5.16 Historical Abuse Allegations
This chapter was reviewed for the October 2015 edition of the manual.
All SSCB agencies and their partner agencies responses to allegations by an adult of abuse experienced as a child must be of as high standard as a response to allegations of current abuse because:
- There is a significant likelihood that a person, who abused a child in the past, will have continued and may still be doing so;
- Criminal prosecution remains a possibility, if sufficient evidence can be carefully collated;
- Any potential victims should have the opportunity to be listened to.
As soon as it is apparent that an adult is revealing childhood abuse, the practitioner involved must record what is said by the adult and the responses given by the practitioner must be recorded as well.
If possible, the practitioner should establish, if the adult is aware of the alleged perpetrator’s recent or current whereabouts and contact with children.
A Chronology may be helpful and all records must be dated and the authorship made clear by a legible signature or name.
The adult should be asked whether s/he feels able to cope with a police investigation, and must be reassured that the Police Child Abuse Investigation teams are able to undertake such work including for vulnerable adults, whether they vulnerable as a result of mental health or learning disabilities or any other reason.
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 practitioner should:
- Inform the police and establish whether there is any knowledge regarding the alleged perpetrator’s current contact with children;
- Consider and consult with the Manager of the Safeguarding Children Unit if the adult service user requests a police investigation or if action under the Contacts and Referrals Procedure if the alleged perpetrator is known currently to be caring for, or has access to children (including making the necessary referral to the area where the perpetrator is known to live now - see Risk Management of Individuals Who Pose a Risk of Harm to Children Procedure).
3. Allegations Against Adults Who Worked with Children
If the adult is disclosing abuse against an individual who worked with children, a referral must be made to the Local Authority Designated Officer known as the LADO.
The LADO will initially:
- Undertake checks to establish if the alleged perpetrator is currently working with children;
- Check LADO database for any previous allegations;
- Check Children’s Services records;
- Inform the Police of the allegation;
- Advise the adult, who is disclosing abuse, that they will share the information with the Police, and it will be the individuals decision as to whether they wish to support a criminal investigation;
- Provide or advise re support options for the victim;
- If the alleged perpetrator is currently working in a role in the Children’s Workforce, LADO will contact the relevant employer;
- If it is known that the individual has moved to work or lives in another LA, they will contact the LADO in that area to share information;
- Efforts will be made to establish whether the adult has current contact with children and if so a referral will be made to Children’s Social Care.
Police criminal investigation:
If the adult decides that they wish to support a criminal investigation, it will be a Police led investigation under the Guidance in relation to Managing Allegations against Staff, Carers and Volunteers.
If the adult decides not to support a criminal investigation at this stage, the LADO will:
- Expect the establishment (if still in operation) to undertake an internal review of information held. This would confirm their employment records, whether any concerns were raised about the member of staff at the time;
- Suggest they make contact with adult victim to offer advice and support, reiterate that they can go directly to Police;
- Confirm via their internal review that their current policies and procedures are in line with statutory guidance and identify learning points that will confirm the situation relating to the allegation could be prevented now.