IHEB Reporting Child Abuse
Adopted: October 17, 1988
Amended: June 23, 2009
Student safety and the best interests of students are of paramount concern for the Board of Education. Children have a right to be protected from abuse and neglect. Children depend on others for their safety and well being. Children experiencing abuse or family violence are at increased risk of experiencing neglect, and emotional, sexual, or physical abuse. Understanding what child abuse and neglect are, and knowing how to take appropriate action are critical to ensure the safety and well being of children.
The Board of Education is committed to working co-operatively with professionals and community organizations to enhance child abuse reporting and investigation. The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act emphasizes that intervention services should be provided in a manner that supports the child who discloses abuse and the need to remove the child from an unsafe situation.
Anyone who has reason to believe, that a child has been, or there is substantial risk that he or she will be abused or neglected by an adult, has a legal duty under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act to promptly report the matter to the local Child and Family Services Authority.
Disclosure is a child telling someone about an abuse. The disclosure might be direct or indirect. Children commonly delay telling another person about abuse so a child’s disclosure must be taken seriously.
Emotional abuse is the impairment of a child's mental or emotional functioning or development and there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that the emotional injury is the result of:
Family violence is defined as any use of physical or sexual force, actual or threatened, in an intimate relationship. It may include a single act of violence, or a number of acts forming a pattern of abuse through the use of assaultive and controlling behaviour. The pattern of abuse may include:
Neglect is if the guardian is unable or unwilling to:
Physical abuse is an intentional, substantial and observable injury to a child.
Sexual abuse is inappropriate exposure or subjection to sexual contact, activity or behaviour, including prostitution-related activities. Exposing children to child pornography or luring children through the Internet are forms of sexual abuse.
The school principal must ensure all school staff are aware of the obligations and provide written procedures to follow when a student discloses any form of neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, witnesses family violence or is involved in prostitution or related activities.
Section 4(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act states: "any person who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a child is in need of intervention shall forthwith report the matter to a director." To report "forthwith... to a director" means promptly notifying the Northeast Child and Family Services Authority by calling 780 – 743 – 7416 and asking for an intake officer.
Staff is to fulfill their legal obligation to report by directly reporting to Child and Family Services Authority. Once the report is made, the staff member must inform the school principal of the report made. The responsibility for investigating allegations of abuse or family violence rests with Child and Family Services Authority. School staff is prohibited from interviewing a child after receiving the initial disclosure as this interferes with the formal or criminal investigation.
A report to the local Child, Youth and Family Services Authority should include:
Information obtained during a child intervention investigation must be kept confidential. School staff is prohibited from sharing any information, which could identify a child or a child’s guardian who is involved in the child intervention system.
Notes, reports or written documentation on student disclosures of abuse or violence, are to be kept separate from the student’s record or any other record accessible to school staff. All notes, reports or documentations made regarding the disclosed abuse or violence must be made available when requested by police or caseworkers.
The protection and best interests of children prevail over the interests of parents/guardians when cases of child abuse are reported and/or investigated. If a disclosure by a child indicates possible abuse by a parent/guardian, staff should not notify the child's parents/guardians. The caseworker for Child and Family Services Authority assumes responsibility for notifying the child's parents/guardians.
Abuse, violence, or suspicion of abuse of any student by an employee of the Board of Education must be reported forthwith to the Superintendent by the school principal.
The school principal shall cooperate with a request by Child and Family Services Authority or police to interview a student on school premises. If an interview is requested of a student, the principal shall request formal identification of the person making the request to verify the person is in a position of authority. It is the responsibility of the investigator to notify the parents. Any interviews conducted on school premises must be conducted in ways that minimize any distraction for the student, other students or staff and the proceedings of the school.
The school principal or teacher may participate in the interview of the child, if requested by the investigator. In this case, the school principal or teacher shall remain silent and provide comments or answer questions when specifically requested by the investigator.
School staff must cooperate with police or investigators should a student be apprehended from the school premises during the course of an investigation. It is the responsibility of the investigator to notify the parents. If school staff are contacted by the parent inquiring of the whereabouts of the child who has not returned home, the school shall provide the parent the name and phone number of the investigators or police.