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Child Protection


Inishowen Carnival Group
updated august 2021

For the purpose of this document, ‘child’ refers to a person under the age of 18 years, who is not or has not been married.

Inishowen Carnival intends to create an environment, in which children are safe from abuse and in which any suspicion of abuse is promptly and appropriately responded to. 

Inishowen Carnival Group is committed to a child-centred approach to our work with children 

and young people. In all matters involving children, Inishowen Carnival Group is committed to the principle that the welfare of the child is paramount, and upholds the rights of children to be protected, treated with respect, listened to, and have their views taken into account.

This document gives formal expression to that commitment and outlines the practical procedures which are to be followed in the event of it being known or suspected that a person under the age of eighteen years may have been, or is at risk of being abused by any other person or persons.

These procedures are the means by which Inishowen Carnival Group is implementing the Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children; and they enshrine the aims, principles and policies contained therein.

This document also constitutes a formal statement of policy on the part of Inishowen Carnival Group in relation to the care and protection of all children with whom the work of personnel associated with the Centre in the provision of its service brings them into contact.

As such, it obliges the following on the part of all persons bound by these procedures:

Persons bound by the Procedures contained in this document are:


·       Risk Assessment – Overview of All Work Activity

·       Code of behaviour for all staff

·       Reporting of suspected or disclosed abuse

·       Confidentially Statement

·       Safe recruitment, training and management/ supervision of staff

·       Policy statement on the involvement of primary carers

·       Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse

·       Accidents Procedure and Anti Bullying Policy

·       Child Protection Declaration Forms



Inishowen Carnival Group is an arts organisation presenting street parades and public art events which often involve children, young people and vulnerable adults as participants and which include family audiences as part of our target audience.


We have a workshop and storage space at Greenhills Road, Malin, Co. Donegal which is used for making and storing of props and costumes for events.


This space is NOT generally used for workshops with participants, and children and young people currently only visit the space with parents or community group leaders when those adults are picking up or leaving back costumes and props which they have hired or borrowed.


We do not currently accept work experience placements under the age of 18 but have done in the past. Due to our small workforce this is likely to lead to one to one situations between our staff/volunteers and the young people involved.



is generally a LOW risk of any child protection issues at our workspace. 


However accepting work experience placements under the age of 18 would create a HIGH RISK situation as it would generally lead to one to one situations between adult staff/volunteers and young people.

ACTION: Continue our policy of NOT accepting work placements under the age of 18.



We present large scale props at a variety of street parades and events throughout Ireland usually hired by external organisations. We also provide costumes and props to dance and performance groups who take part in these parades and events.

Our usual practice is that we either:

hire a dance group to perform in an event that we are managing
liaise with a group that has been hired by the organisation managing the event

From time to time we hire a facilitator to work directly with a group in performance or arts and crafts skills. This is usually done in a school or community group context and does NOT usually involve our facilitators working unsupervised without the presence of a teacher or other group leader.

While we have in the past organised, advertised and managed art and performance workshops for children and young people directly, this is NOT currently part of our activity programme.



Hiring / Booking of External Groups
Inishowen Carnival Group has a responsibility to ensure that the dance and performance groups that we work with have adequate Child Protection measures in place. 


Prior to commencement of projects we should check that all participating groups have:

Adequate Child Protection Policy in place
All tutors are Garda vetted. Where participating groups do not have access to Garda vetting Inishowen Carnival should seek to obtain vetting for all relevant staff
Adequate safeguarding measures are in place to ensure that participants do not come to any harm while taking part in one of our projects.

Liasing with Groups hired by External Organisations

Inishowen Carnival Group will ensure that all Inishowen Carnival staff members taking part in the project and event are aware of and adhere to our Child Protection Policy and codes of behaviour.


Inishowen Carnival will seek to Garda vet our Project Manager or any other lead staff member who may have significant interaction with participating groups.


Organising Workshops for Children and Young People and Hiring Facilitators Directly

RISK ASSESSEMENT: There is a HIGH RISK in this situation.

ACTION: Inishowen Carnival Group will ensure that all staff members taking part in the project and event adhere to our Child Protection Policy and codes of behaviour, recording of information, adult child ratios, communication with parents etc.


Inishowen Carnival will seek to Garda vet any facilitator or project manager who may have significant interaction with participating children and young people.



During events we will often have significant numbers of adults working on our projects who are not working directly with children and  young people but who are in the middle of large groups of children and young people by nature of their role setting up and supervising  costumes and props for the project in which children and young people and family audiences are also involved.



There is a LOW RISK in this situation because there is limited interaction between crew and participants.


ACTION: Inishowen Carnival Group will ensure that all staff members taking part in the project and event are aware of and adhere to our Child Protection Policy and codes of behaviour.

Inishowen Carnival will seek to Garda vet our Project Manager or any other lead staff member who may have significant interaction with participating groups.

