Child Protection Guidance

Members of the dental team are in a position where they may observe the signs of child abuse or neglect or hear something that causes them concern about a child.

The dental team has an ethical responsibility to find out about and follow local procedures for child protection and to follow them if a child is or might be at risk of abuse or neglect (Standards for dental professionals, GDC 2005). There is also a responsibility to ensure that children are not at risk from members of the profession. The dental team is not responsible for making a diagnosis of child abuse or neglect, just for sharing concerns appropriately. Abuse and neglect are described in four categories:

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. It may also be caused by a parent or carer fabricating the symptoms of, or deliberately causing, illness in a child. Orofacial trauma occurs in at least 50% of children diagnosed with physical abuse – and a child with one injury may have further injuries that are not visible.

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment causing severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of the other person. It may feature · age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children · interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability · overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning · preventing the child participating in normal social interaction · seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another · causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger · exploitation or corruption of children.

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (for example rape, buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet the child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may occur in pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer:

· failing to provide adequate food and clothing, shelter

· failing to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger

· failure to ensure adequate supervision

· failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment

· neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Tovey & Little Dental Centre CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
We are committed to protect children from harm. Our dental team accepts and recognises our responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues which cause children harm. We will endeavour to safeguard children by

· adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for the dental team

· making staff and patients aware that we take child protection seriously and respond to concerns about the welfare of children

· sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know and involving parents and children appropriately · following carefully the procedures for staff recruitment and selection

· providing effective management for staff by ensuring access to supervision, support and training

The Practice manager is responsible for enforcing, maintaining and auditing the policy. This includes an annual review in January