Quality statement 4: Communication

Quality statement

Children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect agree with practitioners how they will communicate with each other.

Rationale

Children and young people may be living in circumstances in which someone who may be abusing or neglecting them has access to their phone or email. This could pose a safety risk and mean they would not be able to respond when practitioners try to contact them. Also, they may want to contact the practitioner when they want to talk or need support. This may sometimes be urgent, outside the usual working hours or more frequent than initially agreed. Putting safe and effective arrangements in place to stay in touch is essential to ensure that children and young people are not put at additional risk and can access support when they need it.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that practitioners agree with children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect how they will communicate with each other.

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

Process

Proportion of children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect whose case file contains a record of agreed methods of communication with practitioners.

Numerator – the number in the denominator whose case file contains a record of agreed methods of communication with practitioners.

Denominator – the number of children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, audit of individual case records.

Outcome

a) 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.

b) Satisfaction 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

Service providers (such as schools, social services, sexual health services, drug and alcohol services, child and adolescent mental health services, youth offending services and primary and secondary care services) ensure that their safeguarding policies and local protocols include agreeing with children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect, safe and effective ways of communicating. This may include children and young people naming a secure email address or a phone number or the time in the day when the practitioner can safely contact them. Also, the children and young people receive contact details that they can use to get help on any day and at any time of the day.

Practitioners (such as teachers, social workers, mental health professionals, specialist drug services professionals, health visitors, GPs, community nurses, youth workers, police and probation officers) ensure that they agree with children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect, safe and effective ways of communicating. This may include children and young people naming a secure email address or a phone number or the time in the day when the practitioner can safely contact them. Also, the children and young people receive contact details that they can use to get help on any day and at any time of the day.

Commissioners (such as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and NHS England) commission services in which children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect agree with those practitioners safe and effective ways of communicating. This may include children and young people naming the secure email address or a phone number or the time in the day when the practitioner can safely contact them. Also, the children and young people receive contact details that they can use to get help on any day and at any time of the day.

Children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect have contact details for their practitioners, including out-of-hours contact, so that they can get help and support whenever they need it. They also agree with the practitioner times and ways of communicating that they think is safe for them. This may mean creating a secure email address or having a phone number that other people have no access to.

Source guidance

Child abuse and neglect (2017) NICE guideline NG76, recommendation 1.1.9

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect

Includes including 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 need to communicate with practitioners about abuse or neglect may have problems with communication, for example because they are very young (pre-verbal) or because of disability or speech or language problems. The support may be in form of more frequent visits, involving family members who know the child or young person well (where they are not implicated in the abuse or neglect) and any specialists who can help with the communication such as speech and language therapists or interpreters.