Safeguarding Report Writing - Points to Consider
Correctly record basic information
- Full name, home address, date of birth of the child
- Family details, such as Mother, Father, siblings, extended family, for example stepchildren and grandparents/ carers
- Parental responsibility, and whether the child visits a parent who doesn’t live in the home / or local area
- Exact date and time of the incident
- Your job role and responsibility for this child
- Name of setting
- Your telephone contact details
- Time and date of disclosure
- Any names disclosed by the child
- To whom the information was given and their response
- Ensure the record is signed and dated by the person who heard the disclosure and the report writer
Source your evidence and:
Keep it factual
'The child was sad today' - is this fact or opinion?
Consider how you conclude that the child is sad, what evidence can you provide to support this statement.
A good example might be:
The child is quiet usually quite chatty, not engaging in play with other children and did not eat their lunch
'The child came to nursery in thread bare jeans'
Is this statement fact or opinion?
The evidence is seen ‘The child’s jeans are thread bare’, however you need to substantiate this by reflecting on your own bias, for example is the child wearing jeans which are fashionable and trendy at the time.
Recognise your own bias and opinions ensuring these do not influence your report writing.
'I can clearly see mum and dad love 'Fred', so I am not worried about anything'
It could be argued this comment is demonstrating an acceptance of certain behaviours, or based on four other things:
- In isolation of any other information i.e. Not joining up the dots
- In isolation of information / observations from agencies outside of their setting, how do they present to them?
- In Isolation of seeing it through the child’s eyes / child’s voice and any impact
- Standing back, some parents groom professionals so they must be impartial and alert to this
You need to be honest with yourself about the stereotypes which affect you. For example, parenting styles, social groupings, family types, cultural differences.
Record children’s words verbatim and do not turn what they have said into your own words.
As soon as you can write down exactly what the child said using their words, including words, you would not have used yourself, for example names of body parts, always use the name the child called them.
Child said 'Daddy banged my leg'
The adult may turn this into 'The child said that her daddy hit her leg really hard', which is not what the child said, it is how you have interpreted what they said and may have come to you own opinion of what has happened. It is not your role to investigate, your role is to provide facts.
Do not diagnose an injury or concern
A poor example:
'Fred had a large green bruise which look like it as seven days old'
This is a diagnosis and should not be included in a report unless medically qualified to do so.
A concise statement would be:
'Fred has a bruise on his right thigh'
Do not fill in a body map, these are not to be included in a report. (Staffordshire only)
You can describe an injury as:
You cannot describe the age, colour or size.
Use short factual sentences, for example use bullet points
‘When I was changing the children’s nappies and it was Fred Turner’s turn, I pulled his trousers down and was shocked to see a large green bruise on his thigh, it looked like it was really hurting him because he was crying when I touched it. I asked Fred what had happened, he told me that his daddy had banged his leg really hard. I finished changing his nappy and then phoned mum to ask her about it'.
A concise statement would be:
- While changing FT’s nappy noticed a bruise
- When asked about the bruise, Fred said ‘Daddy hit my leg’
- I have contacted the Education Safeguarding and Advice Service (ESAS) and followed their advice
- I contacted mum, as advised by ESAS
- An incident report has been written
Keep records in chronological order of events
- Does your report clearly and appropriately communicate the facts?
- Is it relevant and accurate?
- Is it free from jargon and abbreviations?
- Is it free from professional bias?