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Safeguarding question

(25 Posts)
youdidask Fri 02-Oct-20 17:05:53

Question for safeguarding g leads and pastoral care staff

If a child makes a disclosure of abuse to a group of their friends who then come forward to staff, do you debrief the friends/ give them support or not?

OP’s posts: |
Readandwalk Fri 02-Oct-20 17:07:56

Generally no. Once any abuse is disclosed it's taken over by safeguarding and becomes strictly confidential so talking about it to the friends is a big no.

FATEdestiny Fri 02-Oct-20 17:08:44


lanthanum Fri 02-Oct-20 17:22:33

Of course nobody should talk to the friends about the disclosure or what is happening safeguarding-wise, but surely they should be given the opportunity to talk to a suitable adult about what they've heard, so that they can process their own emotions. If that support is not provided in school, then where are they supposed to go? Ideally you don't want them needing to tell anyone else what their friend said, even their parents.

I've seen safeguarding policies that include something about debriefing for adults who have received a disclosure and are unsettled by it; even more important that some form of debrief is available for children - nothing breaking confidentiality, but something to support the children themselves.

Readandwalk Fri 02-Oct-20 17:39:39

There are very strict protocols in place for a reason. Chatting to the friends is an absolute no. One would thank them for telling, say it is going to a higher safeguarding person and that's that. Anything else is speculation and extremely unprofessional.

youdidask Fri 02-Oct-20 18:01:16


That's my thoughts.
They have been told some fairly disturbing stuff and nobody is helping them to process from the school.

OP’s posts: |
Readandwalk Fri 02-Oct-20 18:14:28

The staff can't, their hands are tied. Is there a school counsellor?

youdidask Fri 02-Oct-20 18:18:59

Well that's what I mean- surely they should be offered some support?

OP’s posts: |
Readandwalk Fri 02-Oct-20 18:27:30

Most schools with counsellors are recommended students by form tutors. Teachers cannot discuss any further, any case once it goes to a higher safeguarding official.

Follow the schools procedure for a student needing counselling.

IHateCoronavirus Fri 02-Oct-20 18:36:26

Debriefing no confidentiality is of the upmost importance. If a child traumatised by what they have heard, counselling is an option, normally with school welfare officer. This would normally be peruses by form tutor/head of year.

FATEdestiny Fri 02-Oct-20 18:40:02

@youdidask there will be pupils in the school who have been through all sorts of different kinds of trauma. Several pupils, sadly.

It's not the role of a school to council for trauma, that is the role of the medical profession not the educational profession.

Some schools employ a part time school nurse and sometimes a councillor - but be aware that demand for this will be big, there may be a waiting list for counciling and a form of triage to establish those most in need. The same is true for CAMHS, only those most in need will get access.

You can ask the school for a referal to this - it's not the school who do the councilling but they can refer. Be aware that it's not an automatic right though, your child may be deemed not serious enough trauma to take the place of someone more in need.

The other option is to pay privately.

Hercwasonaroll Fri 02-Oct-20 18:41:53

Nothing should be said to the friends (rightly).

I agree with Fate, any counselling needs to be done by a medical professional not a teacher.

youdidask Fri 02-Oct-20 18:50:34

It all seems a bit shit really.
I get that there will be many kids experience trauma - I'm not stupid.
I know enough about safeguarding to know that the specifics of the case can't be discussed but it seems like no one has even said 'are you alright?' to the kids.

It's not 'traumatic' enough for camis but if it comes out who went to the teacher it's going to get ugly and they are feeling pretty abandoned right now.

OP’s posts: |
Hercwasonaroll Fri 02-Oct-20 19:05:05

The teachers can't discuss it though. They have to protect the individual who is being abused. Teachers have to pretty much pretend they didn't hear anything.

I understand its rubbish for the discloser. It shouldn't come out who went to the teacher, why do they think it will?

youdidask Fri 02-Oct-20 19:10:51

I guess we're a house of talkers which is why my child was able to tell me and we talked to the school.
It feels wrong that is a - thank you for speaking up now never speak of it again- situation.
It feels like reinforcing the sweep it under the carpet, don't mention the dirty secret.

OP’s posts: |
Hercwasonaroll Fri 02-Oct-20 19:22:22

I can see that. However the priority is the child being abused. They deserve procedures and laws to be followed, so that if the abuse reaches a court case, prosecution have the best chance.

Readandwalk Fri 02-Oct-20 19:39:01

Of course theycan't mention it, its not sweeping anything under the carpet it is protecting the child who is potentially being abused.

lanthanum Fri 02-Oct-20 20:58:28

Of course the staff can't tell them anything, but somebody should be listening to them and helping them handle how they're feeling.
If this is your kid, youdidask, tell the school that you quite understand that the children won't be told anything further about their friend's situation, but they do need some support. If they're not given that support, I would think it rather increases the risk that they talk about it to other people.

Guymere Fri 02-Oct-20 22:30:21

Actually schools have a duty of care towards all children. Not just the abused child. The Designated Safeguarding lead in school should be able to access a counselling service for the children. The Safeguarding policy will focus on the abused child but there other agencies which can help. The Safeguarding Policy should list them and I would contact them with brief details. There are also officers from charities who might be available. It is important the school does recognise other children have been affected and ensure their needs are met. However, as a parent, I would be ringing up the LADO and exploring what could be offered to my DC in such circumstances. These DC should not be ignored or abandoned. They, too, must be listened to and their needs met. Schools cannot just walk away from this.

Hercwasonaroll Fri 02-Oct-20 23:04:42

Guymere you are correct that school should be able to signpost external agencies. The other students obviously need safeguarding too.

However teachers shouldn't be having those discussions.

Guymere Sat 03-Oct-20 15:48:43

Agreed. Not teachers. But the op should be signposted to those who can help. If not, as I said, the Safeguarding Policy will have info that could be useful although might be silent on how child witnesses should be supported. Most I’ve seen detail how teachers should be supported and rather assume other DC are not involved.

youdidask Sun 04-Oct-20 05:44:28

I was beginning to doubt myself.

The reality is my child is a naturally anxious one. We work hard with her to combat her worries. The actual disclosure we have talked about and I think she is okay but the wider ramifications are not something we or she have control over.
The friendship fall out could be potentially very ugly and it is really worrying her.

All I want the school to do is reassure them they did the right thing in coming forward and keep an eye on the dynamics/protect the whistleblowers as well as the abused child.

OP’s posts: |
Guymere Sun 04-Oct-20 08:57:25

You are correct that the school should do this. Who is the head of pastoral care? That’s the first person to contact I think. I think the welfare of the pupils is a matter for the school and is a separate issue from the safeguarding procedures. Speak to the Pastoral Care team tomorrow. You have legitimate concerns.

CamillasHardHat Tue 06-Oct-20 07:26:27

Pastoral is all we were offered after Ds2's friend tried to commit suicide. There is more to the situation with the friend actually changing their mind but they had overdosed on tablets and they reached out on a group chat. It was horrific to read that the next morning, my son was asleep when it all happened but another friend was awake and the messaging chain was heartbreaking.

But pastoral are trained counsellors at our school so it is a great starting point and they can refer a child on if needed. We have 2 pastoral staff per year group who move up every year with the children for continuity of care. Plus a head of year who does the same.

Can your DD go and see her pastoral tutor?

youdidask Tue 06-Oct-20 18:17:57

I contacted the safeguarding lead at the end of last week.
Tumble weed in response.
The abused child has completely ostracised one of the whistleblowers as have other members of the group.
It's awful.
There a form changes coming this week

I'm a bit pissed off to have been ignored tbh

OP’s posts: |

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