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Safeguarding policy

6. Professional curiosity and respectful uncertainty

  1. 6. Professional curiosity and respectful uncertainty

    1. 6.1. Always exercise professional curiosity. This is the ability to ask proactive questions rather than making assumptions or reaching conclusions not based on assessment of history and current circumstances. Never be frightened to ask the obvious question to look beneath the surface rather than accepting everything at face value.
    2. 6.2. Professional curiosity is much more likely if practitioners:
      • have good quality training to help them develop
      • have access to good management, support, and supervision to review challenging and potentially upsetting situations
      • have time to review the lived experience of children and families and undertake regular assessment to ensure new information and developments are reflected
      • have capacity to keep 'working away' to find what might have happened
    3. 6.3. Always exercise respectful uncertainty considering and where necessary challenging the responses. People do not always tell the truth, sometimes to deny a situation to avoid detection or because they are afraid.
    4. 6.4. Always consider and record the specific circumstances and wider context: does the person have mental capacity, are others at risk, is there an emerging pattern, have others witnessed this, what is the role of family members and/or paid staff?
    5. 6.5. Always try to speak to individual family members separately. When that is not possible, and particularly when a person is not being allowed to be seen alone, be particularly alert: for example, when someone:
      • waits for her/his partner to speak first
      • glances at her/his partner each time (s)he speaks, checking her/his reaction
      • smoothes over any conflict
      • speaks for most of the time stopping others speaking
      • sends clear signals by eye / body movement, facial expression or verbally, to warn the other person
      • has a range of complaints about the other person, which (s)he does not deny
    6. 6.6. Always, as soon as possible, make a factual record of everything that has happened, was said and was seen. Also record whether the issue was referred on or not, and the reasons in either case. Records must be accurate, legible, dated and reflect the author of the record.
    7. 6.7. If you are not sure how to proceed or if the situation is urgent, make referral to the Designated Safeguarding Officer for your service or your manager. Keep a record of who you speak to and their response.
Last modified on 15 December 2023

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