Care Certificate

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Professional Conduct During Sensitive Disclosures

Confidentiality is paramount when professionals handle sensitive information. However, if abuse or risk is suspected, their duty of care requires reporting to a supervisor.

Responding to Disclosures

When someone confides in you, it is essential to remain calm and address immediate needs. Allow the individual to express their thoughts uninterrupted, demonstrating empathy throughout the conversation. Explain that you are obliged to share the information with a designated individual, assuring confidentiality beyond that.

Key Principles in Response

  • Avoid interrogation: Limit questions to clarifying statements.
  • Stay composed: Show no signs of shock or disbelief. Take the information seriously, regardless of the individual's confusion.
  • Provide reassurance: Confirm they did right by sharing and they are not at fault.
  • Non-verbal cues: Body language observation is as crucial as verbal communication.
  • Forensic evidence: Consider its possibility in recent abuse cases.
  • Empower the individual: Ask about their preferred course of action.

Documenting the Conversation

Pay careful attention during the disclosure, as you will need to document the conversation accurately later, ideally using their own words.

Do's and Don'ts in Disclosure Handling

  • Do not make commitments you cannot fulfil.
  • Do not influence the individual's narrative by putting words in their mouth.
  • Do not question or press for details – these will be addressed in future investigations.
  • Do not promise secrecy, contact the accused abuser, or display judgement.
  • Do not trivialise or joke about the disclosure or discuss the information with other staff or service users.
  • Do not ignore or dismiss the information received.

Information Sharing and the Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act doesn't prohibit information sharing about abuse. Be transparent about your intentions to share information, and if uncertain, seek advice and obtain consent when appropriate. Prioritise safety and well-being, sharing only necessary information. Ensure that the shared data is proportionate, relevant, timely, accurate, and secure. Keep a record of information sharing and its rationale.

Additional Resources

Further resources, including the DPS Code of Practice and other relevant documents and websites, can be accessed through your student login.