Child Protection Policy

THE B!G iDEA House is committed to safeguarding the wellbeing of all the children and young people with whom our staff come into contact. Our policy on child protection is in accordance with “Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children” (Department of Children and Youth Affairs, 2011) and Our Duty to Care. The principles of good practice for the protection for children and young people”. We are committed to promoting the rights of the child to be protected, be listened to and have their own views taken into consideration.

This policy is underpinned by Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children.

This policy applies to all employees and volunteers who have contact with children and young people through their work on behalf of THE B!G iDEA House (legal name). It is of high importance to ensure all employees/ volunteers have the ability to recognise abuse as it can be defined in many ways.

All employees and volunteers of THE B!G iDEA House, will be made aware of and be familiar with the child protection policy through an in-house induction, on-going training and they will sign up to the overall child protection policy of THE B!G iDEA House. The Designated Liaison Person acts as a liaison with outside agencies and a resource person to any staff member or volunteer who has child protection concerns. The Designated Liaison Person is responsible for reporting allegations or suspicions to the Child and Family Agency Tusla or An Garda Siochana. (See Children First 3.3) The B!G iDEA House has put in place a standard reporting procedure for dealing with disclosures, Principle: Purpose Dealing with Child Protection and Welfare Concerns 

THE B!G iDEA House has appointed a Designated Liaison Person who will be Kim Mackenzie-Doyle.

  1. The employee or volunteer who has received a disclosure of child abuse or who has concerns about a child should bring them to the attention of the Designated Liaison Person immediately. 
  2. Under no circumstances should a child be left in a situation that exposes him or her to harm or of risk to harm pending Tusla intervention. In the event of an emergency where you think a child is in immediate danger and you cannot get in contact with Tusla, you should contact the Gardaí. This may be done through any Garda station. 
  3. Where the Designated Liaison Person considers that a child protection or welfare concern meets the reasonable grounds for concern criteria outlined below, then the Designated Liaison Person can refer to Tusla.
  • specific indication from the child that he/she was abused; 
  • an account by the person who saw the child being abused; 
  • evidence, such as an injury or behaviour which is consistent with abuse and unlikely to be caused in another way; 
  • an injury or behaviour which is consistent with abuse and with an innocent explanation but where there are corroborative indicators supporting the concern that it may be a case of abuse. An example of this would be a pattern of injuries, an implausible explanation, other indications of abuse, dysfunctional behaviour; 
  • Consistent indication over a period of time that a child is suffering from emotional or physical neglect. See Appendix 1 or also visit: FAQ on
  • Where the Designated Liaison Person remains uncertain he/she should contact the Child and Family Agency Tusla for informal advice relating to the allegation, concern or disclosure.
  • The Designated Liaison Person will ensure that the parents/ carers are informed that a report/ referral had been made to Tusla. The Designated Liaison Person will make an appointment with parents to inform them that the report has been made to Tusla unless to do so would be likely to endanger the child. 
  • After consultation with the Duty Social Worker the Designated Liaison Person will then take one of two options:
  • Report the allegation, concern or disclosure to the relevant authority (e.g. Tusla, An Garda Síochána, etc.) using the standard reporting form from Children First and in the case of out of hours or immediate danger contact An Garda Siochana.
  • In those cases where THE B!G iDEA House decides not to report concerns to Tusla or An Garda Siochana, the individual employee or volunteer who raised the concern should be given a clear written statement of the reasons why The Big Idea is not taking such action. The employee or volunteer should be advised that if they remain concerned about the situation, they are free as individuals to consult with, or report to, the Tusla or An Garda Siochana. The provisions of the Protections for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998 apply once they communicate ‘reasonably and in good faith’ (see Paragraph 3.10.1 of Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children). In making a report on suspected or actual child abuse, the Designated Liaison Person must ensure that the first priority is always for the safety and welfare of the child/ young person and that no child/ young person is ever left in a situation that could place a child/young person in immediate danger. 

If the report is in relation to the safety and welfare of children / young people, the report should be made to the Designated Liaison Person in The Big Idea House.

