Child Protection Process
In Fife the four core agencies engaged in the IRD process are Social Work Service, Police Scotland, Education and NHS Fife.
An IRD is not a single event, but rather a series of discussions and exchanges of information between Police, Social Work, Education and Health and any other service and/or agency which may be involved with the child and/or have relevant information relating to that child.
The possible outcomes from an IRD are as follow:-
- Single agency action
- Joint Investigative Interview (Police and Social Work)
- Specialist or Joint Paediatric Forensic Medical Examination
The purpose of joint investigative interviews (JII) is to establish the facts regarding a potential crime or offence against a child and to gather and share information to inform the assessment of risk and need for that child, and the need for any protective action. It is clear that when planning or during the actual interviewing of a child the overriding consideration throughout the process is that the welfare of the child will be paramount and all decisions will be made with the best interests of the child in mind.
The specialist Social Work Child Protection Team (CPT) has staff trained to undertake JII. The CPT work very closely with police officers from the Child Abuse Investigation Team to conduct joint investigations.
The possible outcomes from a Joint Investigative Interview which either includes or does not include a medical are:
- Child needs further medical investigations/treatment
- further assessment required by Social Work
- further investigation by PPU
- single agency response
- emergency measures required;
- refer to the Children’s Reporter for consideration of compulsory measures;
- Child Protection Case Conference to be arranged.
NHS staff will be involved in the planning of child protection investigations to ensure appropriate decisions about the wider health needs of the child and whether or not a medical examination is required are considered fully.
The decision about whether or not a medical examination is required should not be taken by police and social work staff without consulting with the NHS Fife On Call Paediatrician and the Police Forensic Medical Examiner or Procurator Fiscal (where necessary). This is essential in order that the wellbeing needs of the child/youngperson are considered together with the need to collect forensic evidence.
Medical Examination (Police/NHS/Social Work)
Medical examinations of children and young people suspected of being victims of sexual or physical abuse will be undertaken only where this is deemed necessary and in the best interest of the child. This recognises that such examinations may be traumatic for children and carers. Additionally, where an investigation raises concerns about neglect this may also require a medical examination.
A thorough assessment of the child’s health needs is an essential element in joint investigations. This assessment, alongside information from police, social work and other services, can help determine whether further investigation is necessary.
For detailed information relating to arrangements for medical examinations and forensic evidence see relevant single agency procedures.
There are 3 types of medical examinations –
- Comprehensive Medical Assessment (CME)
- Specialist Paediatric Medical Examination (SPME)
- Joint Paediatric Forensic Medical Examination (JPFME)