Code of Behaviour for staff

Inishowen Carnival Group supports a child centred approach by the following measures:

Treat all children and young people equally
Listen to and respect children and young people
Involve children / young people in decision making appropriate to their age and ability.
Provide encouragement, support and praise (regardless of ability)
Use language appropriate to the situation / workshop
Have fun and encourage a positive atmosphere
Offer constructive criticism when needed
Respect the work produced by each individual
Treat all children and young people as individuals
Respect a child's / Young person's space
Have contracts/agreements with groups based on discussion of appropriate behaviours and ability
Use age-appropriate teaching aids/materials
Encourage feedback from group
Lead by example
Be aware of a child/young person's time limitations e.g. school/exams when scheduling activities
Know the young people (in the case of medical information or limitations)
Respect differences of ability, culture, religion, race and sexual orientation

When working with young people Inishowen Carnival Group staff responsible for or working directly with young people will undertake the following:

Plan and be sufficiently prepared both mentally and physically
Register each child/young person (name, address, phone, special requirements,
attendance, emergency contact)
Make parents/carers/responsible adults, children/young people, visitors and
facilitators aware of Child Protection Policy and Procedures
Have emergency procedures in place and advise all staff of these
Be inclusive of children and young people with special needs
Report any concerns to designated person and follow reporting procedures
Adhere to Inishowen Carnival Group’s anti-bullying policy.  We encourage children and young people to report any bullying, concerns and worries and to be aware of the anti-bullying policy
Observe appropriate dress and behaviour
Evaluate our work practices on a regular basis
Provide appropriate training for staff and volunteers
Report/record any incidents and accidents
Ensure proper supervision including adequate ratios depending on age, abilities
and activities involved and appropriate gender balance for residential's
Ensure clear communication between the staff, managers, parents and children.
Avoid situations where adults are isolated on their own with young people (whether members of the public or participants in our project) away from the presence of parents, group leaders/supervisors, other adults.
Inishowen Carnival Group will always seek to ensure that staff working directly with young people do not take sessions on their own. If this is not possible then it should be in an open environment with the full knowledge and consent of parents /carers / responsible adult

Staff who do not work directly with Young People

At most of our events there are a number of staff, usually technical crew members, who do not work directly with young people or have any responsibility. It is important that these staff:

Are aware of our Child Protection Policy and Procedures
Are aware of all emergency procedures in place
Report any concerns to designated person and follow reporting procedures
Are aware of Inishowen Carnival Group anti-bullying policy.  We encourage children and young people to report any bullying, concerns and worries and to be aware of the anti-bullying policy
observe appropriate dress and behaviour
Report/record any incidents and accidents
Avoid situations where they are isolated on their own with young people (whether members of the public or participants in our project) away from the presence of parents, group leaders/supervisors, other adults.

Inappropriate behaviour

Don't use / allow offensive or sexually suggestive physical and or verbal language
Don't single out a particular child/young person (for unfair favouritism, criticism,
ridicule or unwelcome focus or attention)
Don't allow/engage in inappropriate touching in any form
Don't hit or physically chastise children or young people
Don't socialise inappropriately with children/young people e.g. outside
of structured organisational activities

Health & Safety

Don’t leave children unattended or unsupervised
Manage any dangerous materials
Provide a safe environment
Be aware of accident procedure and follow accordingly

Physical Contact

Seek consent of child/young person in relation to physical contact (except in an emergency or a dangerous situation)
Avoid horseplay or inappropriate touch



Reporting of Suspected or Disclosed Abuse


Reporting Procedures:

Inishowen Carnival Group have developed a very clear reporting procedure for matters relating to a child/young person’s safety and welfare. The reporting procedure is made known and accessible to all staff at induction.


The person who expresses the concern will be involved and kept informed.
Actions and outcomes will be noted.
Inishowen Carnival Group will record all details including the date, time and people involved in the concern or disclosure and the facts in an incident book. Information recorded should be factual and any opinions should be supported by facts.
The Designated person or Deputy will be informed.
The most appropriate person will discuss the concern or consult with primary carers. Parents, carers or responsible adults will be made aware of a report to the Health Service Executive unless it is likely to put the child/young person at further risk.
The Designated person may contact the Health Service Executive Duty Social Work Department for an informal consultation prior to making a report.
Information will be shared on a strictly ‘need to know’ basis as per our confidentiality statement.
If there are reasonable grounds for concern, The Designated person will contact the Duty Social Worker in the Health Service Executive area using the standard reporting form from the Health Service Executive. Reports may be made verbally initially to the Duty Social Worker and then followed up with the standard reporting form. Reports will be made without delay.
If the Designated person or the Deputy Designated Person is not available, any carnival group shouldl contact the Duty Social Worker of the Health Service Executive directly.
In case of emergencies outside of Health Service Executive Social Work Department hours,
Carnival Group will contact the Gardai. In situations that threaten the immediate safety of a child/young person, it may be necessary to contact the Gardai.


Who to contact about issues related to child protection and welfare

The Designated Person is a member of the organisation who has undergone specific training in Child Protection and has responsibility for the raising of awareness and reporting of these issues.