  • The safety and well-being of the child or young person must take priority; 
  • Reports should be made without delay to the Child and Family Agency Tusla, Local Health Office area where child resides. 
  • A suspicion, which is not supported by an objective indication of abuse or neglect, would not constitute a reasonable suspicion or reasonable grounds for concern. 


However, these suspicions should be recorded or noted internally by the Designated Liaison Person as future suspicions may lead to the decision to make a report and earlier suspicions may provide important information for the statutory child protection agency or An Garda Siochana.

Reports can be made by: 

  • Children / young people; 
  • Employees, volunteers of The Big Idea House; 
  • Other advocates on behalf of children / young people.

In the event of a child / young person disclosing an incident of abuse, it is essential that this is dealt with sensitively and professionally by the employee/volunteer involved. In such circumstances, the employee/volunteer should:

React calmly; 

  • Listen carefully and attentively; take the young person seriously; 
  • Reassure the young person that they have taken the right action in talking to you; 
  • Do NOT promise to keep anything secret; 
  • Ask questions for clarification only. Do not ask leading questions, this is not an interview, but rather receiving a disclosure from a child; 
  • Check back with the child/young person that what you have heard is correct and understood; 
  • Do not express any opinions about the alleged abuser; 
  • Record the conversation as soon as possible, in as much detail as possible. Sign and date the record; 
  • Ensure that the child/young person understands the procedures which will follow; 
  • Pass the information to the Designated Liaison Person do not attempt to deal with the problem alone; 
  • Treat the information confidentially.

The Big Idea House nominated Designated Liaison Person is Kim Mackenzie-Doyle, 

and The Big Idea House Deputy Designated Liaison Persons will be Fergal Doyle.

The Designated Liaison Person in The Big Idea has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the child protection and welfare policy is promoted and implemented. The role of the Designated Liaison Person involves the following duties: 

  • To be familiar with “Children First”, National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children and “Our Duty to Care”, the principles of good practice for the protection of children & young people and to have responsibility for the implementation and monitoring of the child protection and welfare policy; 
  • The Big Idea House Designated Liaison Person provides support to staff members who are dealing with/have dealt with a child protection concern or disclosure. 
  • To receive reports of alleged / suspected or actual child abuse and act on these in accordance with the guidelines; 
  • To ensure that training is provided for all new and existing staff in The Big Idea House on the child protection policy; 
  • To build a working relationship with the Child and family Agency Tusla, An Garda Síochána and other agencies, as appropriate; 
  • To ensure that supports are put in place for the young person, employees or volunteers in cases of allegations being made; 
  • To keep up to date and undertake relevant training on child protection policy and practice, in order to ensure the relevance and appropriateness of The Big Idea House policy and procedures in this area; 
  • To review The Big Idea House policy and procedures on child protection on an annual basis and amend as appropriate; 
  • To ensure that systems are in place for recording and retaining all relevant documentation in relation to child protection issues.

In matters of child abuse, an employee/volunteer should never promise to keep secret any information that is divulged. It should be explained to the child/young person that this information cannot be kept secret but only those who need to know in order to safeguard the child, will be told. It is essential in reporting any case of alleged/suspected abuse that the principle of confidentiality applies. The information should only be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis which means sharing information with persons who have a need to know in order to safeguard a child/young person and is not a breach of confidentiality and the number of people that need to be informed should be kept to a minimum. If an employee/volunteer has any doubt as to whether a report should be made, he/she should consult with The Big Idea House Designated Liaison Person.

Under the Data Protection Act every person has a right to establish the existence of personal data, to have access to any such data relating to him/her and to have inaccurate data rectified or erased. The Big Idea House Data Controller will ensure that data that is collected fairly, is accurate and up-to-date, is kept for lawful purposes, and is not used or disclosed in any manner incompatible with those purposes. All data in relation to child protection records collected must be stored in a safe and confidential manner in a secure locked cabinet. 

This will be kept in the office of the Designated Liaison Person. Only the Designated Liaison Person and the Deputy Designated Liaison Person will have access to this information.