APCP is committed to ensuring that minors and vulnerable clients are afforded the most appropriate services possible by members and that members adhere to best practice in relation to child protection practices.

We, APCP, want to make sure that children are protected and kept safe from harm while they are engaging with staff and members in this organisation.

Within that context, members should be conscious of national and international policy documents, guidelines and best practice as well as the current legal contexts.

We would draw particular attention to the following:

  • The UN Children’s Convention on the Rights of the Child 1992.
  • The Child Care Act 2001, Youth Work Act 2002,
  • The HSE Trust in Care Policy 2005 and
  • The Children’s First Handbook.

It is the policy of the Association that our members are Garda/Police vetted and must practice within their scope of practice and under supervision.

It is the policy of APCP to safeguard the welfare of all young people by protecting them from physical, sexual and emotional harm. We do this by offering a safe, non-judgemental environment that aims to empower and support the young person to report any incidences of physical, sexual and emotional harm to the appropriate authorities. Furthermore, we will support the young person in giving them details of the appropriate authority in which to report incidences of physical, sexual and emotional harm.

Members of the Association are expected to:

  • Advise young people know how to voice concerns or complain should an issue arise and support them appropriately in doing so.
  • Practice in an environment, in which children are valued, encouraged and affirmed, where their rights are respected and minors are treated as individuals.
  • Ensure, as far as is practicable that children know their rights.
  • Practice within the context of this child protection policy so as to keep children as safe as possible.

Child Abuse may be defined as ‘Harming children by indirect act or failure to provide proper care or both’. Children in that context are considered minors under 18 years of age. The Association presents the categories of abuse and significant harm’ as set out in the Children First Document for a guidance of members.

Types of Abuse

  • Physical Abuse: any form of non-accidental injury, which results from willful or neglectful failure to protect a child.
  • Sexual Abuse: When a child is used by another person for his or her gratification or sexual arousal, or that of another person. (para 3.2.1; 3.3.1; 3.4.1; 3.5.1)
  • Emotional Abuse: When a child’s need for affection, approval, consistency and security are not met. Emotional abuse is normally to be found in the relationship between caregiver and a child.
  • Neglect: An omission, where the child suffers harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults or medical care.
  • Bullying: Can be defined as repeated aggression, be it verbal, psychological or physical, which is conducted, by an individual or group against others. (Children First, 1999: 107).

Significant Harm

Harm can be defined as the ill-treatment or the impairment of health or development of a child, whether it is significant is determined by his/her health and development as compared to that which could be reasonably be expected of a child of similar age (Children First, para.3.3.2).

Points of Note for Practitioners

Members are advised to only ever act within their scope of practice. They are advised to operate within the supportive framework of Clinical Supervision and within that context to seek advice and make properly informed judgment where suspicions of abuse or neglect arise or dealing with cases of abuse or neglect and always to act in the best interests of the child and within the legal frameworks in place at any time.

Members are referred to the Associations Policy on Confidentiality and advised that the limits to confidentiality should be discussed with any abused person or perpetrator of abuse.