You should contact the Designated Person if you have an issue or concern about any aspect of a child’s or young person’s safety and welfare. It is his responsibility to support and advise staff about policy and procedures in relation to child protection and to ensure that procedures are followed. It is also the responsibility of the Designated Person to liaise with the Health Service Executive or Gardaí where appropriate.


The Designated person at Inishowen Carnival Group is 

Kevin O’Neill – Project Manager Tel. 0876836478


The Deputy Designated Person is  

Kathleen Kelly  - Carnival Group Board Member Tel. 0871306625


Contact Information:


Child and Family Agency ,

Millennium Court, Pearse Road, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Tel. 074 9123672


Duty Social Worker Inishowen

Links Business Centre, Lisfannon, Buncrana, Donegal East. Tel:  (074) 9320420


Carndonagh Gardai Station   - Tel. 0749374109

Buncrana Gardai Station - Tel. 0749361555

Responsibility to report:

Any person, who suspects that a child is being abused, or is at risk of abuse, has a 

responsibility to report their concerns to the Health Board. (This includes Volunteers, 

Assistants, Artists, Staff and Management.)


Reasonable grounds for Concern:

A specific indication from a child that he/she was abused
A statement from a person who witnessed abuse.
An illness, injury or behaviour consistent with abuse.
A symptom which may not in itself be totally consistent with abuse, but
which is supported by corroborative evidence of deliberate harm or negligence.
Consistent signs of neglect over a period of time.

A suspicion which is not supported by any objective sign of abuse, would not constitute a 

reasonable suspicion, or reasonable grounds for concern.


Procedures for recording incidents and concerns:

If child abuse is suspected or alleged, the following steps should be taken by Inishowen Carnival Group 

and members of the public who come into contact with children.


Inishowen Carnival Group staff should record the following information in relation to children and 

young people:

Worrying observations
Behavioural changes
Actions and outcomes


Dealing with a disclosure:

Stay calm and listen to the child/young person, allow him or her enough time to say
what he/she needs to say.
Don’t use leading questions or prompt details.
Reassure the child/young person but do not promise to keep anything secret.
Don’t make the child/young person repeat details unnecessarily.
Explain to the child/young person what will happen next (explanation should be

Dealing with allegations against staff

Two separate procedures must be followed:

1.    In respect of the child/young person Kevin O’Neill will deal with issues related to the child/young person.

2.    In respect of the person against whom the allegation is made the deputy designated person Kathleen Kelly will deal with issues related to staff member.


The first priority is to ensure that no child or young person is exposed to unnecessary risk;
If allegations are made against the Designated Person, then the Deputy Designated Person should be contacted;
The reporting procedures outlined in the guidelines should be followed. Both the primary carers and the child/young person should be informed of the actions planned and taken. The child/young person should be dealt with in an age-appropriate manner;
The staff member will be informed as soon as possible of the nature of the allegation and the staff member should be given opportunity to respond;
The chairperson/head of the organisation should be informed as soon as possible;
Any action following an allegation of abuse against an employee should be taken in consultation with Health Service Executive and Gardaí;
After consultation, the chairperson/head of organisation should advise the person accused and agreed procedures will be followed.


Complaints and Comments procedures:

In the event of complaints or comments:

Complaints or comments will be responded to within two weeks;
Kevin O’Neill has responsibility for directing complaints/comments to the appropriate person;
Verbal complaints will be logged and a response given to the person who made the complaint.


Retrospective Disclosures by Adults 

When a disclosure is made by an adult of abuse suffered during their childhood and it comes to the attention of either the HSE or An Garda Síochána or other service, it is essential to establish whether there is any current risk to any child who may be in contact with the alleged abuser revealed in the adult’s disclosure.


If any risk is deemed to exist this information must be reported to the Túsla Child & Family Agency by the (Deputy) Designated Liaison Person.





Confidentiality Statement

Inishowen Carnival Group are committed to ensuring peoples’ rights to confidentiality. However, in relation to child protection and welfare we undertake that:

Information will only be forwarded on a ‘need to know’ basis in order to safeguard the child/young person;
Giving such information to others for the protection of a child or young person is not a breach of confidentiality;
We cannot guarantee total confidentiality where the best interests of the child or young person are at risk;
Primary carers, children and young people have a right to know if personal information is being shared and/or a report is being made to the Health Service Executive, unless doing so could put the child/young person at further risk;
Images of a child/Young person will not be used for any reason without the consent of the parent/carer (however we cannot guarantee that cameras/videos will not be used at public performances);
Procedures are in place in relation to the use of images of children/young people;
Procedures are in place for the recording and storing of information in line with our confidentiality policy.


Personal Information relating to a child/young person and /or reports to the Health Service Executive will be kept in a locked metal filing cabinet, in an adjoining office and the only key holder will be the project manager.


