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1.5 Allegations of Abuse in Care

Last Modified: 18-Jun-2020 Review Date: 01-Jun-2019

Purpose

​​To provide information about the procedures residential care staff must follow where a child in the CEO’s care makes an allegation of abuse.

Practice Requirements
  • When residential care staff receive an allegation of abuse in care by an adult or a child, he or she must take immediate action to make sure the child and other children in the home are safe and report the allegation (verbally and by email) to the house manager, the On-Call manager in the event an allegation is made after hours, and the Assistant Director. Brief allegation details are to be recorded in case notes (with the exception of allegations against employees).
  • The Manager or Assistant Director 
    • informs the Director and/or Assistant Director, Residential Care and the child's case manager, and 
    • the residential care worker, manager, and the home's psychologist (where possible) undertake a risk assessment of the child and other children in the placement and take appropriate protective action and update safety plans as required. 
  • All allegations of abuse in care are to be placed on the child's residential care file, with the exception of allegations against employees due to reasons of confidentiality.  The home's manager decides whether a Critical Incident Report must be completed.
  • Refer to the following Casework Practice Manual entries for information about investigation processes: 
    • Safety and Wellbeing Assessment – safety and wellbeing concerns regarding children in the care of the CEO, and 
    • Responding to standard of care concerns and safety and wellbeing concerns against Department employees. 

Procedures

  • Allegations of current abuse while in the CEO’s care
  • Where the allegation relates to a Department employee
  • Allegations of abuse prior to care
  • Allegations of current abuse while in the CEO’s care

    The Department has a duty of care to all children while they are in the CEO’s care. Where a child is in the CEO’s care and there is an allegation of abuse and/or neglect, the Department has a responsibility to assess the allegation in a timely manner.​​.​

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    Where the allegation relates to a Department employee

    ​Where the allegation relates to a Department employee, the investigation must adhere to the Department's procedures and guidelines for managing such allegations and/or misconduct under the Public Sector Management Act 1994. Residential care staff should refer to Administration Manual entry Reporting and Handling Misconduct

    Where residential care staff receives information alleging that a child in the CEO's care has been harmed (non-accidental) or is at risk of harm, he or she must: 

    • take immediate action to make sure the child and other children in the home are safe; 
    • inform the home's manager and/or Assistant Director and the child's case manager, and 

    The information should include: 

    • details of the alleged incident 
    • the date the residential care staff was advised 
    • the name of the person who informed the residential care staff 
    • how the staff member was advised, and 
    • the names of all persons involved. Staff must acknowledge the child, but should not enter into further discussions about the incident – this is the case manager's role.

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    Allegations of abuse prior to care

    If a child in the CEO’s care makes a disclosure or allegation relating to an incident before he or she came into the CEO’s care, residential care staff, in consultation with the home’s manager, should inform the child’s case manager immediately verbally and by email.

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