Are you a professional and concerned about someone? You can always contact us for advice, by phone 0800-2000, before you make a report. For example, when you are in doubt. We can discuss whether it is necessary to make a report or not. Contact by phone is also useful to develop a clear understanding of the situation.
In case you want to share your suspicions of domestic violence or child abuse in writing, you can do so using the report form for professionals. You will immediately enter a portal of the client tracking system of Safe Home South Limburg, which guarantees privacy of the report. The introduction to the report form contains a brief explanation of the process and the minimum information required to make a report. Bases on the information that is provided by you, an employee of Safe Home South Limburg will contact you. You will decide in consultation with a Safe Home employee whether you want to just take advice or actually want to make a report.
We provide, where possible, as much transparency as possible to those involved regarding the concerns that have been reported and by whom. All information provided on the reportform is available to see for those involved (aged 12 and older). For that reason, we request you to discuss your concerns with the involved persons and to inform them that you will make a report. Of course it is also possible to make an anonymous report.
The Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Reporting Code
As a professional you are obligated to act according to the The Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Reporting Code. This helps you to react adequately in case of suspicions and signs of domestic violence or child abuse. This concerns not only suspicions of physical violence, but also suspicions of psychological or sexual violence and neglect.
You follow 5 steps to decide whether it is necessary to report to Safe Home. These steps are briefly described below:
- Step 1 Map out the signs.
- Step 2 Discuss with a colleague and, if necessary, consult Safe Home
- Step 3 Enter into dialogue with those involved
- Step 4 Weigh the nature and seriousness of the violence. Use the assessment framework.
- Step 5 Make two decisions: is reporting necessary? Is providing or organising help an option?
See this video about the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Reporting Code, see below (Dutch) by Augeo.
Who is obligated to use the Reporting Code?
The mandatory use of the Reporting Code is outlined in the Law on The Obligatory Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Reporting Code. The reporting code should be used by professionals in the following sectors:
- health care;
- social support;
Employers in above-mentioned sectors, have to establish and implement the reporting code. They also have to facilitate and promote the knowledge of and use by their employees of the reporting code. For tips and tools regarding the implementation of the reporting code, check the Toolkit reporting code domestic violence and child abuse of the national government (in Dutch).
Right to report
The Law on The Obligatory Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Reporting Code includes a right to report about domestic violence and child abuse. This means, that as a professional with professional secrecy, you are allowed to report to Safe Home without permission of the person(s) involved. The basic principle is that you always discuss your concerns with the person(s) involved, unless safety is at stake.
Decision to report yes/no
Please note: a mandatory reporting code, does not imply an obligation to report.
It just indicates that if you work in certain professionals, you are obligated to assess whether or not you should make a report. It is up to the professional to decide if suspicions of domestic violence or child abuse should or should not be reported. The steps provide guidance in taking that decision. In case the steps lead to a conclusion that it is necessary to report, the professional is obligated to report to Safe Home. When in doubt, always contact Safe Home South-Limburg, to decide together on which steps to take.
Children are extra vulnerable. That is why the childcheck is a mandatory aspect of the Law on The Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Reporting Code. As a professional, it is your job to make sure that when dealing with adult clients who are in a worrying situation, you determine whether there are children living with them, whether they are safe and if help is needed. Even when the children are not your actual clients.
By applying the Childcheck, you can also recognise young caregivers. These are children and youth aged 24 years and below, who grow up in a household that includes a family- or household member that is chronically ill or has a physical or mental disability. Young carers carry responsibilities related to care, are worried or are faced with a lack of care within the family or household. They are often invisible or do not demonstrate any signs of stress or worry pertaining to their household situation to caregivers.
Young carers can be faced with problems growing up and parenting problems, as well as physical and emotional complaints, such as stress. Children of parents with psychological problems and children of parents with an addiction, are faced with an increased risk to develop psychological or addiction problems of their own. To prevent problems and to provide timely help and assistance, it is important for all professionals to be alert to young carers being present in a household or family.
KNMG Medical Reporting Code
Doctors are obligated to provide care for children and adults who can be damaged by child abuse and domestic violence. Starting January 1st 2019, the KNMG-Medical Reporting Code on child abuse and domestic violence is mandatory for doctors.
The Childcheck and the young carers check are part of the Medical Reporting Code. Doctors are also supposed to always ask for advice to Safe Home (anonymously). If necessary, they indicate a signal to the Refer Index At-risk Youth (VIR) (in Dutch). An important aspect of the Medical Reporting Code is the mandatory assessment framework, which is included in step 5. Every doctor has to apply this when assessing whether it is necessary to report about a suspicion of child abuse or domestic violence, and what effective care should look like. In addition, extensive information regarding the signs of special forms of violence, such as human trafficking and elderly abuse, is available.
For more information regarding the KNMG-Medical Reporting Code, see this video (in Dutch).