Disabled children are recognised as the most vulnerable group in respect of safeguarding their wellbeing. They may have physical, sensory and learning disabilities and difficulties.
Various definitions of disability are used across agencies and professionals. Whatever definition of 'disabled' is used, the key issue is not what the definition is but the impact of abuse or neglect on a child's health and development, and consideration of how best to safeguard and promote the child's welfare.
Disabled children are particularly vulnerable to abuse as they:
Adults, including professionals assessing their needs and caring for them, may concentrate on the child’s special needs and overlook signs and symptoms which may suggest that the child is being maltreated.
Disabled children are at significantly greater risk of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect than non-disabled.
Disabled children at greatest risk of abuse are those with behaviour/conduct disorders.
Other high-risk groups include:
Often, signs indicating maltreatment may be attributed to the disability.
Practitioners should be aware that changes in behaviour could indicate abuse, especially in non-verbal disabled children.
A professional who has a concern for a disabled child must consider:
Where there is a concern for a disabled child who is already subject to a care plan, for example in receipt of short break care, those professionals assessing the concern and those who are responsible for coordinating and delivering the plan must work closely together to ensure that the child’s needs are met in a holistic way.
The YorOK Disabilities and additional needs webpage contains core information and resources to support Practitioners working with disabled children and children with additional needs.
|YorOK Disabilities and additional needs webpage|
|SEN Local Guidance and Policy|
|York's Local Offer provides families, professionals, children and young people with Special Educational Needs, information regarding education, post 16 options health services, SEN guidance, parent and carer support, ideas for activities and events in York, money advice and information on Education, Health and Care Plans.|
|The Safety Net Easy Read booklet is for people with a learning disability, families and supporters. It is a booklet for people to share and go through together and talk about. This booklet talks about a type of Disability Hate Crime called ‘Mate Crime’ – which means that sometimes friends are fakes. This booklet tells you what to look out for and what to do if a ‘Mate Crime’ happens to you or someone you know. All Disability Hate Crime is wrong and we want to stop it|
CYSCP provides online and face to face Safeguarding Disabled Children training for practitioners.
Safeguarding Disabled Children - Practice Guidance Departmental advice setting out how agencies and professionals should work together to safeguard the welfare of disabled children.
Council for Disabled Children - the umbrella body for the disabled children's sector bringing together professionals, practitioners and policy-makers.
The SEND Gateway, an online portal offering education professionals free, easy access to high quality information, resources and training for meeting the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Childnet Internationals Practical advice and teaching activities to help educators explore online safety with young people with autism spectrum disorders in Key Stage 3 and 4.
The Safety Net is a project to prevent the exploitation of people with learning disabilities by those claiming to be their friends, and aimed to deal with issues around mate crime.