The Department of Health published the Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children report in 1999. In 2011, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs updated the Children First Guidelines (pdf). This report stated that teachers in Ireland have a general duty to ensure that children and young people are protected from harm. The report also maintains that teachers need to help young people to develop their self-esteem, confidence, independence of thought and the necessary skills to cope with possible threats to their personal safety both within and outside the school. The stay safe programme assists teachers working with children in primary school.
Since the publication of this report the Department of Education has published guidelines for teachers. These guidelines reflect the particular circumstances of primary schools, post-primary schools and community or voluntary organisations and are based on the recommendations of the Children First guidelines: Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools (pdf)
Here we summarise the principles that apply to the protection of children and the responsibilities of school management and staff.
School managers in primary and post-primary schools should:
The Board of Management is responsible for:
Under Section 4 of the Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998, nobody will be penalised for making a report of child abuse in good faith to the Health Service Executive (HSE) or the Gardaí. If you have been penalised, you can make a complaint under the Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998 (pdf).
Freephone Childline: 1800 666 666
Freetext Childline: Text the word "Talk" to 50101
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.