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Working with Children and Adults Who May be at Risk of Self-harm

Practice Guidance on Information Sharing, Protection and Confidentiality

The term self-harm is used in this guidance to refer to any act of selfpoisoning or self-injury, irrespective of the apparent purpose of the act. This commonly involves self-poisoning with medication or self-injury by cutting, but can also include biting burning. There are th ree important exclusions which this term is not intended to cover: self-harm through substance misuse (alcohol & drug); accidental self-harm; and self-harm related to eat i ng disorders.

It is hoped that those who come into contact with both children and adults who self-harm will find this guidance document both useful and informative. This document is aimed at a range of staff groups and others, including health, social work, residential care staff; foster carers, kinship carers; teachers and other education staff; police staff, custody staff and prison staff who work with children and adults where there is a concern that they are involved in self-harming behaviours.

For the purposes of this Guidance ‘child’ means a person under the age of 18 years; and a “young person” means someone up to 24 years old.