Safeguarding for Nannies
All children and young people have a right to be safe. As a nanny you play a key part in keeping children, not just the children in your care, safe from harm. Your influence is most direct over your charges, and you can guide their decisions and provide them with information to safeguard them, as well as reporting abuse but you can also lead by example in the community, and share any concerns you have over what you witness.
As a nanny you do not have a designated child protection lead, which means you need to be able to spot abuse and refer it to the appropriate authorities. It is advisable to refresh your safeguarding training regularly. Members of BAPN have access to an online safeguarding training course in the Members' Area.
NSPCC (24 hour helpline, staffed by trained counsellors): 0808 800 5000
BAPN: 01622 815 271
Your Local Safeguarding Board – find out the number and write it down somewhere, or store it in your phone
Children of all ages and backgrounds can experience abuse. Abuse is not confined to any one culture, social class or family situation. Children may be abused by adults or other children, and by direct actions or by adults failing to do things they have a responsibility to do.
Children often do not realise that they are being abused because they think the behaviour is normal. If they do realise they are experiencing abuse they may be reluctant to talk about it because they are afraid or ashamed. They may worry that they won’t be believed, or that the abuser will find out and punish them for telling.
There are four main types of child abuse - physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect - but a child may experience more than one form of abuse.
A secure child is often a safe child. By forging a respectful relationship you can model appropriate boundaries in adult-child relationships and encourage them to talk to you about any worries or concerns they have. Abusers often target children who do not have secure relationships with the adults in their lives because they know that these children are less likely to confide in adults about what is happening.
Recording suspicions of abuse
If you see any of signs of abuse you should write down what you see. If a child discloses abuse verbally you should write down exactly what they say, any questions that you asked and their replies. It is important to stick to the facts and not try to interpret what you see or hear. Once you have written this down you should sign and date it. It is also a good idea to photocopy your notes and post them to yourself. Store the envelope safely – this may be opened at a later date to show that your original record were accurately dated and have not been modified.
When to refer
Sometimes a single incident disclosures will be enough for you to decide to make a referral, sometimes it is a pattern of behaviours or incidents that you have recorded. You do not need to be able to identify the specific type of abuse or the abuser.
You may want to share your concerns with someone before making a referral. You can contact BAPN in confidence, or the NSPCC’s 24 hour helpline on 0808 800 5000. Do not talk to other nannies you know, your friends or your family.
You may want to check whether any other professionals or the child’s parents have noticed suspicious signs. If a child is at school or nursery you can ask to speak to their teacher or key worker, or the setting or school’s child protection lead in confidence. You should only talk to your employers if they are the parents of the child you suspect is being abused and you do not suspect that they are involved in the abuse. You should not raise your concerns with them if you are worried they are abusing their child, and you will not be at fault if you do not share your concerns with them even if you do not suspect them of abuse.
A duty social worker should be able to discuss your concerns with you before you make a formal referral.
It is never a breach of confidentiality to report concerns about abuse. The welfare and safety of the child are of paramount importance.