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6.2.11 Allegations Including Historical Abuse


This chapter was updated in February 2016 reflecting the amendment to alter "FREIST" to "MASH".


  1. Introduction
  2. Procedure
  3. Historic Abuse

1. Introduction

Blackburn with Darwen’s Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) Procedures (see Pan Lancashire Policy and Procedures for Safeguarding Children Manual) to safeguard and promote the welfare of children apply to all children up to the age of 18. These procedures include children who are Looked After, children placed for adoption and children who have been adopted.

Allegations of historical abuse made by people who have been adopted is not specifically covered in the LSCB procedures. This policy aims to ensure that responses to allegations made by an adult, of abuse they experienced as a child are appropriate.

The following sets out the safeguarding arrangements with particular reference to children placed for adoption or those who are adopted.

2. Procedure

All children placed for adoption but not yet adopted are regarded as Looked After children. Where a child is placed for adoption in Blackburn with Darwen, MASH will investigate any child protection concerns, including the immediate needs of any other child in the home.

Where a child is placed for adoption in a different Local Authority, any concerns about the child’s safety, allegations about abuse or Neglect must be referred to the Local Authority where the child lives as a matter of priority. Safeguarding procedures published by that area’s LSCB must then be followed.

Child protection concerns in relation to children who are adopted (and therefore subject of an Adoption Order) will be investigated by the appropriate team in the area where the child lives. Consideration should be given to consulting with the Adoption Support Worker. This also applies to any allegations of historical abuse made against adoptive parents.

Children who are placed for adoption may be in receipt of adoption support services. If a worker involved with a family has any concerns about a child they must always take action to safeguard the welfare of the child. Where a child is placed for adoption in a different Local Authority any concerns about the child’s safety, concerns about abuse or Neglect must always be referred to the Local Authority in the area where the child lives as a matter of priority.

Children who are adopted and who are in receipt of adoption support services will be treated as a child in the community as per the LSCB procedures.

Once an Adoption Order is made and a Child Protection concern is raised against the adoptive parents, such concerns will be investigated as for any other adult with Parental Responsibilities.

Child Protection allegations against a prospective adopter must be dealt with under the procedure ‘Allegations Against Prospective Adopters'.

At the time of a child’s placement, prospective adopters will be provided with detailed information as to the child’s background and in particular the content of any abusive experiences of and/or previous allegations made by the child.

All prospective adopters will receive preparation and guidance to help them provide a safe environment for the child and all members of the adoptive family.

A prospective adopter may become involved in the Child Protection Process when a child whom they are looking after shares information with them of a child protection nature, e.g. allegations of historical nature against previous parent/carer/professional, or alleges that a more recent incident of abuse has occurred whilst in their care.

The prospective adopter must listen to and reassure the child, be clear with the child that their confidentiality cannot be maintained, and be available to provide continued support to the child during the investigation.

They must advise the child’s social worker of the allegation, and their own link worker immediately. If after hours, contact the Emergency Duty Team social worker.

If the allegation is made against another professional, the ‘Blackburn with Darwen LSCB procedure for managing allegations against adults who work with children and young people’ will apply and the LADO should be informed.

The prospective adoptive carer may then be involved in Child Protection Procedures in the same way as any other professional supporting the child might.

3. Historic Abuse

Allegations by adults of abuse experienced as a child must be taken seriously and responded to appropriately. 

There  is a significant likelihood that a person who abused in the past will have continued to do so. It is essential to establish whether the alleged perpetrator still has contact with children.

Criminal prosecution remains a possibility despite the fact that the allegations are historical in nature and may have taken place many years ago.

Those working in adoption are most likely to come across historical allegations of abuse in their work with adopted adults, but may also do so in assessing prospective adopters or working with birth families.

As soon as it is apparent that an adult is revealing childhood abuse, the worker must explain that relevant information will need to be shared with the police in order to safeguard children now.

The worker to whom the abuse is disclosed must clearly and fully record what is said. All case recording must be dated and legibly signed.

The worker involved should discuss the matter with their line manager, and the LADO should then be contacted,  The allegation will be investigated in accordance with Pan Lancashire Policy and Procedures for Safeguarding Children Manual, Allegations Against Persons Who Work With Children procedure.

A child protection enquiry will need to be instituted if the alleged perpetrator is believed to be currently caring for or having access to children. This will include making the necessary referral to the area where the alleged perpetrator is thought to be living.

Consideration should be given to the support and possible therapeutic needs of the adult making the allegation.