Safe recruitment, training and management/ supervision of staff

Recruitment and Selection of Staff

Inishowen Carnival Group will ensure that staff are carefully selected, trained and supervised to provide a safe environment for all children and young people by observing the following principles:


Roles and responsibilities will be clearly defined for every job paid and voluntary.
Posts will be advertised widely.
We will endeavour to select the most suitably qualified personnel.
Candidates will be required to complete an application form.
Candidates will be asked to sign a declaration form in reference to child protection issues.
At least two written references that are recent, relevant, independent and verbally confirmed will be necessary.
Staff will be selected by a panel of at least two representatives through an interview process.
No person who would be deemed to constitute a ‘risk’ will be employed.
Some of the exclusions would include:
Any child related convictions:
Refusal to sign application form and declaration form:
Insufficient documentary evidence of identification:
Concealing information on one’s suitability to working with children:
Refusal to partake in Child Protection Training as offered by Inishowen Carnival Group.
There will be a relevant probationary period (At Inishowen Carnival Group this is a three month period.)
All staff working with children will be required to consent to Garda clearance, and where available, this will be sought.

Managing and Supervising Staff

Inishowen Carnival Group has in place procedures to cover training, induction, supervision, and the review of work practices. Monthly Supervision sessions between staff and the Development Worker ensure that these areas are covered. All staff attend programme meetings on a weekly basis at which individual work plans are actioned.  Training needs are identified and work practices are discussed on an individual basis. Line management is clearly identified in staff contracts of employment. In addition to Individual contracts employment at Carnival Group is subject to separate Terms and Conditions and issues of misconduct and consequences are dealt with in detail.


To protect both staff (paid and voluntary) and children/young people, we undertake that:


New staff will:

Take part in a mandatory induction training session;
Be made aware of the organisation’s code of conduct, child protection procedures, and the identity and role of who has been designated to deal with issues of concern;
Undergo a probationary or trial period, usually  a minimum of three Months

All staff will:

Receive an adequate level of supervision and review of their work practices;
Be expected to have read and signed the Child Protection Policy Statement;
Be provided with child protection training.



Policy statement on the involvement of primary carers


We are committed to being open with all primary carers.


We undertake to:

Advise primary carers of our child protection policy;
Inform primary carers and schools of all activities and potential activities:
Issue contact/consent forms where relevant;
Comply with health and safety practices;
Operate child-centred policies in accordance with best practice;
Adhere to our recruitment guidelines;
Ensure as far as possible that the activities are age-appropriate;
Encourage and facilitate the involvement of parent(s), carer(s) or responsible adult(s), where appropriate.

If we have concerns about the welfare of child/young person, we will:
Respond to the needs of the child or young person;
Inform the primary carers on an on-going basis unless this action puts the child or young person at further risk;
Where there are child protection and welfare concerns we are obliged to pass these on to the Duty Social Worker and, in an emergency, the Gardaí:
In the event of a complaint against a member of staff, we will immediately ensure the safety of the child/young person and inform primary carers as appropriate.

As a child-centred organisation, we are committed to putting the interest of the child/young person first. To that end we will:
Contact local Health Service Executive and Gardaí where there is a child protection welfare concern;
Encourage primary carers to work in partnership with us under the guidelines set out by our organisation to ensure the safety of their children;
Have a designated contact person available for consultation with primary carers in the case of any concern over a child or young person’s welfare.


Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse 

Child abuse can be categorised into four different types: neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. A child may be subjected to one or more forms of abuse at any given time.


Neglect can be defined in terms of an omission, where the child suffers significant harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults, medical care.


Harm can be defined as the ill-treatment or the impairment of the health or development of a child. Whether it is significant is determined by his/her health and development as compared to that which could reasonably be expected of a child of similar age.


Neglect generally becomes apparent in different ways over a period of time rather than at one specific point. For instance, a child who suffers a series of minor injuries is not having his or her needs met for supervision and safety. A child whose ongoing failure to gain weight or whose height is significantly below average, may be being deprived of adequate nutrition. A child who consistently misses school may be being deprived of intellectual stimulation. The threshold of significant harm is reached when the child’s needs are neglected to the extent that his or her well-being and/or development are severely affected.


Signs and Symptoms of Child Neglect

This category of abuse is the most common. A distinction can be made between “wilful” neglect and “circumstantial” neglect. For instance, “wilful” neglect would generally incorporate a direct and deliberate deprivation by a parent/carer of a child’s most basic needs e.g. withdrawal of food, shelter, warmth, clothing, contact with others, whereas “circumstantial” neglect more often may be due to stress/inability to cope by parents or carers.


Neglect is closely correlated with low social-economic factors and corresponding physical deprivations. It is also related to parental incapacity due to learning disability or psychological disturbance.


The neglect of children is “usually a passive form of abuse involving omission rather than acts of commission”. It comprises “both a lack of physical caretaking and supervision and a failure to fulfil the development needs of the child in terms of cognitive stimulation”.


