Making a referral to social work or the police
For Church congregations, it is usually the Safeguarding Coordinator who contacts social work or the police to share information about a safeguarding concern. This contact is known as making a referral.
The police officer or social worker will let you know what information is required, but the following is a useful checklist to help you to prepare to share information:
- Name and date of birth (if known) of child or adult at risk
- Address of child or adult at risk
- Is the child or adult at risk or their parent or carer aware of the referral and what are their views and wishes?
- Details of witnessed, suspected or reported harm or risk of harm
- What happened before, during and after the harmful event? Use the person's own words if known.
- When did the event happen? Include times and full dates.
- Where did it happen?
- Who was allegedly involved and what did they say or do?
- Names of witnesses
- If known, give details of any previous concerns about witnessed, suspected or reported harm or risk of harm.
It is good practice to follow up a verbal referral with confirmation in writing.
It is useful to note that all local authorities will have their own child protection and adult support and protection interagency procedures and guidance which you should refer to for your locality.
Further guidance about reporting to child protection services can be accessed in the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021, page 266