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3.9.1 Sanctions


  1. Non Approved Sanctions
  2. Approved Sanctions
  3. Informing Children
  4. When Sanctions may be Imposed
  5. Monitoring and Recording use of Sanctions

1. Non Approved Sanctions

Certain sanctions may not be imposed upon children, in any circumstances, they are:

  1. Any form of corporal punishment; i.e. any intentional application of force as punishment, including slapping, punching, rough handling and throwing missiles.
  2. Any sanction relating to the consumption or deprivation of food or drink.
  3. Any restriction on a child's contact with his or her parents, relatives or friends; visits to the child by his or her parents, relatives or friends or anyone acting in an official capacity e.g. social worker, solicitor, advocate, Independent Visitor.

This does not prevent contact or communication being restricted in exceptional circumstances, where it is necessary to do so to protect the child or others.

  1. Any requirement that a child wear distinctive or inappropriate clothes.
  2. The use or withholding of medication or medical or dental treatment.
  3. The intentional deprivation of sleep as a sanction.
  4. The modification of a child's behaviour through bribery or the use of threats;
  5. Any sanction used intentionally or unintentionally which may humiliate a child or could cause them to be ridiculed.
  6. The imposition of any fine or financial penalty, other than a requirement for the payment of a reasonable sum by way of reparation.

The Court may impose fines upon children which staff/carers should encourage and support them to repay.

  1. Any intimate physical examination of a child.
  2. The withholding of aids/equipment needed by a disabled child.
  3. Any measure which involves a child in the imposition of any measure against any other child; or the Sanction of a group of children for the behaviour of an individual child.
  4. Swearing at or the use of foul, demeaning or humiliating language or measures.

2. Approved Sanctions

It is for each home to develop Approved Sanctions suitable to the type of children placed there.

These sanctions must be approved by the home manager and set out in the Statement of Purpose (for a residential unit) or approved by the supervising social worker (for a foster home).

3. Informing Children

Children should be informed about the range of sanctions that may be imposed upon them and the possible circumstances which may result in sanctions. This may be set out in written information about the placement or the child's Placement Information Record.

4. When Sanctions may be Imposed

Before any sanction is imposed staff/carers must be satisfied of the following:

  1. That the child was capable of behaving acceptably and understands what was required of him/her;
  2. That other encouraging and rewarding strategies have not worked or would not work in the circumstances.
  3. That the sanction imposed is relevant, fair and must last no longer than is absolutely necessary
  4. That there is a view that the sanction may encourage acceptable behaviour or act as a disincentive to unacceptable behaviour.
  5. That it will not be applied open-endedly without effect.
  6. That the child understands the relevance of the sanction.

Only Approved Sanctions may be imposed.

Sanctions may only be imposed, as a last resort, where it is not possible to use other, more positive methods of control.

Caution should be exercised to ensure that sanctions are not imposed repeatedly, with little or no effect or where they may act as positive re-enforcement of unacceptable behaviour.

5. Monitoring and Recording use of Sanctions

Sanctions must be reviewed after 48 hours, and revised if appropriate