Child neglect should be suspected in cases of:
Abandonment or desertion
Children persistently being left alone without adequate care and supervision
Malnourishment, lacking food, inappropriate food or erratic feeding
Lack of warmth
Lack of adequate clothing
Lack of protection and exposure to danger including moral danger or lack of supervision appropriate to the child’s age
Persistent failure to attend school
Non-organic failure to thrive i.e. child not gaining weight, not alone due to malnutrition but also due to emotional deprivation
Failure to provide adequate care for the child’s medical problems
Exploited, overworked

Emotional Abuse Definition of Emotional Child Abuse

Emotional abuse is normally to be found in the relationship between a care-giver and a child rather than in a specific event or pattern of events. It occurs when a child’s needs for affection, approval, consistency and security, are not met. Unless other forms of abuse are present, it is rarely manifested in terms of physical signs or symptoms.


Examples of emotional abuse of children include:

the imposition of negative attributes on children, expressed by persistent criticism, sarcasm, hostility or blaming;
conditional parenting in which the level of care shown to a child is made contingent on his or her behaviours or actions;
emotional unavailability by the child’s parent/carer;
unresponsiveness, inconsistent, or inappropriate expectations of the child;
premature imposition of responsibility on the child;
unrealistic or inappropriate expectations of the child’s capacity to understand something or to behave and control himself in a certain way;
under or over-protection of the child;
failure to show interest in, or provide age-appropriate opportunities for, the child’s cognitive and emotional development;
use of unreasonable or over harsh disciplinary measures;
exposure to domestic violence.

Emotional abuse can be manifested in terms of the child’s behaviour, cognitive affective or physical functioning.


Examples of these include: ‘anxious’ attachment, non-organic failure to thrive, unhappiness, low selfesteem, educational and developmental underachievement, and oppositional behaviour.


The threshold of significant harm is reached when abusive interactions dominate and become typical of the relationship between the child and the parent/carer.


Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Child Abuse  


Emotional abuse occurs when adults responsible for taking care of children are unable to be aware of and meet their children’s emotional and developmental needs.


Emotional abuse is not easy to recognise because the effects are not easily observable.


Emotional abuse refers to the habitual verbal harassment of a child by disparagement, criticism, threat and ridicule and the inversion of love; whereby verbal and non-verbal means of rejection and withdrawal are substituted”. Skuse D. (1989) “Emotional abuse and Neglect” on Meadow, R. “ABC of Child Abuse”, British Medical Journal Publications, London


Emotional abuse can be defined in reference to the following indices. However, it should be noted that no one indicator is conclusive of emotional abuse.

Lack of praise and encouragement
Lack of comfort and love
Lack of attachment
Lack of proper stimulation (e.g. fun and play)
Lack of continuity of care (e.g. frequent moves)
Serious over-protectiveness
Inappropriate non-physical punishment (e.g. locking in bedrooms)
Family conflicts and/or violence

Every child who is abused sexually, physically or neglected is also emotionally abused

Inappropriate expectations of a child’s behaviour – relative to his/her age and stage of development


Physical Abuse 


Definition of Physical Abuse 

Physical abuse is any form of non-accidental injury or injury which results from wilful or neglectful failure to protect a child.


Examples of physical injury include the following:

use of excessive force in handling
deliberate poisoning
Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy (see below for more detail)
allowing or creating a substantial risk of significant harm to a child.

Signs and Symptoms of Physical Abuse

Unsatisfactory explanations or varying explanations for the following events are highly suspicious:

Bruises (see below for more detail)
Swollen joints
Burns/scalds (see below for more detail)
Haemorrhages (retinal, subtotal)
Damage to body organs
Poisonings – repeated (prescribed drugs, alcohol)
Failure to thrive

There are many different forms of physical abuse but skin, mouth and bone injuries are the most common.


Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy

This is a condition where parents, usually the mother (according to current research and case experience) fabricate stories of illness about their child or cause physical signs of illness. This can occur where the parent secretly administers dangerous drugs or other poisonous substances to the child by smothering.


The symptoms include the following:

Symptoms which cannot be explained by any medical tests; symptoms never observed by anyone other than the carer; symptoms reported to occur at home or when a parent visits a child in hospital.
High level of demand for investigations of symptoms without any documented physical signs;
Unexplained problems with medical treatment such as drips coming out and lines being interfered with;
Presence of unprescribed medication or poisons in the blood or urine.

Bruises – in General Accidental bruises are common at places on the body where bone is fairly close to the skin. Bruises can be found towards the front of the body, as the child usually will fall forwards.


Accidental bruises are common on the chin, nose, forehead, elbow, knees and shins. An accident-prone child can have frequent bruises in these areas. Such bruises will be diffuse with no definite edges. Any bruising on a child before the age of mobility must be treated with concern.

Bruises are more likely to occur on soft tissues e.g. cheek, buttocks, lower back, back or thighs and calves, neck, genitalia and mouth.


