New Child Protection Disclosure Arrangements for NI

 

childbubbles.jpgOn 14 March 2016 new arrangements were put in place in Northern Ireland to help make it easier for anyone who has concerns about someone who might be posing a risk to children to find out if that person has a criminal record for sexual offences, or for violent offences which could indicate a risk to children.

The provisions which are contained in the 2015 Justice Act, have been added to existing methods of disclosing conviction information under the public protection arrangements.

Under the new law, a member of the public has the right to apply at a police station for disclosure of relevant conviction information regarding a person with access to a particular child or children.

Any information which is available about relevant criminal convictions will only be provided to the person who has primary care responsibility for the specific child or children. The information will be released only if considered as necessary to protect that child.

The scheme builds on existing processes by the agencies involved in the Public Protection Arrangements for Northern Ireland to manage sexual and violent offenders. Agencies with public protection and child protection roles – police, probation, social services – already disclose information about criminal convictions when it is necessary to protect a child.

This new statutory provision adds to these arrangements by offering a direct route for a member of the public to bring any concerns they may have to the police about someone they know who has access to a child.

Can anyone apply for disclosure under these arrangements?

Yes. But they must be able to identify a specific child and a named individual about whom they have concerns. They will not automatically be the person to whom information is disclosed.

How long will it all take?

It is anticipated that the police will undertake initial checks within 24 hours and complete the process within 28 days. However, if there is an immediate risk of harm to a child, this will be addressed through current child protection protocols and procedures.

You should NOT use this scheme as a way of reporting imminent/current child protection concerns or offending.

How do people apply for information under these arrangements?

The application form is available on the PSNI website at www.psni.police.uk/child-protection-disclosure-arrangements. The form should be completed and brought to the local police station with ID.  The police may ask you to remain at the station to answer any clarification questions and sign the declaration regarding disclosure.

What if there is an immediate risk?

 If you believe that a child is at immediate risk then you should call 999 in an emergency to report your concerns, the non-emergency number 101, or contact Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555111 and/or your local Social Services Gateway Teams (see http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/reporting-child-abuse-and-neglect)

NSPCC Northern Ireland

NSPCCNIAlmost 2,000 children in Northern Ireland were identified as needing protection from abuse last year.

The NSPCC are the leading children’s charity in the UK and Channel Islands fighting to end child abuse.   Through our work, the NSPCC help children who have been abused rebuild their lives, protect those at risk, and find the best ways of preventing abuse from happening.

At NSPCC Northern Ireland, we provide support to parents and families in caring for their children. We assist families that are going through difficult time, like battling addiction or overcoming mental health problems, as well as providing therapeutic services to help children move on from abuse.

We also provide guidance to professionals such as social workers to help them make the best decisions for children, across the UK.

What services are available in Northern Ireland?

The following NSPCC services are available in Northern Ireland:

ChildLine

Childline is a 24 hour helpline for children and young people who need help and support. It is a private and confidential place for a child to talk to one of our counsellors, all of whom are trained staff and volunteers with experience of listening and talking to children and young people. Call 0808 1111, or access support by email or direct message by visiting www.childline.org.uk

NSPCC Helpline

The NSPCC Helpline provides help and support to thousands of parents, professionals and families. This is a place adults can contact by phone or online to get advice or share their concerns about a child, anonymously if they wish.

Professionals such as teachers and doctors also contact us on the Helpline for information guidance and impartial advice from professional counsellors on a range of issues, no matter how small they may seem. You can call the Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk

Young Witness Service

The NSPCC Young Witness Service offers free, independent and confidential support and assistance to children and young people who have to go through the trauma of giving evidence in court.   NSPCC workers and volunteers provide information and advice to children and young people – as well as their family, friends and supported, – before, during and after a trial.

This service is available to young witnesses in all types of crime and in every Crown, Magistrate or Youth Court. The service can be contacted on 028 2044 1650 for further information.

Other services

The NSPCC Northern Ireland operates a range of other services out of centres in Belfast, Craigavon and Foyle.  These services include the following:-

  • Sexual abuse recovery services – protection, prevention and support services for child who have been or are at risk of sexual abuse or exploitation
  • Neglect services – aimed at assessing and identifying neglect, providing support to parents and reviewing family situations to protect children at risk of harm.
  • Early intervention services – aimed at providing ante natal and post natal support to help parents cope with the pressure of having a baby
  • Family support services – services aimed at supporting parents with issues surrounding domestic violence, alcohol abuse and mental health issues
  • Helping children living with parents with mental health issues
  • Support for parents struggling to take care of their children
  • Support for young people in care.

Visit www.nspcc.org.uk/services or call 0808 800 5000 for more information on the services we provide

For more information on the services NSPCC provide, please visit www.nspcc.org.uk/services or call 0808 800 5000