Safeguarding children and adults at risk of abuse or neglect policy and procedure
Safeguarding children and consent
It is important for professionals to discuss their concerns with the child (where appropriate) and family because it can help to resolve issues that otherwise would not warrant a referral to the Staffordshire Children's Advice Service (formerly First Response).
Discussing concerns early on also builds trust and encourages parents to work with professionals. This is turn keeps children safe and prevents issues escalating. However, there may be circumstances where parents refuse to give consent and it is in this instance that, employees, members or volunteers should make a judgement as to whether, without help, the needs of the child would escalate.
Consent is not required for referrals that meet the threshold for significant harm (i.e. child protection). However, you as the referring professional, must inform parents or carers that you are making a referral as stated above, unless by alerting them you could be putting that child or others at risk. If you have not spoken to the parent/carer, Staffordshire Children's Advice Service will ask you to do so before they proceed with the call, however, consent is not essential in safeguarding matters when there are serious concerns for safety.
Adult safeguarding and consent
It is important that professionals discuss safeguarding concerns with the adult (if appropriate to do so) and gain their consent to make an adult safeguarding referral if possible. However, information can be shared without consent if there is an overriding public or vital interest:
- risk of harm to the wellbeing and safety of the adult or others
- other adults or children could be at risk
- it is necessary to prevent crime or a crime may have been committed
- the person lacks capacity to consent