Bruises – non-accidental

Marks from slapping or grabbing may form a distinctive pattern.
Slap marks occur on buttocks/cheeks and the outlining of fingers may be seen on any part of the body.
Bruises may be associated with shaking, which can cause serious hidden bleeding, and bruising inside the skull.
Any bruising around the neck is suspicious as it is very unlikely to be accidently acquired.
Bruises caused by direct blows with a fist have no definite pattern but may occur in parts of the body which do not usually receive injuries by accident.
A punch over the eye (black eye syndrome) or ear would be of concern. Black eyes cannot be caused by a fall onto a flat surface. Two black eyes require two injuries and must always be suspect. Other injuries may feature - ruptured eardrum/fractured skull.
Mouth injury may be a cause of concern – torn mouth (fraenulum) from forced bottle-feeding.

Other distinctive patterns of bruising may be left by the use of straps, belts, sticks and feet. The outline of the object may be left on the child in a bruise on areas such as back,

thighs (areas covered by clothing).



In general Children who have accidental burns usually have a hot liquid splashed on them by spilling or have come into contact with a hot object.


The history that parents give is usually in keeping with the pattern of injury observed. However, repeated episodes may suggest inadequate care and attention to safety within the house.


Burns – non-accidental 

Children who have received non-accidental burns may exhibit a pattern that is not adequately explained by parents. The child may have been immersed in a hot liquid. The burn may show a definite line, unlike the type seen an accidental splashing. The child may also have been held against a hot object like a radiator or a ring of a cooker leaving distinctive marks. Cigarette burns may result in multiple small lesions in places on the skin that would not generally be exposed to danger. There may be other skin conditions that can cause similar patterns and expert paediatric advice should be sought.


Bites – in general Children can get bitten either by animals or humans. Animal bites, e.g. dogs – commonly puncture and tear the skin and usually the history is definite. Small children can also bite other children.


Bites – non-accidental 

It is sometimes hard to differentiate between adults’ and children’s bites, as measurements can be inaccurate. Any suspected adult bite must be taken very seriously. Consultant Paediatricians may liaise with Dental colleagues in order to correctly identify marks. Bone injuries – in general Children regularly have accidents that result in fractures. However, children’s bones are more flexible than those of adults and the children themselves are lighter, so a fracture, particularly of the skull, usually signifies that considerable force has been applied.


Bone injuries – non-accidental 

A fracture of any sort should be regarded as suspicious in a child under 8 months of age. A fracture of the skull must be regarded as particularly suspicious in a child under 3 years. Either case requires careful investigation as to the circumstances in which the fracture occurred. Swelling in the head or drowsiness may also indicate injury.


Poisoning – in general Children may commonly take medicines or chemicals that are dangerous and potentially life threatening.


Aspects of care and safety within the home need to be considered with each event. Shaking violently Shaking is a frequent cause of brain damage in very young children.


Definition of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse occurs when a child is used by another person for his or her gratification or sexual arousal or for that of others. Examples of child sexual abuse include the following:

Exposure of the sexual organs or any sexual act intentionally performed in the presence of the child;
Intentional touching or molesting of the body of a child whether by a person of object for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification;
Masturbation in the presence of the child or the involvement of the child in an act of masturbation;
Sexual intercourse with the child whether oral, vaginal or anal;
Sexual exploitation of a child includes inciting, encouraging propositioning, requiring or permitting a child to solicit for, or to engage in, prostitution or other sexual acts.

Sexual exploitation also occurs when a child is involved in the exhibition, modelling or posing for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or sexual act, including its recording (on film, video tape or other media) or the manipulation, for those purposes, of the image by computer or other means. It may also include showing sexually explicit material to children, which is often a feature of the “grooming” process by perpetrators of abuse.


Consensual sexual activity involving an adult and an under-age person. In relation to child sexual abuse, it should be noted that, for the purposes of the criminal law, the age of consent to sexual intercourse is 17 years. This means, for example, that sexual intercourse between a 16 year-old girl and her 17 year-old boyfriend is illegal, although it might not be regarded as constituting child sexual abuse.


The decision to initiate child protection action in such cases is a matter for professional judgement and each case should be considered individually. The criminal aspects of the case will be dealt by An Garda Síochána under the relevant legislation.


It should be noted that the definition of child sexual abuse presented in this section is not a legal definition and is not intended to be a description of the criminal offences of sexual assault.


Signs and Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse 

Child sexual abuse often covers a wide spectrum of abusive activities. It rarely involves just a single incident and usually occurs over a number of years.


Child sexual abuse frequently happens within the family. Intra-familial abuse is particularly complex and difficult to deal with.


Cases of sexual abuse principally come to light through:

disclosure by the child or its siblings/friends;
the suspicions of an adult;
due to physical symptoms.

Sexual Exploitation 

Involves situations of sexual victimisation where the person who is responsible for the exploitation may not have direct sexual contact with the child. Two types of this abuse are child pornography and child prostitution.


‘Child pornography’ includes still photography, videos and movies and, more recently computer generated pornography.


‘Child Prostitution’ for the most part involves children of latency age or in adolescence. However, children as young as four or five are known to be abused in this way.


Sexual abuse in combination with other abuse. 

