Safeguarding parents

What to do if a parent/carer discloses:

Whilst it is essential to report disclosures of violence experienced by children under 18 to safeguard them from harm; it is not the same for adults and it is important to maintain confidentiality when adults disclose violence. Unless there are children at risk, for example if there are children in their home where she has disclosed domestic violence, or if they are considered to be high risk or deemed to be ‘vulnerable’.

There is no duty to report but if you have any concerns that a child could also be at risk or serious concerns and need someone to talk to contact your organisation’s child protection lead.

Respond:

  • Listen carefully, stay calm, and validate her feelings
  • Take it seriously and ensure her that you are on her side, but do not make promises that you will not be able to keep.
  • Do not push her to talk about it if she does not want to.
  • Do not judge her. Maintain confidentiality if she is over 18.

Inform:

  • Provide her with information of relevant support services that she can contact herself or refer directly if requested.
  • Encourage her to seek some form of support.
  • Inform her of next steps and possible options.

Support:

  • Offer immediate support, understanding and reassurance.
  • Find yourself support as it can be distressing to listen to others

Refer:

If you are concerned that a child is at risk the make an immediate referral to the designated child protection lead.

Top Tips to safeguard parents/carers:

If a parent/carers discloses, the following things need to be consider in your response to her disclosure so that you can ensure that they, and their children receive the support that they need:

  1. Always put the women’s safety first
  2. Always put the child’s safety first, consider if the children at risk and if so, follow the organisation’s child protection policy and procedure.
  3. Never ask the woman about abuse in front of anyone else
  4. Always have information available that can support any disclosure
  5. Check that the woman can read or write, or do they need an interpreter. If the woman does need an interpreter never use a family friend or someone from the local community.
  6. Never promise anything you can’t deliver and be honest that some information has to be passed on, this is because of the risk to children.
  7. Listen to the woman and do not judge her
  8. Never tell a woman to leave; leaving violent situations does not create safety.  Women are at increased risk or serious injury at the point of separation after leaving a violent partner. In the UK, 76% of domestic violence murder victims had already ended the relationship [87].
  9. Support victims in problem solving. This will empower them and help them make choices about their life.
  10. Keep yourself safe and get support from colleagues.
  11. Never give the woman information to take home if this is going to increase the risk to them
  12. Keep a record of what the woman tells you. Keep it factual and do not insert your opinions as this may later become evidence for legal proceedings.
  13. Refer the woman to sources of support.