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5.1 Relationships and Physical Contact with Children


  1. General
  2. Physical Contact
  3. One to one Time Alone With Children
  4. Intimate Care
  5. Menstruation
  6. Enuresis and Encopresis

1. General

Suitable arrangements should exist in all homes for matters relating to physical contact, intimate care, menstruation, enuresis, encopresis and other aspects of children's personal care.

2. Physical Contact

Staff must provide a level of care, including physical contact, which is designed to demonstrate warmth, friendliness and positive regard for children.

Physical contact should be given in a manner that is safe, protective and avoids the arousal of sexual expectations, feelings or in any way, which reinforces sexual stereotypes.

Whilst staff are actively encouraged to play with children, it is not acceptable to play fight or participate in overtly physical games or tests of strength with the children.

3. One to One Time Alone With Children

Also see Lone Working Procedure.

Where staff's daily work brings them into a one to one situation they should remember to inform other staff why this is necessary and where this will be taking place.

Where one to one work is delivered as part of a specialist service or direct work programme this should be identified in the Placement Plan.

Managers will, where it is deemed necessary, ensure a risk assessment is carried out for the delivery of any piece of work that is consistent with the Placement Plan.

Staff should always try to keep doors open unless this constitutes a breach of privacy for the child. In these instances it may be necessary to undertake a risk assessment of the situation.

No volunteer should ever be in a one to one situation with a child.

Where a member of staff has to work in isolation or on duty on their own a risk assessment must be carried out.

If an accident happens whilst in this situation make sure an accident report form is filled in and signed by all parties

If anything 'unusual' happens fill in an incident report form and make sure a witness signs it.

Giving first aid or personal care (where deemed necessary on the Placement Plan), should be recorded on the relevant format.

If any member of staff is uneasy about the behaviour of others who are putting himself or herself or the child at risk they must inform the manager of the home.

Where a member of staff feels that the unease is centred on the Registered Manager they must report this to a manager outside of the Line Management of the Home, or to the child's social worker.

Any allegations, suspicions and/or disclosures of abuse should be reported as per Referring Safeguarding Concerns Procedure.

4. Intimate Care

Children must be supported and encouraged to undertake bathing, showers and other intimate care of themselves without relying on staff.

Such arrangements must emphasise that children's dignity and their right to be consulted and involved will be protected and promoted; and, where necessary, staff will be provided with specialist training and support.

Unless otherwise agreed, children will be given intimate care by adults of the same gender.

5. Menstruation

Young women should be supported and encouraged to keep their own supply of sanitary protection without having to request it from staff.

There should also be adequate provision for the private disposal of used sanitary protection.

6. Enuresis and Encopresis

If it is known or suspected that a child is likely to experience enuresis, encopresis or may be prone to smearing it should be discussed openly, with the child if possible, and strategies adopted for managing it; these strategies should be outlined in the child's Placement Plan.

It may be appropriate to consult a Continence Nurse or other specialist, who may provide advise on the most appropriate strategy to adopt. In the absence of such advice, the following should be adopted:

  1. Talk to the child in private, openly but sympathetically;
  2. Do not treat it as the fault of the child, or apply any form of sanction;
  3. Do not require the child to clear up; arrange for the child to be cleaned and remove then wash any soiled bedding and clothes;
  4. Keep a record, either on a dedicated form or in the child's Daily Record with detail, if necessary, in a Detail Record;
  5. Consider making arrangements for the child to have any supper in good time before retiring, and arranging for the child to use the toilet before retiring; also consider arranging for the child to be woken to use the toilet during the night;
  6. Consider using mattresses or bedding that can withstand being soiled or wet.