This page is from APP, the official source of professional practice for policing.
The framework for multi-agency responses to concerns for children is explained in detail in HM Government (2018) Working Together to Safeguard Children. See also Welsh Assembly Government (n.d.) Safeguarding Children: Working Together Under the Children Act 2004.
The partner agency with which the police have most direct contact regarding concerns for children and child abuse investigations is children’s social care. Other agencies are also important in effective multi-agency working to safeguard and protect children.
Local safeguarding children boards
Local multi-agency policy on child protection matters is the responsibility of the local safeguarding children boards, and they ensure suitable arrangements are in place. The responsibilities and functions of local safeguarding children boards are detailed in HM Government (2018) Working Together to Safeguard Children and Welsh Assembly Government (n.d.) Safeguarding Children: Working Together Under the Children Act 2004. Child abuse investigation unit supervisors should participate in such groups where appropriate.
Other relevant multi-agency arrangements
Issues relating to safeguarding children and investigating child abuse should be prioritised through all local multi-agency working arrangements.
For further information see:
- Forthcoming APP on working with partners
- Home Office (2013) Multi-Agency Working and Information Sharing Project: Early Findings
Common assessment framework
This is a standardised approach to conducting an assessment of a child’s additional needs and deciding how those needs should be met. It is generally used by agencies to promote a more effective, earlier identification of additional needs. It provides a simple process for a holistic assessment of a child’s needs and strengths, taking account of the effect the role of parents, carers and environmental factors have on their development.
Multi-agency prevention and education initiatives
Forces should engage in multi-agency initiatives which are developed to prevent child abuse and protect children.
- public education initiatives about preventing and reporting child abuse (including those communities where child abuse is under-reported)
- initiatives which provide children with skills to increase their safety and encourage the reporting of abuse (for example, projects in schools and CEOP education programmes that facilitate online reporting and access to helplines and information)
- education for parents and children about the dangers of the internet and safe use of technology (for example, education and parents’ programmes provided by CEOP and designed for delivery by teachers, police officers and other child protection specialists)
- advice and education for parents about preventing child deaths by promoting safe sleeping arrangements relating to co-sleeping, sleeping on sofas, and when using drugs and/or alcohol
- local services that support adults abused in childhood, for example, National Association for People Abused in Childhood – the charity maintains a national information telephone line for people requiring advice and information about help available to overcome the continuing impact of childhood abuse in adulthood
When the police are involved in prevention and education initiatives, they may receive reports of abuse which require investigation. Arrangements should be made with other agencies to deal with this. Consideration should also be given to the way in which children, parents and carers can be involved in the design and delivery of initiatives.
For further information see Victim Support.