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6.5 Abuse by Children and Young People

6.2.1 Abuse by children and young people includes any abusive behaviour, including sexually abusive behaviour, committed by a child or young person towards any other person, whether child or adult.
6.2.2 Work with young people who abuse should recognise that, whilst they may pose significant risk to other children and young people, they are likely to have considerable needs themselves, and may be at risk of, or suffering Significant Harm. Where criminal proceedings are taken against a child or young person alleged to have abused another person, whether child or adult, it is the responsibility of the Youth Offending Service to promote and safeguard their welfare.
6.2.3 Any professional concerned that a young person may have abused another person should refer the concern as they would any other safeguarding referral - see Knowsley MASH (Multi-Agency Referral Form).
6.2.4 On receipt of a referral, Children's Social Care will need to undertake a Single Assessment in liaison with the police, Youth Offending Service, and other relevant professionals involved and then consider whether a Strategy Discussion is required to undertake a Section 47 Enquiry. At the point of deciding to initiate a Section 47 Enquiry, a Single Assessment should be further developed.

The Single Assessment will consider the needs of the young person and other members of the household. This should include close liaison and joint planning with the Youth Offending Service to ensure that effective assessment of risk is undertaken and appropriate supports are made available to the young person.

When a case is going through the Youth Court or the Crown Court, the Youth Offending Service will provide information for the Single Assessment process. This may include plea, bail conditions and variations between adjournments.
6.2.6 The young person should only be the subject of an Initial Child Protection Conference if he or she is considered personally to be at continuing risk of Significant Harm following assessment. 
6.2.7 The assessment of children and young people who abuse should be conducted separately from any assessment or work with the victim(s).

It is therefore important that the Initial Assessment considers the following factors:

  • The nature and extent of the abusive behaviour;
  • The context of the abusive behaviour;
  • The child's development, family and social circumstances;
  • The risks to self and others including other children;
  • Expert professional opinion/assessment of the behaviour where appropriate;
  • Need for services, specifically focusing on the child's harmful behaviour as well as other significant needs.

Decisions for Children's Social Care , police and any other agencies involved (including the Crown Prosecution Service where relevant) will include:

  • The most appropriate course of action within the criminal justice system;
  • Whether the young person who has allegedly abused others should be the subject of a Child Protection Conference;
  • The plan of action that should be put in place to address the needs of the young person alleged to have abused others, detailing the involvement of all relevant agencies.
6.2.10 It may be necessary to convene a Child Protection Conference in relation to a child victim of a young person who has allegedly abused others if that child is at continuing risk of Significant Harm. Such a Child Protection Conference would be distinct from a Child Protection Conference where a young person alleged to have abused others is the subject, and would therefore not be primarily concerned with the needs of that young person.