It is policy of St Patrick’s Mental Health Service to safeguard the welfare of all children by protecting them from physical, sexual and emotional harm and neglect. The welfare of children / young people is of paramount concern.
St Patrick’s takes all possible care in its recruitment processes to employ people who will not abuse or neglect users of our service. We provide ongoing training to employees and volunteers so that they are aware of signs and risks of abuse and neglect and know the reporting structure of St Patrick’s Mental Health Service.
When reports of concerns or allegations of abuse and neglect, past or present, are made to staff in the Hospital these will be followed up and, if reasonable grounds for concern are established, these will be reported to the Tusla Child and Family Services and/or An Garda Síochána for assessment and investigation. Reports of past abuse will be referred to the Tusla regardless of whether or not the alleged perpetrator is identified. Any form of behaviour, which neglect physical, sexual and/or emotional wellbeing of a child is unacceptable. All concerns will be followed up in a fair and impartial manner and in accordance with the principles of natural justice. Children have the right to be protected, treated with respect, listened to and have their views taken into consideration regardless of all other considerations.
The legislation and guidelines detailed below have been used to inform this policy:
The Child Care Act 1991, The Child Care Act 2001, Criminal Justice Act 2006, Domestic Violence Act 1996, Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998, Data Protection 1998 & 2003, Education Act 1998, Education (Welfare) Act 2000, Non-Fatal Offences against the Persons Act 1997, Freedom of Information Act 1997 & 2003, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified in 1993), Children First, National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011), Trust in Care for Health Service Employers on Upholding Dignity and Welfare of Service users/Clients (2002, updated 2005), Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook 2011, Criminal Justice (Withholding Information) Act 2012.