Child Protection Policy

 Background

The Child Care Act (1991), Children’s Act 2001 and the UN

Convention on the Rights of the Child (1992), enshrine in law the

paramount principle of the welfare of children. They were designed

to promote the welfare and protection of children (0 – 18 years). The

acts cover the rights and responsibilities of parents, the protection

of children in emergencies, children in care, the supervision of pre-

schools and the duty of the Health Service Executive (HSE) to

promote the welfare of children who are not receiving adequate care

and protection.

 

In 2004, “Child Protection Guidelines for Post Primary schools”,

updated in 2011, was published by the Department of Health and

Science and offers support and guidance to people who come into

regular contact with children, and who are, therefore, in a position of

responsibility in recognising and responding to possible child abuse.

 

Legislative Basis for policy

1. Child Care Act 1991

2. Children’s Act 2001

3. Education Act 1998

4. Education and Welfare Act 2000

5. Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse 1998

6. Freedom of Information Act 1997/2003

 

Copies of these acts can be found at www.education.ie

 

This Child Protection Policy is drawn up in conjunction with these

acts and guidelines. In Loreto High School Beaufort, the safety and

protection of the child is of paramount importance in all situations.

 

Care Team

The management of Loreto High School, Beaufort, have in place a

care team to help with the recognition and reporting of child abuse

and to provide a support to children at risk of child abuse. This care

team comprises:

Designated Liaison Person (DLP): Margaret O Donoghue (Principal)

Deputy Designated Liaison Person (DDLP): Francis Carolan (Deputy

Principal)

Guidance Counsellors: Moya Mc Dowell, Anne Fagan

Chaplain: Niamh Donohue

Year Heads

Form Teachers

 

Recognising Child Abuse

Loreto High School, Beaufort, will endeavour to protect pupils from

abuse or risk of abuse. Abuse can fall under the following four

headings: Neglect, Emotional Abuse, Sexual abuse and Physical

Abuse. All members of staff are expected to be vigilant and report

concerns immediately to the DLP, DDLP or the Guidance Counsellor.

Beaufort is a “telling” school where students are encouraged to report

to staff any type of bullying or abuse they may be aware of. Students

are also aware that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed if it

compromises the safety of a student. The safety and protection of

students is a priority in all cases.

 

The following would merit further investigation:

A student reports the abuse

Another person may report seeing a student being abused

Obvious evidence of physical injuries inconsistent with an accident

A student showing signs of being emotionally distressed

 

Copies of the “Child Protection Guidelines for Post Primary Schools”

can be got from the DLP and the DDLP and are available in the staff

room and on www.education.ie

 

Keeping Records

Where child abuse is suspected, staff members will make a written

record of all information available. This written record will include:

1. Date and Time

2. Place where disclosure was made/concern was raised

3. Facts pertaining to the case

Where possible, the students own words should be quoted in the

report. No leading questions shall be asked.

This written record will not contain any opinions or judgements and

will be given to the DLP or DDLP. No attempt will be made by any

member of staff to investigate the issue other than to establish if

there are reasonable grounds for concern. Where the DLP or DDLP

establish there are grounds for concern, the DLP will inform the HSE

immediately through the Duty Social Worker. The parents will always

be informed except where this may endanger a student further.

 

In the event of an emergency, or where the HSE cannot be

contacted, a report will be made to An Garda Siochana.

 

The written record will be kept confidential at all times and stored in a

safe place by the DLP/DDLP to protect the student involved.

 

Allegations made against teachers

Where an allegation is made against a teacher or other member of

staff, it will be the responsibility of the School Principal to ensure that

any complaint is thoroughly investigated, (protecting the rights of

both the child and the employee). Where the complaint is against the

Principal the BOM has this responsibility.

 

For the safety and protection of teachers, any teacher/staff member

who has an allegation made against them is encouraged to contact

ASTI/relevant trade union for support and advice. Teachers are also

made aware of the Employee Assistance Service, organised through

the VHI, which offers a range of health services including counselling

to teachers affected by these issues.

 

Loreto High School Beaufort, recognises the right of parents/pupils,

granted under the Freedom of Information Act 1997/2003, of access

to records of personal information and the right to make personal

corrections where there are inaccuracies. Loreto High School

Beaufort also ensures the protection of anyone making a report of

child abuse as provided under the “Protection for Persons Reporting

Child Abuse Act 1998”.

 

This policy is not a stand alone document but part of a whole school

response to child protection. Other policies and guidelines which

ensure the safety and protection of the child at all times include:

1. Code of Behaviour.

2. Anti – bullying policy.

3. RSE Policy.

4. Professional Codes and Best Practice Guidelines for Teachers

as set out by the Teaching Council, ASTI/TUI and JMB.