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Domestic Violence

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 5 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what (a) guidance and (b) support his Department gives to children's centres, nurseries and other forms of early years providers in respect of (i) domestic violence and (ii) forced marriage. (189910)

‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’, the main interagency guide to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, contains information for practitioners about domestic violence and forced marriage. It makes clear that those who work with children should know how to recognise and respond to the possible abuse or neglect of a child. This will include childminders and everyone working in early years provision. ‘Working Together’ advises that if anyone has concerns that a child is in danger of a forced marriage, they should contact the Forced Marriage Unit. The guidance also asks Local Safeguarding Children Boards to involve children’s centres in their work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their local areas. The Government have also published a shorter guidance document, ‘What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused’, which is used widely by those who work with children and which provides an accessible guide to the steps to take when someone has concerns about a child.

The Sure Start Children’s Centres Practice Guidance highlights families experiencing domestic violence among those groups of families that find it hardest to access the services they need. It encourages children’s centres to ensure that parents or other family members have access to appropriate support. The statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, which will be statutory from September 2008, makes clear that all practitioners should have an up-to-date understanding of safeguarding children issues and be able to implement the safeguarding children policy and procedure appropriately. Policies should be in line with LSCB local guidance and procedures.