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1.2.7 Historical Abuse Allegations

This chapter was added to the manual in December 2014.


Contents

  1. Significance
  2. Response


1. Significance

Organisational responses to allegations by an adult of abuse experienced as a child must be of as high a standard as a response to current abuse because:

  • There is a significant likelihood that a person who abused a child(ren) in the past will have continued and may still be doing so;
  • Criminal prosecution remains a possibility if sufficient evidence can be carefully collated.

Police must be informed about allegations of crime at the earliest opportunity. Whether Police become involved in an investigation will depend of a number of factors including victim's wishes and the public interest.


2. Response

As soon as it is apparent an adult is revealing childhood abuse, the member of staff must avoid further questioning, record what is said and the responses given. A chronology should be undertaken and all records dated and the authorship made clear by a legible signature or name.

If possible, staff should establish if the adult is aware of the alleged perpetrator's recent or current whereabouts and contact with children.

An adult reporting her/his own experience of having been abused as a child should be asked whether (s)he wants a Police investigation and must be reassured that Police Safeguarding Investigation Units are able and willing to undertake such work even for those adults who are vulnerable as a result of mental health or learning disabilities.

Consideration must be given to the therapeutic needs of the adult and reassurance given that, even without her/his direct involvement all reasonable efforts will be made to look into what (s)he has reported.

The social worker (Customer Service Centre) should inform the Police and establish if there is any knowledge regarding the alleged perpetrator's current contact with children.

A Section 47 Enquiry should be initiated if the alleged perpetrator is known currently to be caring for, or has access to children (and may require making the necessary referral to the area where the alleged perpetrator is now known to live). See also Organised and Complex Abuse Procedure.

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