Anyone who has information that suggests that a child or young person has been abused or is at risk of harm from an adult or another child should contact the Central Referral Team or the Service Police. The contact numbers are as follows:
Central Referral Team
(This will be answered day and night)
- 0800 7243176
RMP - Emergency Numbers
In the case of an emergency the Military Police have the following dedicated emergency numbers, which will be answered 24 hours a day.
- Paderborn – 79 2222 (From a civilian telephone: 05254 98 2222)
- Gütersloh – 73 2222 (From a civilian telephone: 05241 84 2222)
- BFG Crimeline: 0800 184 2222 (from anywhere in Germany)
RMP Non-Emergency Numbers
For non-emergencies you can contact your local Military Police Station on the following numbers:
- Paderborn: 79 - 2223 (From a civilian telephone: 05254 98 2223)
- Gütersloh: 73 - 3454 / 3457 (From a civilian telephone: 05241 84 3454 / 3457)
Why do British Forces Social Work Service (BFSWS) and/or the Service Police need to be involved?
- Once the Social Work Service or the Military Police have been told that a child or young person may have been abused, the law states they have a duty to investigate the matter. Information received cannot be ignored.
- In the majority of cases the investigation will usually be carried out by a Social Worker and Military Police.
What is harm?
Harm in these circumstances means means abuse or mistreatment of a child. The following are commonly used terms:
Emotional abuse (including seeing or hearing domestic violence)
Physical injury to a child
Any combination of these enquiries will also have to be made if a child is living with someone who has previously been involved in the abuse of another child or young person.
What is likely to happen?
- A Social Worker, who may be accompanied by a member of the Military Police, will visit to tell you about the concerns that have been reported about your child. They may not be in a position to tell you who contacted them.
- It will be in the best interest of your child to speak openly with the Social Worker and the Military Police.
- There will be a need to see and talk to your child and any other children in your household. To make sure that your children are not questioned too many times a video recording of an interview may be required. The video will be stored in a safe place by the Military Police and may be used in court proceedings.
- The Social Worker will need to talk to people who know your child and family well such as Nursery Staff, Teacher, Health Visitor or your Doctor. This may be done jointly with the Military Police.
What else might happen?
- Sometimes, your child might need to be medically examined. You will be asked for your permission before your child is seen by a doctor. If your child is old enough to understand what is happening, they can give permission themselves.
What happens if I refuse to let my child be interviewed or medically examined?
- If it is considered in the best interest of your child to be interviewed or medically examined and consent is denied, legal advice will be sought.
Will my child be taken away from me?
- This is often a very real concern for families. In the vast majority of reported child abuse, children remain at home with their families. This is often where problems are more effectively sorted out.
- The Social Work Service has to consider the safety and welfare of your child above all else. They also have a responsibility to help families to stay together.
- If the Social Work Service believes it is necessary, they can apply to a Judge for what is called an Emergency Protection Order. This order is to protect your child if they are believed to be in danger of serious harm.
- If a Judge decides to grant an Emergency Protection Order, you will have an opportunity to put your case to him or her.
- If the Military Police believe that your child is in immediate danger, they can make a Police Protection Order and take your child to a place of safety. A safe place may include staying with a family friend or a foster carer.
After the investigation what happens next?
The choices are:
- The agencies involved take no further action because it is considered that your child is safe and the investigation ends.
- The Social Work Service arranges an Initial Child Protection Conference. There is another leaflet that explains about this.
- If your child is a victim of crime, the police have a duty to investigate. If a crime has been committed, a prosecution may follow.
- If your child is not felt to be at risk of harm but is in need of support a range of support services will be offered.
What are my rights as a parent or person with parental responsibility?
You have the right to:
Be listened to and supported throughout the investigation
Be involved in what is happening and told about the decisions that are being made
Be informed about the outcome of the investigation
Be able to complain if you feel that you were not treated fairly and have your complaint dealt with.
A leaflet will be made available to you if you wish to complain about the Social Workers. If your complaint is with the Service Police, contact your Commanding Officer or the Complaints Officer at BFG.
You are the most important person in your child’s life
Your views and feelings will be heard and respected
There is a commitment to help and support you at this difficult time
The best way to help your child to be safe is to work as a team with the people who are there to help you
Your child’s welfare is important to us all
You can see more information at this link