The sexual abuses described above may be found in combination with other abuses, such as physical abuse and urination and defecation on the victim. In some cases physical abuse is an integral part of the sexual abuse; in others drugs and alcohol may be given to the victim.


It is important to note that physical signs may not be evident in cases of sexual abuse due to the nature of the abuse and /or the fact that the disclosure was made some time after the abuse took place.


Carers and professionals should be alert to the following physical and behavioural signs:

Bleeding from the vagina/anus
Difficulty/pain in passing urine/faeces
An infection may occur secondary to sexual abuse, which may not be a definitive sexually transmitted disease.

Professionals should be informed if a child has:

a persistent vaginal discharge or has warts/rash in genital area
Noticeable and uncharacteristic change of behaviour
Hints about sexual activity
Age – inappropriate understanding of sexual behaviour
Inappropriate seductive behaviour
Sexually aggressive behaviour with others
Uncharacteristic sexual play with peers/toys
Unusual reluctance to join in normal activities which involve undressing, e.g. games/swimming

Particular behavioural signs and emotional problems suggestive of child abuse in young children (0-10 yrs):

Mood change, e.g. child becomes withdrawn, fearful, acting out;
Lack of concentration (change in school performance)
Bed wetting, soiling
Psychosomatic complaints; pains, headaches
Skin disorders
Nightmares, changes in sleep patterns
School refusal
Separation anxiety
Loss of appetite

Particular behavioural signs and emotional problems suggestive of child abuse in older children (10 yrs +):

Mood change, e.g. depression, failure to communicate
Running away
Drug, alcohol, solvent abuse
Suicide attempts
Eating disorders

All signs/indicators need careful assessment relative to the child’s circumstances.


Children with Special Vulnerabilities 

Certain children are more vulnerable to abuse than others. These include children with disabilities and children who, for one reason or another, are separated from parents or other family members and who depend on others for their care and protection.


The same categories of abuse – neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse – may be applicable, but may take a slightly different form. For example, abuse may take the form of deprivation of basic rights, harsh disciplinary regimes or the inappropriate use of medications or physical restraints.


Fatal Child Abuse 

In the tragic circumstances where a child dies as a result of abuse or neglect there are three important facts to be considered: criminal, child protection and bereavement aspects.


The criminal aspects: This is the responsibility of an Garda Síochána and they must be notified immediately. The coroner must also be notified and his/her instructions must be complied with in relation to post-mortems and other relevant matters.


Child protection aspects: These will be particularly relevant if there are other children in the family and will require immediate health board intervention to assess risk.


Bereavement aspects: The bereavement needs of the family must be given priority and all family members, including the alleged abuser, if a family member, should be given an opportunity to grieve and say goodbye to the dead child. Hospital staff are well placed to facilitate this.


Recognising Child Abuse 

Child abuse can often be difficult to identify and may present in many forms. Early detection is important and professionals working with children should share their concerns about child protection or welfare with colleagues, preferably those in senior line management positions.


A list of child abuse indicators is contained in this procedure. It is important to stress that no one indicator should be seen as conclusive in itself of abuse; it may indeed indicate conditions other than child abuse. All signs and symptoms must be examined in the total context of the child’s situation and family circumstances.


Guidelines for Recognition 

The ability to recognise child abuse depends as much on a person’s willingness to accept the possibility of its existence as it does on their knowledge and information.


There are commonly three stages in the identification of child abuse. These are:

Stage One: Considering the Possibility 

The possibility of child abuse should be considered if a child appears to have suffered a suspicious injury for which no reasonable explanation can be offered. It should also be considered if the child seems distressed without obvious reason or displays persistent or new behavioural problems. The possibility of child abuse should also be considered if the child displays unusual or fearful responses to parents/carers.


Stage Two: Looking out for signs of Abuse

Signs of abuse can be physical, behavioural, or developmental. They can exist in the relationships between children and parents/carers or between children and other family members. A cluster or pattern of signs is likely to be more indicative of abuse. Children who are being abused may hint that they are being harmed and sometimes make direct disclosures. Disclosures should always be believed; less obvious signs could be gently explored with the child, without direct questioning. Play situations such as drawing or story telling may reveal information.


Some signs are more indicative than others. These include:

disclosure of abuse and neglect by a child or young person;
age-appropriate or abnormal sexual play or knowledge;
specific injuries or patterns of injuries;
absconding from home or a care situation;
attempted suicide;
under-age pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease;
signs in one or more categories at the same time. For example, signs of developmental delay, physical injury and behavioural signs may together indicate a pattern of abuse.

Most signs are non-specific and must be considered in the child’s social and family context. It is important to always be open to alternative explanations for physical or behavioural signs of abuse.


Sometimes, a specialist assessment may be required to clarify if particular concerns constitute abuse.


Stage Three: Recording of Information 

If abuse is suspected, it is important to establish the grounds for concern by obtaining as much detailed information as possible. Observations should be accurately recorded and should include dates, times, names, locations, context and any other information which may be relevant.


