Making a Referral

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Introduction

This page is here to help you if you need to report a safeguarding concern. This means if you believe that someone is at risk of being harmed in any way; physically, emotionally, sexually, being neglected, undergoing domestic abuse, or through spiritual abuse, then it is your duty to report it. More general advice and guidance about safeguarding can be found here.

If you think a child is in immediate danger: Don’t delay - call the police on 999, straight away.

If it is you that is being abused and you would like support making a disclosure about this abuse, telling someone is the right thing to do and we would be glad to help. You have several options. Firstly you could talk to your Minister or someone else in charge at your church, they will know how to help. You could also contact our District Safeguarding Officer whose name is Sue Holder. Sue is really lovely and also really good at helping with difficult situations and will be able to assist you.

Finally, you might also contact Childline on 0800 1111, where friendly and supportive people can help. This a free number to call, even from a mobile. You can also chat to them online, at chidline.org.uk


What to do if a child makes a disclosure

If a child makes a disclosure it is important that you do the following.

  • Listen. Ask the child to explain what has happened or what they are afraid about. Do not ask leading questions and do not ask for lots of detail, this if necessary will be for professionals to do later.
  • Remain calm, reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling you.
  • Do not promise to keep it a secret or not to tell anyone. Tell them you need to tell someone about it so that you can help them and explain to them who you are going to talk to.
  • Talk to your group leader/safeguarding lead who will assist you with the process of ‘making a referral’ – see below.
  • As soon as possible, either at the time or immediately after, write down everything you remember about what was disclosed. Do not add to what was said or what was implied, simply write down what happened. Date it and sign it.

If the child is making a referral about your group leader or safeguarding officer, contact Sue Holder our District Safeguarding Officer for support in making the referral. Her contact details are below.


Making a referral

  • Agree with your group leader or safeguarding representative, who will make the referral.
  • Make an immediate telephone referral to the Local Authority Children’s Services. Make it clear from the first point of contact that you are making a child protection referral.
  • Describe the event or disclosure and give information about the child and family e.g. the child’s name, date of birth, address, telephone number and GP (if known).
  • Follow up your telephone call with a completed referral form (sometimes available on the Local Authority web site) or letter. If there is no acknowledgement within 48 hours, chase it.
  • Remember that the child & family should, wherever possible, be informed about and consent to the referral unless this would put the welfare of the child or another person at further risk. If you have serious concerns, the absence of consent should not prevent a referral. The Duty Social Worker will give you advice over this if necessary.
  • Be prepared to have further discussions with the social work team or the police investigation team.
  • Say if you do not want your details disclosed to the family.
  • For out of hours referrals, call the Emergency Social Work Team or where urgent, the police.

Inform our District Safeguarding Officer

The final step is to contact our District Safeguarding Officer to make her aware of the situation so that she can help and support you. Her name is Sue Holder and she can be contacted on 07508 232 773. This is a dedicated safeguarding phone. If she is unavailable please leave a message and she will get back to you as soon as she can. In the event of an emergency, please do not forget to phone 999 first, but also remember to inform Sue as well. You can also email Sue on the following email address: birminghamsafeguarding@birminghammethodist.org.uk

Making a Referral