A policy is a collective agreed statement of beliefs. It exists to protect children, parents & staff. It is a course of action recommended or adopted by a service”

Designated Liaison Person Responsible for Reporting Allegations

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Designated Liaison Person Responsible for Reporting Allegations.

The Designated Liaison Person role is to ensure that all aspects of the Child Protection Policy is adhered to, reviewed annually, to keep records, ensure in-house training on child protection procedures, raise awareness for staff members, liaise with TUSLA / An Garda Siochana where necessary.

The Designated Liaison Person for Bridge Kids is Vicky Ward.

Onsite Siobhan Hopkins / Margaret Gleeson will act as deputy / first point of contact for staff to report any suspicions/allegations.

Contact Details

  • Siobhan Hopkins, Manager of Bridge Kids - Tel: 061 713 028 / Mobile: 086 171 9601

  • Vicky Ward, Board of Management, Designated Liaison Person, Email: treasurer@bridgecomplex.ie and telephone: 086 822 9424

TUSLA Social Work Service

River House

Gort Road, Ennis

Tel: 065 6863907 / 065 6863908 / 065 6863909

Duty Social Worker – is available by telephone from 2-5pm for advice about a child protection concern. Tel: 065 686 3935
Written Reports to:

Principal Social Worker

Health Service Executive West

River House

Gort Road, Ennis, Co. Clare
If a child is in immediate danger or if the social work service is unavailable, report concerns to:

An Gardai Siochana –

Ennis: 065 6848100

Shannon: 061 36121

Procedures for dealing with a disclosure.

The following procedures should be adopted when reporting any suspicion of child abuse.

The following examples would constitute reasonable grounds for concern.

  • Specific indication from the child that (s)he was abused;

  • An account by a person who saw the child being abused;

  • evidence, such as an injury or behaviour which is consistent with abuse and unlikely to be caused another way;

  • An injury or behaviour which is consistent both with abuse and with an innocent explanation but where there are corroborative indicators supporting the concern that it may be a case of abuse. An example of this would be a pattern of injuries, an implausible explanation, other indications of abuse, dysfunctional behaviour;

  • Consistent indication of neglect, over a period of time

Staff / Volunteer Procedures

  • Stay Calm and Listen

  • Accept what is being told to you

  • Reassure the child

  • Record in writing (Refer to information to record / report)

  • Report to your Designated Liaison Person – Vicky Ward / Siobhan Hopkins. Official report forms are held by the Manager (Siobhan Hopkins) or Designated Liaison Person, or may be obtained by contacting the TUSLA.

  • Record your own Report

  • Consider Confidentiality – All reports / notes to be filed with restricted access.

  • Never Panic or ask leading questions

  • Never make a child repeat the story unnecessarily

  • Never Delay

  • Do not investigate. Following your report to TUSLA / An Garda Síochána their officials will conduct further investigation.

Responsibilities of Designated Liaison Person

Following a report of suspected abuse or if making own report as above, the designated liaison person and deputy (Vicky Ward and Siobhan Hopkins/Margaret Gleeson) should carry out the following and include above reporting advice.

Completion of “standard form for reporting child protection and/or Welfare Concerns” which are held on file in the Childcare Filing Cabinet in the child protection folder.

Contact Duty Social Worker. In cases of emergency, where a child appears to be at immediate and serious risk, and a duty social worker is unavailable, An Garda Síochána should be contacted. Under no circumstances should a child be left in a dangerous situation pending health board intervention

In line with The Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences Against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012, reasonable suspicions of the following will be reported directly to An Garda Siochana as well as to TUSLA; -

  • Rape

  • S4 Rape

  • Sexual Assault

  • Statutory Rape of a Child under 17

  • Reckless Endangerment of a Child

  • Assault Causing Harm

  • Assault Causing Serious Harm

  • False Imprisonment of a Child

A report should be made to the health board in person, by phone or in writing. Each health board area has a social worker on duty for a certain number of hours each day. The duty social worker is available to meet with, or talk on the telephone, to persons wishing to report child protection concerns.

It is generally most helpful if persons wishing to report child abuse concerns make personal contact with the duty social worker. This will facilitate the social worker in gathering as much information as possible about the child and his or her parents/carers. As much as possible of the following detail should be given in the Standard Reporting Form or by telephone:

Any professional who suspects child abuse should inform the parents/carers if a report is to be submitted to the health board or An Garda Síochána unless doing so is likely to endanger the child.

Information to report / record.

