Self-Harming and Suicidal Behaviour

Untitled Document


The Positive Relationships Standard

The Protection of Children Standard

Note: This chapter should be read in conjunction with the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Children Procedures for the area.


First Aid, Home Remedies and Medication Procedure

Recognising Abuse and Neglect Procedure

Missing Children Procedure

Notification of Serious Events Procedure


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

    Further Information

1. Introduction

Many children and young people who come into the 'looked after' system have experienced significant trauma in their lives and are often highly vulnerable. It is likely that these children will sometimes have multiple and complex needs and significant behavioural and emotional difficulties, which can lead to acting in ways that place themselves in situations of high risk.

2. Planning and Prevention

As part of Placement Planning, relevant information should be gathered and appropriate risk assessments put in place alongside relevant intervention strategies.

This should be regularly reviewed and monitored.

In situations where staff are involved with a child who is actively self-harming or suicidal, they should, in consultation with other members of the team, ensure there is a plan to manage the effects such as distress or grief that an incident of self-harm or suicide may cause other workers, family members and other children and young people in the setting.

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 or any attempts of suicide, the social worker must be informed and a risk assessment undertaken (if it does not already exist 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.

3. Notifications, Recording and Review

3.1 Notifications of Minor or Non Persistent Self Harming

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

3.2 Notifications of Serious or Persistent Self Harming

Serious or persistent self-harming or attempted suicide must be notified immediately to the Home's 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 Safeguarding Children and Young People and Referring Safeguarding Concerns Procedure.

The Designated Manager (Self Harming) should also be notified and consideration given to whether the incident is a Notifiable Event, see Notification of Serious Events Procedure.

3.3 Recording and Review

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

An Incident Report must also be completed.

If First Aid is administered, details must be recorded.

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

Further Information

Statutory Guidance and Government Non-Statutory Guidance

Suicide Prevention Strategy for England

Suicide Prevention: Resources and Guidance

Good Practice Guidance

Useful Websites


The Mix - Essential Support for Under 25s

National Self Harm Network


Young Minds

NHS Choices – Self Harm

NHS Choices – Suicide

Self Harm in Young People: For Parents and Carers