Specific sections on female genital mutilation (FGM) and child trafficking for practice and community nurses have been added to a set of guidelines about safeguarding children.
The intercollegiate report, Safeguarding children and young people: roles and competences for health care staff, has been revised to support all the health professionals working in child health to identify, refer and handle the safeguarding of children and young people effectively to minimise the risk of harm.
The standards are split into levels of skills, which outline exactly what nurses in community services and in practice should be able to do. This includes being able to identify and refer a child suspected of being at risk of FGM or having been a victim of FGM; being aware of the legal, professional and ethical responsibilities around information sharing; being able to document concerns; and knowing what to do about them.
'Community nurses, practice nurses, health visitors and schools nurses might be the first contact for any young person or child or family and they may be aware of issues already in the community. This is why they need a greater awareness about these particular issues. They are also integral to linking with other professional groups and can be the missing piece in the jigsaw,' said Fiona Smith, children and young people's advisor at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
'The standards clearly mention health visitors, school nurses and practice nursing teams, and the specific minimum requirements they should meet. The document content will be used by the inspectorate body such as CQC to measure this,' said Ms Smith.
The Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives and the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association were among the professional bodies that contributed to the standards.
The framework will be reviewed again in 2017.
The full standards can be viewed at: http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/system/files/protected/page/SafeguardingChildren