Self Harming


  1. Planning and Prevention
  2. Notifications, Recording and Review

1. Planning and Prevention

Broadly defined, self-harm refers to the deliberate attempt to physically injure oneself without causing death. This can include self-mutilation (e.g. cutting behaviours), self-poisoning, burning, scalding, banging, and hair-pulling.

Although clearly damaging, alcohol and drugs misuse, eating disorders, unsafe sex and other excessively risky behaviour, such as dangerous driving, are not generally classified as self-harm.

If a child is suspected or found to be self-harming, the Strategies that should be taken are those determined by any existing plan, for example, in the child's Placement Plan.

If no plan or strategy exists, all reasonable measures should be taken to reduce or prevent continuation of the behaviour.

This may include providing additional supervision, confiscation of materials that may be used to self-harm or, as a last resort, use of Physical Intervention or calling for assistance from the emergency services.

If there is any suspicion that the child may be involved in self harming, the social worker must be informed and a risk assessment undertaken with a view to deciding whether a Strategy should be adopted to reduce or prevent the behaviour.  That strategy should be included in the child's Placement Plan.

If necessary, specialist advice or support should be sought.

2. Notifications, Recording and Review

2.1 Notifications of Minor or Non Persistent Self Harming

Minor or non-persistent self-harming should be notified to the Director / Registered Manager at the first opportunity; the manager will decide whether to inform the relevant social worker.

2.2 Notifications of Serious or Persistent Self Harming

Serious or persistent self-harming must be notified immediately to the Director / Registered Manager and the relevant Social Worker notified within 1 working day - the social worker should be consulted and consideration given to whether a Child Protection Referral should be made, if so, see Child Protection Referrals Procedure.

The Responsible Individual and Residential Services Director should also be notified and consideration given to whether the incident is a Notifiable Event, see Notification of Serious Events Procedure.

2.3 Recording and Review

All self-harming must be recorded in the Community Daily Log and relevant child's Daily Record.

An Incident Report must also be completed.

If First Aid is administered, this must be recorded in the Daily Log and an accident report completed.

The Child's Placement Plan should be reviewed with a view to incorporating strategies to reduce or prevent future incidents.