  • Accurate identifying information as far as it is known. This should include the names, addresses and ages of the child and all children in the family as well as the parents'/ carers' names and address;

  • Name and address (if available) of the person alleged to be causing harm to the child;

  • A full account of what constitutes the grounds for concern about the welfare and protection of the child or children;
  • Source of any information which is being discussed with the health board;

  • Dates when the concern arose, or a particular incident occurred;

  • Circumstances in which the concern arose, or the incident occurred;

  • Any explanation offered to account for the risk, injury or concern;

  • The child’s own statement;

  • Any other information regarding difficulties which the family may be experiencing. These may include illness, recent bereavement or separation, financial situation, addiction, disability, mental health problem;

  • Any factors which may be considered supportive or protective of the family. These may include helpful family members, neighbours, useful services or projects with whom they have contact;

  • Name of child or children’s school;

  • Name of child and/or family’s general practitioner;

  • The reporter’s own involvement with the child and parents/carers;

  • Details of any action already taken about the risk or concern;

  • Names and addresses of any agencies or key persons involved with the parents/carers;

  • Identity of reporters including name, address, telephone number, occupation, and relationship with the family.

Dealings with allegations of abuse against staff and volunteers.

The reporting procedure for the child is as outlined above. The procedure for dealing with the allegation of abuse against staff member / volunteer should be a different protection officer to the person making the child protection report. This will be co-ordinated with both Vicky Ward / Siobhan Hopkins who each will follow outline procedures.

Staff/volunteers may be subjected to erroneous or malicious allegations. Therefore any allegation of abuse should be dealt with sensitively and support provided for staff including counselling where necessary. However, the primary goal is to protect the child while taking care to treat the employee fairly; therefore it is policy to suspend with pay pending further investigation. In the case of a volunteer this would result in suspension pending further investigation.

Employee Reporting

Any Employee / Volunteer suspecting another member of staff/volunteer of abuse should record, report the circumstances immediately to Siobhan Hopkins / Vicky Ward who will in turn carry out their duties as outlined above.

When an allegation has been made, The Manager, Siobhan Hopkins, should privately inform the employee that an allegation has been made.

The employee should be afforded an opportunity to respond. The employer should note the response and pass on this information when making the formal report to the health board.

(i) the fact that an allegation has been made against him/her;

(ii) the nature of the allegation.

All procedures for handling disciplinary procedures and following the rules of natural justice will be followed as outlined in employee contracts, when carrying out a pending suspension.

The Chairperson (or equivalent head of organisation) should be informed as soon as possible.

The first priority should be to ensure that no child is exposed to unnecessary risk. The employer should as a matter of urgency take any necessary protective measures. These measures should be proportionate to the level of risk and should not unreasonably penalise the employee, financially or otherwise, unless necessary to protect children. Where protective measures do penalise the employee, it is important that early consideration be given to the case.

The follow up on an allegation of abuse against an employee should be made in consultation with the health board and An Garda Síochána. An immediate meeting should be arranged with these two agencies for this purpose.

After these consultations referred to above and when pursuing the question of the future position of the employee, the Chairperson or equivalent head of organisation should advise the person accused of the allegation and the agreed procedures should be followed.

Employers/managers should take care to ensure actions taken by them do not undermine or frustrate any investigations being conducted by the health board or An Garda Síochána. It is strongly recommended that employers maintain a close liaison with these authorities to achieve this


All information regarding concern or assessment of child abuse should be shared on "a need to know" basis in the interests of the child.

No undertakings regarding secrecy can be given. Those working with a child and family should make this clear to all parties involved.

Ethical and statutory codes concerned with confidentiality and data protection provide general guidance. They are not intended to limit or prevent the exchange of information between different professional staff who have a responsibility for ensuring the protection of children. Giving information to others for the protection of a child is not a breach of confidentiality.

It must be clearly understood that information which is gathered for one purpose must not be used for another without consulting the person who provided that information.

The issue of confidentiality should be part of the training necessary for staff who work in the area of child protection and the general training of staff in organisations which work with children. Each organisation should have a written policy in this regard.

The Bridge Complex will ensure all reports / documentation will be locked in childcare cabinet with restricted access. The only personnel who will have access to the information will include:

  • Manager - Siobhan Hopkins

  • Designated Liaison Person – Vicky Ward

  • Staff Member raising allegation can review documentation on request.

  • Chairperson of the Board of Management.

Staff / Volunteers should be aware of the importance of confidentially in any allegation case, this means that the issue should not be discussed with any person other than the Manager / Designated Liaison Person / HSE / An Garda Síochána, or those in a need to know basis.

Children / Parents will be informed of Bridge Kids child protection policies and procedures by including in parental handbooks, employee handbooks, and displayed on notice boards where appropriate.

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