuse
  • Be familiar with the procedures (see Appendix II) to be followed in cases where they are concerned that abuse is taking or has taken place and
  • Recognise the importance of creating and maintaining an atmosphere in which students can express their concerns in relation to abuse freely and in confidence.

St. Joseph’s College has Designated a teacher with responsibility for Child Protection matters; Mrs H. Palmer.  The school shall include in its Pastoral Education Programme a module dealing with personal protection measures for young people.

Role of Board of Governors

  • Be aware of Child Protection issues and the implications for schools
  • To ensure that the school has a Child Protection Policy and that staff implement the policy
  • Be aware of the need for confidentiality in matters relating to Child Protection

Role of Staff Members

  • Be able to recognise signs of abuse and to be receptive to information re abuse
  • To know when to refer their concerns to the designated teacher
  • To make a written record of what has led to the concern/suspicion –
See Appendix 3

Role of Designated Teacher

  • To ensure that all staff are aware of the procedures to be followed when abuse is suspected
  • Report cases of suspected abuse to the relevant agencies
  • Maintain records of all cases of suspected abuse
  • To maintain confidentiality in relation to all matters relating to abuse
  • Ensure that teachers are aware of those students whose names are on the Child Protection Register.
  • Report regularly to the BOG regarding Child Protection issues.

Guidelines for Staff

Staff should maintain a professional relationship with students at all times.

Physical contact between any staff member and students should be avoided where possible.  In the case of students who become ill or who suffer an injury the member of staff who is present should immediately send for another member of staff.

Staff should avoid one to one contact with students as much as possible.  Where one to one contact is unavoidable it should take place in as public a manner as possible, such as, the classroom door fully open and in line of sight of those passing outside the doorway.

In their relationships with students staff should guard against taking actions or using words that could be construed as being in any way abusive.

Complaints against a member of staff

In cases where a student reports abuse by a member of staff, the member of staff receiving such a report must immediately report the matter to the Principal or in the absence of the Principal the Vice Principal in charge of the school.

Where a member of staff is concerned that abuse of a student by another member of staff is taking place he/she must relay those concerns immediately to the Principal.  Should those concerns relate to the behaviour of the Principal they should be relayed to the Chairman of the Board of Governors.

Role of Principal
(or Vice Principal acting in his absence)

On receipt of an allegation of abuse against a member of staff the Principal must

  • Immediately inform the Chairman of the Board of Governors
  • Investigate the allegation in accordance with guidelines agreed by CLEA and Teachers’ Unions (1994).

The Preventative Curriculum

In addition to the PD programme throughout the school, we endeavour to meet our students’ needs by our use of outside agencies and our willingness as a Pastoral Team to have a listening ear.

Outside agency involvement:

  1. School Nurse
  2. Women’s Aid
  3. Aware Defeat Depression
  4. New Life Counselling Service.
  5. The Road Service DOE
  6. PSNI –  Leslie Ward, Liaison Officer
  7. Road Safety – John Wilson
  8. LATCH
  9. Praxis Care
  10. Youth Action
  11. B E A M
Download Appendix 1: Recognising Abuse
Download Appendix 2: Report Sheet