Points to Remember:

1. The severity of a sign does not necessarily equate with the severity of the abuse. Severe and potentially fatal injuries are not always visible. Emotional and/or psychological abuse tends to be cumulative and effects may only be observable in the longer term. Signs or indicators of abuse should be gently explored with the child; explanations, which are inconsistent with the signs, should constitute a cause for concern.

2. Neglect is potentially fatal as a physical abuse. It can cause delayed physical, psychological and emotional development, chronic ill-health and significant long-term damage. It may also precede, or co-exist with other forms of abuse and must be treated seriously.

3. Child abuse is not restricted to any socio-economic group, gender or culture. All signs must be considered in the wider social and family context. However serious deficits in child safety and welfare transcend cultural, social and ethnic norms and must elicit a response.

4. Challenging behaviour by a child or young person should not render them liable to abuse. Children in certain circumstances may present management problems. This should not leave them vulnerable to harsh disciplinary measures or neglect of care.

5. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between indicators of child abuse and other adversities suffered by children and families. Deprivation, stress or mental health problems should not be used as a justification for omissions of care or commissions of harm by parents/carers. The child’s welfare must be the primary consideration.

6. The aim of child protection services is to promote positive and enduring change in the lives of children and families. All action taken with respect to children and young people must reflect the principles and objectives of the child Care Act, 1991. Priority must be given to the safety and well-being of the child.

7. Society has a duty of care towards children. Parents/carers are primarily responsible for the safety and welfare of the children in their care. The health board is the statutory body responsible for child protection and welfare and must intervene when children are harmed or fail to receive adequate care. However, health board professionals are dependent on the co-operation of members of the public and professionals in contact with children to bring childcare and protection concerns to their attention in as comprehensive a fashion as possible.




How to respond if a child discloses abuse to you 

1. Be as calm and natural as possible. Remember, you have probably been approached because the child trusts you and likes you. Do not panic

2. Be aware that disclosure can be very difficult for the child

3. Remember that the child may be testing your reactions and may only open up over a period of time

4. Listen to what the child has to say. Give them the time and opportunity to tell as much as they are able and wish to. Do not put pressure on the child. Allow him/her to disclose at their own pace and in their own language

5. Be careful when asking questions. Questions should be supportive and for the purpose of clarification

6. Avoid asking leading questions such as asking whether a specific person carried out the abuse. Also, avoid asking about intimate details or suggesting that something else may have happened other than what you have been told. Such questions and suggestions could complicate the official investigation

7. Give the child assurance that you believe them. False disclosures are very rare in young children

8. It is important to differentiate between the person who carried out the abuse and the act of abuse itself. The child may love or strongly like the alleged abuser whilst also disliking what was done to him/her. It is important therefore to avoid expressing any judgement on, or anger towards the alleged perpetrator, while talking with the child.

9. It may be necessary to reassure the child that your feelings towards him/her have not been affected in a negative way as a result of what he/she has disclosed.

10. Do not promise to keep secrets. At the earliest opportunity tell the child that:

11. You acknowledge that they have come to you because they trust you

12. There are secrets, which are not helpful and should not be kept because they make matters worse.

13. Such secrets hide things that need to be known if people are to be helped and protected from further hurt. By refusing to make a commitment to secrecy, you do run the risk that they will not tell you everything or indeed anything, there and then. However, it is better to do this than to lie to a child and ruin the child’s confidence in yet another adult. By being honest, it is more likely that the child will return to you at another time.

14. Do not confront the alleged abuser

Accidents procedure

Inishowen Carnival Group will maintain an up-to-date register of the contact details of all children/young people involved in attending carnival group programmes.
Children and young people’s details should be cross-referenced between the incident book and contact register where appropriate.
External organisations with whom our organisation has dealings must provide proof that they have public liability insurance.
First-aid boxes are  available and regularly re-stocked;
The location of the first-aid boxes must be made known to staff; currently on the shelf in the main office and on the shelving unit in the basement studio. Inishowen Carnival Group will maintain training for the nominated first-aider, an Carnival Group staff member.
Availability of the first-aid should be in accordance with the organisation’s Health and Safety guidelines. The location of accident/incident books must be made known to staff; currently on the shelf above computer in the main office.
A risk assessment will be undertaken in relation to the use of certain materials by children and young people.
A risk assessment will be undertaken in relation to the handling of any equipment and tools used at Inishowen Carnival Group.
Take cognisance of responsibility for first-aid on off-site trips.


Carnival Group’s current First Aider is Anne Marie Monagle




Anti Bullying Policy

Inishowen Carnival Group provides a place where every participant/ facilitator can feel secure.

Inishowen Carnival Group provides a place where it is known that bullying is not acceptable behaviour.

Inishowen Carnival Group provides a place where name calling is not tolerated.

Inishowen Carnival Group provides a place where no one suffers abuse of any kind.

Inishowen Carnival Group provides a place where no one is victimised.

Inishowen Carnival Group provides a place where each participant/ facilitator is supported and listened to.

Inishowen Carnival Group provides a place where it is each person’s responsibility to ensure they are all treated equally.