Quality statement 3: Voice of the child or young person

Quality statement

Children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect have their words accurately represented in notes summarising their conversations with practitioners.

Rationale

When children and young people share their experiences of abuse or neglect, they need to be confident that their voices are heard and that their words are captured accurately by the practitioners. The conversations they have with practitioners need to be appropriate to their age, developmental stage, and cognitive and language abilities. Summaries of these conversations should be written up immediately and reflect only the facts as the children and young people presented them. Where possible, the children and young people should also have an opportunity to reflect on what they said and review the record of the conversation.

Quality measures

Structure

a) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect have their words accurately represented in notes summarising their conversations with the practitioners.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, audit of service specification or protocols.

b) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that, when appropriate, children and young people have an opportunity to review what the practitioner noted.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, audit of service specification or protocols.

Outcome

a) Children and young people's experience of working with health and social care practitioners.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, feedback from children and young people supported by children's services.

b) Engagement with services among children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, feedback from children and young people supported by children's services.

c) Health and wellbeing of children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, feedback from children and young people supported by children's services.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Organisations providing services and activities for children and young people (such as nurseries, schools, after-school clubs, community centres, sports clubs and health settings) ensure that their safeguarding policies and local protocols include writing up summaries of conversations about abuse or neglect that children and young people have with practitioners. They also ensure that the notes are written up immediately after the conversations and reflect only the facts as the children or young people presented them. When appropriate, children and young people have an opportunity to review what the practitioner noted.

Practitioners whose work brings them into contact with children and young people (such as those who work in early years, social care, health, education settings, the police, the voluntary and community sector, youth justice services and adult services) ensure that they do not ask leading questions and that all conversations with children and young people who experienced abuse or neglect are appropriate to their age, developmental stage and language abilities. They also ensure that they write up summaries of these conversations immediately after they took place and that the notes reflect only the facts as the children and young people presented them using the child's words where possible. When appropriate, they give children and young people an opportunity to reflect on what they said and review the record of the conversation.

Commissioners (such as national and regional schools commissioners, local authorities and clinical commissioning groups) commission services in which practitioners accurately write up any conversations they had with children and young people who experienced abuse or neglect. They also ensure that this is done immediately after the conversation took place and only reflects the facts as the children and young people presented them.

Children and young people who talk to people such as social workers or healthcare staff about their experiences of abuse or neglect can feel confident that any notes from their conversations will accurately reflect what they said. They are also able to review what has been noted if they wish to do so.

Source guidance

Child abuse and neglect (2017) NICE guideline NG76, recommendation 1.1.6

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect

Includes those assessed as 'in need', likely to suffer significant harm or suffering significant harm.

[NICE's guideline on child abuse and neglect, section 1.6]

Equality and diversity considerations

Children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect may have problems with communication, for example because they are very young (pre-verbal stage) or because of disability or speech or language problems.

Practitioners should use creative resources, such as toys and play, to help gather information and make sure that they capture their observations and communication with children and young people as accurately as possible. If appropriate, they may need to be supported by interpreters, specialist practitioners, family members or carers (where they are not implicated in the abuse or neglect) who can also review what was noted.