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Recording Disclosures : 4 W’s to getting it right

February 25, 2016 3:41 pm

If you work with children you’re going to have a disclosure made at some point and it’s really important that you get this down correctly. It records for the professionals further up the chain, the nature of the disclosure and it’s a contemporary note of what was said to you by the child in question. However, given it’s such a crucial document I see time and again disclosure forms that are done on scraps of paper, that don’t give the full information and actually lead to more questions being asked than answers that are actually given.

So this week, I want to give you . . .

The Four W’s of disclosure.

It is really crucial that what you record is What was said.

You need to say what was said, what happened and what was going on at the time that the disclosure was made. It can also be helpful to make a note of what was going on when the disclosure was made.

Be clear on the WHAT.

The next thing is Where.

In terms of the disclosure, where did it take place? For example, was it on a school trip, did it take place in a person’s home or was it in a public place? Also, where did the child make the disclosure to you? Where were you at the time that this came out? Were you on a school trip, were you in the playground with the child, was it something that you were talking about in the classroom that triggered this disclosure, potentially?

Be clear on the WHERE

The third thing to look at is When.

When did the thing that the child is making the disclosure about happen? Was it day time? Was it night time? Does the child have any idea when it was?Are we talking recently, as in the last couple of days or the last couple of weeks, or are we talking a bit longer than that? Are we talking about months ago, are we talking about something that happened may be in summer holidays or on a weekend with a particular parent or carer? So, when did it happen?

Get all the detail down in your record of the disclosure.

Also, consider when did it happen in the school day? When was it? At playtime, was it at dinnertime, was it first thing on the morning, was it in after school club that this disclosure was made?

So get the WHEN’s right.

Finally, Who.

Who is the child referring to as the person that’s done this particular thing? Who else was around at the time? Was the child on their own with this particular person, was the child with somebody else when this happened? Were there a few people around, were there other adults around at the time, who were they? Does the child know them? Who did tell? Did they tell anybody else other than you? Did they say anything to their parents or to their carers? What of brothers and sisters that were around, did they say anything else to another member of staff? Is this how you’ve become involved?

Also, consider who else was around when this disclosure is made to you? If you were in the playground, were there other pupils around with you or was the child on their own? Was there another teacher present, or has the child come up to you on their own as well?

In terms of recording disclosures, the 4 W’s are: What, Where, When and Who.

Get all that information down on a proper disclosure form (not a piece of paper torn out of a book, not a piece of paper that’s been lying around in the classroom or lying around on your desk, you should have a proper disclosure form for this)

Having all that information on the record of disclosure means you are making a proper and full note of what has gone on. This will help to the professionals coming in after you, such as social workers, depending on the nature of the disclosure, perhaps GP’s or other professionals coming in to have a full idea of what was happening.

If the disclosure results in court proceedings (either criminal or removing the child from the family) your record of the disclosure could be crucial. It may be the only solid piece of evidence available to help protect the child.

Make sure your record of the disclosure is professional.

There are disclosure forms available in the online Safeguarding Academy together with a full guidance note for recording disclosures.

 

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